Nearly a month and a half ago, the president of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, Tom Giffon, got a phone call. Giffon says he answers a lot of calls from people who want to restore and save the state’s old cemeteries-but this one was different.
J. Michel Guite of Springfield, called Giffon to ask about building a house on farmland in Hartland where a small cemetery, the size of a living room, now sits. Guite is interested in buying the land currently owned by a group of Buddhist monks. But his plan to move the cemetery has drawn criticism from area veterans and others, including Tom Giffon, who believes such a move is disrespectful.
A probate court in Woodstock ruled a week ago that two descendents of people buried in the cemetery have the right to file objections. But Guite has now appealed to the Windsor Superior court. A public hearing is also scheduled for next month.
Tom Giffon spoke with VPR’s Jane Lindholm about the controversy.