Mount Zion Cemetery  
Thursday, March 1, 2001
So I've Heard Column

The classified in a town weekly caught my attention: "For Sale--Cemetery Lot in Mt. Zion, Worcester Road, Webster."
I've been around a lot of years, and the classified was new to me. Dating way back to March 21, 1836, when it was given to the town by the Samuel Slater Estate, Mount Zion Cemetery is Webster's oldest public property.
DPW Cemetery Divison Director Dennis Westgate seemed uaware of the classified but "yes," he said, private sales are possible, with certain restrictions.
Because of its long history, two types of lot titles have been sold over time. Deeds were issued in the early years, but a treasurer's receipt is more common, according to Mr. Westgate. The town doesn't have any buy-back policy, so negotiations between a willing seller and a willing buyer are possible--if documentation is provided and there aren't any dead bodies in the lot.
"We've had a couple of inquiries," said Mr. Westgate. People removed from the town by several generations find an old deed or receipt, realize that no one from their family has ever been buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, and wonder about its value.
The town cemetery appears nearly filled but there's a significant number of open lots throughout the burial grounds, according to Mr. Westgate. The town sells to town residents only, $400 a grave, including $200 for perpetual care. Lots are sold mostly in multiples of six.
There's no established history to the private sale of Mount Zion space, so questions seem inevitable, Mr. Westgate admits. Whether an out-of-town owner must sell to a Webster resident may be one of them.
If you visit Disney World in Florida, take a ride on the purple and yellow monorail. Chances are one in three that Webster-native Joseph R. Poplawski will be at the controls, depending upon shift assignments.
Mr. Poplawski retired last year as senior heavy equipment operator for the Webster Highway Department. "I went to Disney thinking I could get a part-time job sweeping up or something," he said. "The woman looked at my (work) record, punched something on the computer and said 'monorail.' "
It's a great job, Mr. Poplawski said when we crossed paths last week. Joe and his wife, Gloria J., drove up from Orlando, where they now make their home, to attend graduation ceremonies Feb. 8 at the Connecticut State Police Academy.
Their son, Kenneth M. Poplawski, became a full-fledged Connecticut trooper. "We're real proud of him," said his father. Trooper Poplawski, assigned to Troop E at the Montville Barracks, was an intermittent officer in both the Webster and Dudley Police Departments before qualifying for the Connecticut Academy.
Joe and Gloria were about to return to Florida when we crossed paths last week. They delayed departure by a day to avoid a storm in the Carolinas. "We watch the Weather Channel and it gives us clear sailing," said Mr. Poplawski.
You never know when you're going to run into a kissing cousin, Debby Hunt discovered recently while in a service line at Webster's Dunkin Donuts store.
Ms. Hunt, a Dudley resident, is a local history buff and mentioned this column when I happened along. A bit of personal information followed. The late Jeannette (Pratt) Kaczmarek was her grandmother, she said. I startled the young woman, revealing that her maternal great-great-grandmother and my maternal grandmother were siblings in the Messier family.
"I never heard of that," she answered.
Here's a follow to Barbara Listenik's long search for her lost dog, Boris, published first in Good Housekeeping magazine and again in the February Reader's Digest.
The dog's airline carrier had opened and he escaped during offloading at New York's LaGuardia airport. The story centered on Ms. Listenik's search efforts, and her successful campaign for a federal law mandating the monitoring of animals
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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