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Valley Pre-Owned

Publish Date: 12/31/2006

Dennis Hiatt of Erie walks through Pleasant View Ridge Cemetery south of Longmont on Dec. 13. Hiatt organized a clean-up of the cemetery last summer. Times-Call/Richard M. Hackett

Erie man continues to visit, leave flowers at abandoned cemetery

In April, a man who had already rehabilitated three abandoned graveyards in his home state of Nebraska set out on a mission to make the Pleasant View Ridge cemetery south of Longmont a respectable resting place once again.

Though Dennis Hiatt isn’t related to any of the 13 people buried at the cemetery at County Line and Oxford roads, his commitment to see the dead honored drove him to lead a May 13 cleanup of the cemetery, long buried in weeds and shrubs.

Roughly 75 volunteers came that day with construction equipment and shovels to weed and prune vegetation, repair fences and reset fallen gravestones in the 4-acre plot.

Hiatt called the cleanup and relandscaping a total success but was more impressed that one volunteer committed to maintaining the cemetery indefinitely.

“It’s just totally amazing how it came together,” said Hiatt, who’s since been asked to resurrect neglected cemeteries in Lyons and other communities.

Neighbor Dellas Schneider has mowed Pleasant View Ridge four times since the cleanup, including the swath of land between County Line Road and the first grave markers. Hiatt originally wanted to leave some weeds to hide tombstones from the road and potential vandals. After seeing how nice it all turned out in May, however, he decided to err on the side of conspicuousness and increase the chance that friendly passers-by might stop and visit the dead lying there since the 1800s and early 1900s.

Despite health problems, Hiatt and his wife frequent the site about twice a week, leaving flowers against every tomb on holidays.

- Ben Ready

Saba Ali

Saba Ali, an Erie High cross country runner and Sunni Muslim, finished her running season on a low note, she said, but her spiritual goal of fasting and prayer during the holy month of Ramadan put her in high spirits.

Ali, a native of Pakistan who was featured in an October Daily Times-Call article about the challenge of running during Ramadan, said she barely ran half a mile before her body gave up during the last race this fall.

“I really wished to do my best on the last race, but I still feel sad that I couldn’t do good,” she said. “But my coach understood and said at least I stick to the sport for the whole season, and that was enough for me.”

She said the first weeks of cross country were difficult, but she had encouragement from her coaches, as well as her host family, the Desais of Erie.

“They took extra care of me and made sure that I am not uncomfortable with their eating in front of me,” she said. “Let me tell you, I don’t care about not eating and not drinking and still running, because it is the faith that is holding me. I know that God is taking care of me, and he knows that I am true to his words.”

At Eid al-Fitr, the celebration of Ramadan’s end, Ali and the Desais visited a museum and a zoo as a way to celebrate.

“It was a nice experience and made me realize the importance of your family and friends on special occasions like that,” she said.

Ali said that during her year here as an exchange student, she has made friends, learned the similarities and differences between her host and home countries, traveled and participated in American customs such as dressing up for Halloween (as a vampire) and eating Thanksgiving dinner.

She still has one Colorado pastime to try.

“Well, I haven’t gone skiing yet, but I think we will go soon,” she said.

-Melanie Sidwell

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