Pahokeeans assist at Port Mayaca on their own
PAHOKEE — Mayor Keith Babb Jr. sought to reassure the public during the commission’s workshop Tuesday, Aug. 25, that officials haven’t forgotten about the cemeteries in Port Mayaca and Pahokee they are bound to maintain.
He asked City Manager Chandler Williamson during discussion preceding the regular meeting, when he did not mention it in his explanation of agenda items, “Do you have anything on the cemetery cleanup since that was such a hot topic on social media — whether or not we had public works go down to assist as much as they could? Any updates concerning the cemetery, including the one on Bacom Point Road; I notice that one was mowed. Do you have any information on that?”
Williamson replied, regarding the stories people were posting on social media about conditions particularly at the Port Mayaca Cemetery, which belongs to the City of Pahokee:
“It’s not different than we typically get this time of year. We’re in growth season, meaning it rains every other day; the grass has aggressively grown; and we get this response that it’s higher than usual this time of year, so we try to adjust our work crews to get some additional folks out there to address that issue. We are going to do that sometime before the end of this week, hopefully; it depends on the schedule of all of the projects in town, but I just want the public to know that we are aware of that.”
He noted that with the tropical weather season approaching its September and October peaks, public works crews are fighting a constant, daily battle to keep up.
“It settles down around the first of November,” Williamson said, “so we have plans to get some extra crews out there to address some of those areas that appear to be overgrown. It’s not the entire cemetery.”
He asked for public patience and pointed out that, as the mayor noted, As soon as we can get those crews caught up here in the city, be patient with us … it’s not intentional neglect at all, that’s all over the city, by the way not just in Port Mayaca,” he explained.
New pictures rile up dozens
Meanwhile, some citizens, including Sam McKinstry who drew attention to the overgrown conditions with Facebook posts throughout August, already had gone to the cemetery during the previous few days to do what trimming, trash pickup and cleanup they could. He put a picture up on the “Pahokee Can” page of himself and a cousin after they’d pitched in to help, saying, “It was great seeing family at the cemetery today spraying weeds. Thank you, Buddy McKinstry! Pahokee Patriots (heart) you, cousin!”
Many people chimed in to thank them on various Facebook pages for their efforts.
In a separate post that day, though, Sam McKinstry stirred up more discussion, noting that he’d met with cemetery staff to find out a few things, and proceeded to list them:
“1) The cemetery staff DO NOT handle any portion of the deeds to any plots. That’s entirely the city clerk’s responsibility.