ATTORNEY: School Board in Clay County, Kentucky denies Family Member access to Historic 125 year old Hoskins Cemetery to visit Loved One's Graves or put Flowers on Them

HOSKINS CEM 700

Historic 125 year old Hoskins Cemetery on Island Creek Hill in Clay County, Kentucky
MANCHESTER, KY - (May 16, 2022) - According to Stella B. House, Attorney at Law, PSC, the Clay County Board of Education (the “School Board”) is attempting to relocate the historic 125 year old Hoskins Cemetery (the “Cemetery”). After a federal  district court judge ruled against the friends of the historic Hoskins Cemetery (the “Friends ”) and dismissed a federal civil action  regarding this matter but refused to rule on the state law issues, the Friends filed suit in state court.
 
Both the Fiscal Court and the School Board have filed Motions to be dismissed from the state court action against them by the Friends, who are requesting that the Clay Circuit Court DECLARE that the School Board cannot block access to the Cemetery or relocate the 70+ known graves of infants, Native Americans, Veterans, and others buried there in marked graves and many other decedents buried there in unmarked and/or unknown graves.
The Friends believe many of these decedents were buried in wooden caskets. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the caskets deteriorated many long years ago. The Friends believe state law requires the Board to allow these decedents to Rest In Peace, as the School Board, who purchased the land with full knowledge that the Cemetery was located on it, not the County of Clay, requested the relocation of the Cemetery.

In this video the Board’s local counsel unequivocally stated to the Clay County Fiscal Court that the Board was not taking the position that the Cemetery had been abandoned
 
Under Kentucky law, a landowner is not allowed to relocate a cemetery, unless it has been abandoned. In one of the Fiscal Court meetings last year regarding this matter, the Board’s local counsel unequivocally stated that the Board was not taking the position that the Cemetery had been abandoned. Therefore, the Friends believe the School Board cannot relocate the Cemetery under Kentucky law.
The Clay Circuit Court passed the Fiscal Court’s Motion to Dismiss, which was scheduled for a hearing on May 05, 2022, until June 02, 2022, the date after the upcoming primary election on which the School Board scheduled it’s Motion to Dismiss. On May 05, 2022, over the strong objection of the School Board’s legal counsel, Judge Oscar G. House granted Stella B. House, legal counsel for the Friends, 14 days instead of only 10 days to file a response to the School Board’s Motion Dismiss. He then granted the School Board’s legal counsel seven days thereafter to reply to the response.
 
Once Judge House reviews the motions, along with the responses and replies to them, and hears legal counsels’  arguments regarding the Motions to Dismiss on June 02, 2022, and rules on them, if he doesn’t dismiss the whole civil action when ruling on them, then he likely will set a new briefing schedule before he makes a final decision in the lawsuit. If any facts are disputed, he also may schedule an evidentiary hearing in order to allow the parties to present evidence regarding the disputed facts.
The School Board desires to start disinterment of the graves in the Cemetery as soon as possible after the upcoming primary election apparently, as it had time to start the disinterment of the graves after the Friends did not file suit in state court immediately after the dismissal of the federal action or the expiration of the 30 days for an appeal of that decision. Yet, the School Board took no action and remained virtually silent regarding this matter, until it scheduled a Motion to Dismiss the state court action for a hearing after the upcoming primary election on June 02, 2022, except in one instance.

That was when one of the School Board’s employees told one of the Friends who called the School Board’s offices and requested permission to visit the Cemetery that she could not access the Cemetery to visit her beloved family members graves or put flowers on them sometime near the Easter holiday.
 
BLOCKED ENTRANCE HOSKINS CEM 421 4 6 22

This photo of the closed entrance to the historical Hoskins Cemetery on Island Creek Hill off U.S. 421 in Clay County, Kentucky taken on Wednesday, April 6, 2022
 
Now, at a recent hearing on May 05, 2022, before the Clay Circuit Court, the School Board’s legal counsel adamantly insisted on a decision on the School Board’s Motion to Dismiss on June 02, 2022. She also stated that legal counsel for the Friends had  unnecessarily delayed this disinterment and relocation too long and wasted enough of the taxpayers’ money already.
 
If Judge House grants the Friend’s Motion for an Injunction, often referred to as a Restraining Order, to prevent the School Board from proceeding with the disinterment of the decedents buried in the Cemetery prior to his final decision in the state court action, then the School Board’s attorney said she would request a four (4) MILLION dollar bond.
 
If it will cost the School Board four (4) MILLION dollars to delay the disinterment of the graves and relocation of the Cemetery while the state court makes a final decision in this civil action, how much will it cost the School Board to actually relocate the Cemetery?
 
The Cemetery is only about one-fourth (1/4) of an acre in the 140 acres of land owned by the School Board in the area containing the Manchester Elementary School and Clay County High School.
 
Since the School Board owns so much land in that area, it could co-exist  peacefully with the Cemetery easily, as it has done for many long years now and since the School Board apparently has MILLIONS of dollars in taxpayers’ money to spend at this time, it should spend that money on something beneficial to the students and teachers in Clay County - something other than the relocation of the Cemetery.
DON’T YOU AGREE?
 
What expenditures would you request by the School Board?
 
  • Raises for teachers, teacher's aides, bus drivers, and other employees of the School Board
  • Computers for students?
  • Improvements to school buildings?

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