Cemetery purchase planned?

By: Tom Durkin
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Colfax Record Correspondent Tension over ownership of the Colfax Indian Cemetery appears to be easing between the Colfax-Todds Valley Consolidated Tribe and the Colfax Cemetery District. Both sides attended Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s monthly coffee meeting in Colfax on Tuesday. Angry feelings were running high last spring when the tribe reported to the Colfax City Council that the Colfax Cemetery District had locked them out of the Colfax Indian Cemetery. Negative publicity and pressure from Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s office persuaded the district to reopen the cemetery in time for Memorial Day ceremonies. Nevertheless, the district is intent on selling the historic burial grounds to the Colfax tribe or the United Auburn Indian Community. Although there is a strong community sentiment the district should give the tribe the half-acre site that may have once belonged to them, the district maintains that option would be an illegal “gift of public funds.” It now appears the two sides are close to making a deal. With the help of an anonymous donor, the tribe may be purchasing their graveyard for $30,000, according to reliable sources speaking on condition of anonymity. Even if the tribe and district agree to a sale, however, the transfer would have to be approved by the Placer County Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo). Representatives of LAFCo have they said they will consider the issue only if or when it comes before the commission, which could be months. The immediate issue of concern at Tuesday’s well-attended meeting was when and where the next cemetery district trustees meeting would be held. Many people felt the district has not been giving adequate public notice of its meetings. Richard Tagliaferro of the Weimar-Applegate-Colfax Municipal Advisory Council reported that district trustee Helen Wayland had assured him the district board would meet “within the next 25 days.” Furthermore, he said local newspapers and radio stations would be notified in addition to the usual postings at city hall and other public buildings. District trustee Charles Gray and cemetery manager Craig Ballenger, who both attended Tuesday’s coffee session, confirmed the meeting would be held and the public would be notified. Although the time, place and agenda of the cemetery board meeting have not been set yet, it is expected the disposition of the Colfax Indian Cemetery will be a main topic of discussion. Supervisor Montgomery’s next coffee at Evangeline’s will be held at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, instead of Wednesday due to a scheduling conflict. Other items covered during Tuesday’s community meeting included: · There are still no suitable, available facilities to hold Weimar, Applegate, Colfax Municipal Advisory Commission meetings in Weimar and Applegate, Montgomery said. Therefore, meetings will be continue to be held at the Colfax Veterans Hall. The next meeting will start at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. · Montgomery reported that while this year’s Caltrans work on I-80 is finally finished, future plans include raising the height of nine bridges between Rocklin and Alpine Meadows. This will not impede I-80 traffic as much as it will cause major detours of overpass traffic, she said. · People reported on efforts to the re-instate the senior nutrition program and expressed fears additional senior services would be cut. · The chipping program will resume in January. Outdoor burning is now permitted by CalFire, but is still regulated by the Placer County Air Pollution Control District. For more information, call (530) 745-2330.