Maine Old Cemetery Association announces the establishment of Maine Old Cemetery Week, May 19-25, 2013, as part of its mission to encourage and support the preservation, maintenance and study of old cemeteries.

Association president Cheryl Willis Patten encourages local historical organizations, civic associations, Boy and Girl Scout troops, and fraternal and veterans groups to lead community projects to care for local burial grounds in preparation for the Memorial Day holiday, according to a news release.

While the association encourages the active care of burial grounds, Patten discourages members of the public from undertaking cleaning or repairing gravestones without appropriate training.

A workshop was held May 11, hosted by the town of St. Albans. Future cleaning, leaning workshops will be announced, according to Patten in the release.

In response to a spate of cemetery thefts of tomb doors and metal gravestone fittings last fall, the association has instituted a new, online cemetery vandalism reporting tool.

If, during participation in Maine Old Cemetery Week, incidents of cemetery vandalism or theft are discovered, people are encouraged not only to make reports to local authorities but also to file a report with MOCA by visiting http://www.roots˜memo ca/moca.htm and selecting the link, “Report Cemetery Vandalism.”

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