Woman calls overgrown cemetery a 'disgrace' - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Woman calls overgrown cemetery a 'disgrace'

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - An overgrown cemetery in South Memphis is being called a disgrace by people whose family members are buried there.

Alice Waller contacted the Action News 5 Investigators for help getting action to make the cemetery look like, well, a cemetery.

Waller says she has been fighting for months to get the grass cut. The owners of the properties, she says, have given up their rights to both cemeteries and that is why nothing is being done.

This is not the first time this problem has been brought to the attention of the Action News 5 Investigators.

In 2011, action was taken after Action News 5 aired the story, but it appears the problem has sprouted up again -- but this time, it's worse.

Waller wears clip-on mosquito repellent when she visits her grandmother's grave. She is tired of walking through weeds to visit her loved one.

"I'm usually in tears when I talk about it," she said.

In June, she and other family members cleared the grave of their grandmother. But tall weeds have taken over once again.

"My uncle lives with me. He's 95. This is his mom's grave. He wants to be able to visit his mom's grave on a regular basis before he dies," Waller explained.

The owners of the overgrown property, Carolyn and Calvin Hayes, surrendered their ownership July 1.

Waller says no one owns the property anymore. There is no listed owner on the tax assessor's website and no listed phone number.

"It's not what people intended when they put their loved ones in graves over here," said Waller.

Waller says she has spoken to state funeral and cemetery officials in Nashville. She even talked to the Department of Corrections to try and get inmates to clean up the overgrown mess.

"Imagine having a loved one out here and coming out here in May for Memorial Day and trying to find that grave. This is absolutely insane," she said.

Alice Waller says she will not give up on the fight to get the cemetery groomed. She established a Facebook page for the friends of the Hollywood and Mt. Carmel cemeteries. To find that page, click here: https://www.facebook.com/friendsofhollywood.mtcarmel.cemetery

The Tennessee State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers Burial Services Division are responsible for state cemetery records.

Shelby County leaders say the former owners were cited to clean up the cemeteries. Owner Calvin Hayes is set to appear in court August 26. They say if nothing is done, they will look at other options to clean up the properties.

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