BEATRICE - Elected officials have approved City of Beatrice funding of $18,000 toward a project to digitize records of the Evergreen Home Cemetery and the Beatrice Cemetery along East Scott Street. Cemetery Association member Mitch Deines says it will help move the association away from paper records.

"I think the misperception among the community is that the cemetery is flush with cash. We are not. We have a fair amount of money but most of it is in a perpetual care fund, which by law, we cannot touch. We can live off the interest, which is about $8,000 a year. The majority of the money that we raise there, or that we from opening and closing graves, and selling plots."

Earlier, the Gage County Board approved a $25,000 visitors fund grant for the project, from lodging tax revenue. The city funding will help match funds already dedicated. The total project cost is about $70,000.

Deines said the association will use the digitized records for business but the public would also have access for searching family history…using a software company’s system used across the U.S. and Canada. "From the forward-facing side of the community, it's really going to be a neat thing. They will develop a website for us. If someone from anywhere in the world wants to see where their relatives are buried, they can just type the name in. You can actually come into the cemetery and put it on your phone, and type in grandma's name....and it will walk you right to the grave. So, it's really nice."

To this point, Deines said the association is still using carbon paper when issuing receipts. He said a fire in the late 1890s destroyed records, leading to a tedious task of rebuilding information on where people were buried. The council approved the budget allocation on a 7-0 vote.

Also Monday night, Hannibal Park picked up another facility sponsor. JEO Consulting will sponsor two outfield signs…donating $1,250 annually, over a three-year period.  Mayor Bob Morgan issued two proclamations, recognizing April as Autism Acceptance Month and as Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Mayor Bob Morgan and staff of Court Appointed Special Advocates