Portable toilets in Plain City cemetery upset woman

Saturday , June 21, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

PLAIN CITY -- A woman is upset at the upkeep of the cemetery where her father and several other relatives are buried and honored. 

Bonnie Williams Runnels, 73, lives in Mesa, Ariz., but is formerly from Plain City. She received a call from friends in the area who told her there were two bright blue portable toilets in the cemetery. 

The bathrooms are next to a utility shed, but are only a few feet away from the nearest gravestones as well as a tall, stone memorial for local World War II veterans. Runnels’ father, William Warren Williams, is listed among the names on the memorial. 

She was disturbed that the bathrooms were so close and in plain view of the memorial and said it was disrespectful to the men and women who served, let alone all others who are buried in the cemetery.

"There are plenty of other places you could put those, just not in the cemetery,“ she said.

However, committee chairman of the cemetery, Ross Taylor, argues there is no other place for them and that the reason they are there in the first place was because of complaints about the lack of facilities.

"Groups for burials can be out there most of the day. We needed bathrooms,” he said. 

The cemetery is currently putting funding toward a new sprinkler system and in the future plans to construct a new building for storage and a bathroom. Although, Taylor said the annual budget limits them in what they can do. 

Taylor said he is sorry if people are offended, but that there isn't much he can do as the bathrooms need to be kept within the cemetery grounds.

Runnels said that while it may not seem like a big deal to some people, it is to her.

"That memorial represents a good share of Plain City history,“ she said, remarking that many of the names etched in stone made up a majority of the town’s men. ”You didn't see very many small towns with that may soldiers.“

Runnels also expressed disappointed in the overall upkeep of the cemetery, especially so close to July 4.

"The grass should be cut and there should be flags around all the gravestones,“ Runnels said. ”Independence Day is not just a day for blowing up fireworks, it should be for honoring our countrymen.“

The cemetery committee is appointed by Weber County, rather than Plain City.

Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227 or arivera@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Andreas.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.