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Civil War group, Muskego fight over cemetery upkeep

MUSKEGO, Wis. (AP) — A Civil War group is battling with the city of Muskego over the upkeep of a local cemetery.

Luther Park Cemetery is home to about five dozen graves, including those of Civil War veterans Homer Clark and Jonathan Smiley. Clark died from a battlefield wound in 1863 and Smiley died of disease.

The Wind Lake chapter of the Sons of Union Veterans wants the gravesites mowed, and has sued over whether state law that says military veterans’ graves must receive “proper and decent care” is being followed, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The city says it respects the graves, but that it also maintains the property to preserve the land’s natural history and provide a sanctuary for the last native prairie in the community. The city has used controlled burns to manage foliage, but the Civil War group contends the flames and smoke damage fragile gravestones.

The city recently cut weeds and flowers in the area so the Civil War group could hold a memorial ceremony on Sunday, but the larger dispute remains unsettled.

“There are 65 other graves in this cemetery that need mowing as well,” Wind Lake chapter Commander Bob Koenecke said.

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