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150Re: [MidwestCemeteries] Loss of cemeteries

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  • Tracy St Claire
    Aug 6, 2006
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      No one is fighting for Resthaven -- which is down the street about 3/4 of a mile--
      because it isn't at risk. The O'Hare expansion project only includes relocating St.
      Johannes, and not Resthaven.

      I was there a couple weeks ago to see it for the first time and photograph
      the gravestones. There are a lot of them and I had the kids, So I did not
      get them all. I posted some at Find-A-Grave.com. I put mine in the
      (incorrect) listing of St. J in Cook County, not the appropriate one in Dupage
      County.

      This is my opinion, which is not the mainstream one for sure. I was very much against
      the relocation of the cemetery until I saw it. It literally abuts a landing runway that lands
      jets every 2 minutes or so, in the middle of O'Hare right now. It is not peaceful and I
      believe that it would be more respectful to move the cemetery than leave it in the midst
      of all that. It is the least peaceful place on earth. So many of the stones said "Rest in
      Peace" in several languages and I wondered at the irony. Certainly disinterring remains
      is not allowing someone to rest in peace either, though, but the shuddering of the
      ground must make these people literally roll in their graves.

      It is apparent that they are being careful about it - there are new white crosses that I assume
      mark bodies found that do not currently have headstones, that must be accounted for.

      Again, this is my opinion. If they were my relatives (and they are not, making my personal
      opinion irrelevant) I would want them out. It it certainly the last place I would want to be
      buried, except maybe Love Canal.

      Tracy St Claire
      Bible Records Online
      www.biblerecords.com


      At 10:08 PM 8/5/2006, you wrote:

      Well it looks like the city is winning the battle to uproot 2
      cemeteries in order to expand O'Hare Airport. Funny how in all of the
      news stories about this that I read and hear that they mention only
      St. Johanne's there are 2 cemeteries on the O'Hare expansion
      demolition list, they are across the street from each other. I guess
      that since nobody is fighting for Resthaven it doesn't get mentioned.
      From today's Chicago Tribune:

      Cemetery loses key fight
      Federal ruling boosts city's bid to remove graves near O'Hare

      By Jon Hilkevitch, Tribune transportation reporter. Tribune staff
      reporter Richard Wronski contributed to this report
      Published August 5, 2006

      Chicago's plan to uproot a 157-year-old religious cemetery and
      demolish hundreds of suburban homes in the way of expanding O'Hare
      International Airport survived one of its last legal challenges Friday.

      The 2-1 decision in Chicago's favor by the U.S. Court of Appeals in
      Washington, D.C., leaves O'Hare expansion opponents with one remaining
      appeal pending in a lower court, barring any additional filings.

      The city still cannot relocate graves in St. Johannes Cemetery until
      the legal action is wrapped up. But it can continue to buy homes and
      other properties it needs in Bensenville for the airport expansion,
      though the village is refusing to issue demolition permits.

      The three-judge appeals panel on Friday essentially said the Federal
      Aviation Administration cannot be held liable for violating the
      federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act because the O'Hare expansion
      is a Chicago project.

      "The city--not the FAA--is the cause of any burden on religious
      exercise because of its role as inventor, organizer, patron and
      builder of the O'Hare expansion ... and at the end of the day, the
      city will carry out the seizure and physical relocation of St.
      Johannes Cemetery," the ruling said.

      Expansion opponents had argued the city's plan to move the graves
      violated the federal religious freedom law and could prevent "the
      physical resurrection" of people buried there.

      Rosemarie Andolino, chief of the airport expansion for the city, said
      construction is continuing, and the city plans to open the first new
      runway, on the north part of the airfield, in 2008.

      Airport expansion opponents involved in the litigation--Bensenville,
      Elk Grove Village and St. John's United Church of Christ--continue to
      press their case in another lawsuit pending in the 7th Circuit Court
      of Appeals, based in Chicago.

      Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said Friday's ruling may be
      appealed.

      "This is a 15-round championship fight," Johnson said. "We lost round
      13. We make no bones about it. But the fight's not over. It didn't
      knock us out."

      In the 7th Circuit suit, attorneys for St. John's, which owns the
      cemetery, said Chicago is violating state law as well as the church's
      1st Amendment right to exercise its religious beliefs. They are
      challenging legislation that the Illinois General Assembly passed in
      2003 that specifically exempted St. Johannes from the state Religious
      Freedom Restoration Act.

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      jhilkevitch@...

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