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article imageAward-winning Milwaukee veterans' cemetery used as a waste dump

By Nancy Houser     Sep 20, 2011 in Environment
Around $37,000 worth of trash was found in one America's most pristine veteran cemeteries, the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery near Milwaukee. The 105-acre cemetery had recently earned an award for its beautiful appearance in April.
According to AP-obtained documents, the state maintenance supervisor of one of the country's most pristine veteran's cemetery had buried a wide assortment of trash in the cemetery, from television sets to paint thinner. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) had estimated $18,000 of clean-up bills, but currently it is $37,000 and rising, causing an outrage among veterans across the county.
"Just totally repulsive to me and any veteran," said Brad Cramlet, a 50-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Pleasant Prairie, a city about 20 miles from the cemetery, in Fox News. "That is hallowed ground. Our veterans are buried there. To have that happen is just totally unconscionable. That's abuse of position. That's abuse of government. Abuse of power."
The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has been accused of being a case study in the malaise and lethargy of state government, according to Radio Free Wisconsin. The clean-up had actually begun when the supervisor resigned last November, with the DVA sending out tidbits of information until the AP obtained DVA and state Department of Natural Resources emails and other documents were the details revealed.
A similar situation occurred with the Department of Veterans last February when whistle-blower and private security guard, Andrew Martin-Smith, told Rep. Jon Porter that confidential patient and personnel files had been dumped in the outside trash bin located behind the Department of Veterans Affairs' West Clinic.
Why? Human error or human stupidity, according to Jane Ann Morrison's article, "Case closed in dumping of VA files, but worries, questions remain." The U.S. attorney's office declined prosecution and closed the case. Since last January, memos had gone out stating that all VA documentation should be shredded, something that was not done.
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