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Published September 15, 2009, 01:03 PM

High Red River levels threaten 1869 cemetery

CHRISTINE, N.D. (AP) — The Red River is threatening to take the caskets away from an eastern North Dakota cemetery that dates back to 1869.

CHRISTINE, N.D. (AP) — The Red River is threatening to take the caskets away from an eastern North Dakota cemetery that dates back to 1869.

Officials say flooding since 1997 has caused the ground around the Hemnes Cemetery near the town of Christine to slowly cave in. Caskets are now within 10 feet of the water due to erosion.

Oliver Mathison, an 86-year-old Fargo man who acts as the caretaker, said he watched as the abandoned cemetery began to creep toward the river. The cemetery has been under his care for the past 40 years.

Mathison contacted the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Richland County commissioners last year. County Emergency Manager Brett Lambrecht said he is looking for help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Lambrecht said four or five roads and two private homes have similar problems.

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