Good evening, and thanks for watching News 8 this
I'm Madalyn O'Neill.
Many people see cemetaries as a somber place with
little effect on their local community.
but one local woman is hoping to change that.
News 8's Sarah Thamer brings us the story.
Renovations for the Onalaska cemetery have been in
the works for a few months now and the cemetary is
almost completely finished.
But to help with the finishing touches.
the committee held a fundraiser today in hopes to
meet its long-lasting goal of keeping the community
lives are lost.
I spent a lot of time out there as a child.
When Lois Riniker's dad was a care taker in the 30s,
she spent most of her time with him at the Onalaska
pulling weeds and watering plants.
Today, not much has changed.
But the cemetary, of course, has a new brand new look.
I'll be burried out there! I hope it won't be for
a while but I'll be there someday!
Two years ago, Riniker created the Onalaska Cemetery
Committee to improve the city's cemetery on Main Street.
And while a lot has been done, there is still some
work to do.
We have an arch to put up yet over the drive-in entrance,
we have a sprinkling system that has to be installed
yet, and that goes along with the landscaping, flowers,
plants and trees.
For Rinkiker, the improvements mean a lot more than
just a few enhancements.
Family being there, it just shows we care about them.
With aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, the
cemetary holds some of the most special people in
And she wants to honor them in the best way she knows
We have a selling auction, we have the jewelry that
Scott Bjorke has designed we're giving that away with
donations and we have a raffle going on with some
hand-painted wine glasses.
With 160,000 thousand dollars already donated to the
cemetery, it's clear the community supports the cause
behind the fundraiser.
This is where our ancestors are this is where our
families will be and on top of that the cemetary had
really just become very delapotated and was kind of,
I dont want to say was an eye source in the city but
it's in a pretty prominent space and and it just really
needed some upgrading, it needed some beautification.
It's all part of who we are here, it's our heritage,
that is our mothers, fathers, our brothers our sisters,
our sons and daughters that are in that cemetary,
it's a sense of pride.
And while they may be paying their respects to those
who have already passed on, they're planting seeds
by their names, to keep the cemetery, filled with
The Onalaska Cemetery Committee is hoping to raise
as much money as they can to complete the cemetary's
brand new look.
Sixteen area-artists have donated their artwork for
bidding along with hand-crafted jewlery.
Thanks Sarah, for that story.
The committee expects to complete the final touches
on the cemetery in the next few months.