Police clear homeless camp next to cemetery

LEWISTON — The discovery of a homeless camp in the woods north of Riverside Cemetery — where vandals last week tipped over about 150 gravestones — has led police and cemetery workers to clean up debris and post "No Trespassing" signs.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Tanya Ouellette holds the ladder for her husband, Kevin Ouellette, the groundskeeper at Riverside Cemetery in Lewiston, as he posts a "No Trespassing" sign Thursday on a tree in the woods north of the cemetery, where a homeless camp was discovered. Looking on in back are police Sgt. Marc Robitaille, left, and Officer Craig Johnson.

"We don't believe the campsite had anything to do with the vandalism," police Sgt. Marc Robitaille said Thursday as he hiked along the worn trail that runs parallel to the Androscoggin River.

However, in the wake of the recent damage, police and the cemetery Board of Directors want to discourage through-traffic across the cemetery. They also worry about campfires and people drinking alcohol in the area.

"We obviously want to discourage criminal behavior," Robitaille said.

People are still working to clean up last week's damage to the Summer Street cemetery.

A crew of volunteers is scheduled to help reposition the granite bases on some of the broken stones on Saturday, groundskeeper Kevin Ouellette said.

Next Monday or Tuesday, a vault crane is scheduled to lift some of the massive stones into their spots.

"We're going to do this in phases," Ouellette said. "We hope to be finished in two or three weeks."

Police and Riverside leaders had been meeting about the campsites even before the vandals struck. The wooded, cemetery-owned property has been a traditional site for carousing kids, but it has gotten worse, Robitaille said.

This week, police discovered sleeping bags, shattered beer bottles, a suitcase, tarps and the charred residue of campfires on a wooded bluff that overlooks the river.

They hauled away the garbage. And while police watched, Ouellette erected the signs, meant to discourage illegal behavior. They do not apply to folks who use the trails in the daytime for hiking or running, Robitaille said.


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 's picture


What's wrong with diversifying the community?

 's picture

Quick look through the paper

[This comment has been removed by the administrator]

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nice pun, though.

Nice pun, though.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Why ain't you at Kennedy

Why ain't you at Kennedy Park?

Diane Tierney's picture

Absolutely right !

You are absolutely right ! I may have stupidly quit school just before my 16th birthday, but I works HARD, in shoe factories ! When I was 18 I went and got my GED, but I still continued with all of my hard sweaty work ! Today I no longer live in Maine, and am on disability, (hard work doesn't always pay off health wise) but I still do what ever I can to help out anyone I can. I will do a little free work for my landlord here and there, such as cleanning a vacant apartment. Just still have to stay busy as much as I can just to stay sane. So the idea of someone WANTING to be lazy and not work is very foreign to me, I just can't understand how anyone can do it. my parents each worked 2 jobs a piece to make sure our family was provided for. There were no food stamps in our house. I think there are TOO many things people can get for free now, and too many people are ungrateful and just too selfish, and take advantage of it. The hand is always out for something free.
I applaud your daughter, she is definitely growing up right ! Good job to you !

Diane Tierney's picture


That was a good post too. Your little boy will grow up to see there are people less fortunate then we are, and he will learn to also appreciate the value of a dollar. When I first became disabled, and was still living there in Lewiston, it's what I did too, I helped out at the food banks as much as I could. There were times I also went over to hope Haven and helped them sort the clothes that were donated to them for the less fortunate. Even not being able to work a regualr job anymore, I still managed to find ways to stay busy, and try to help make a difference. I refused to become one who just wanted a hand out. If I did receive anything, well I had worked for it.

Diane Tierney's picture

to Salemgirl,

That No tresspassing sign is going to do little to nothing ! Who's afraid of a sign? Is it going to jump out and bite you when you walk up to it? They need a better solution of patroling that area at night. For years teens have known they could go out there and Party, and they were never going to get caught, because as long as it's after dark, no one was going to go out there and check anything out.

one more thing I realized too, since my comment on the free shoes story, I see they updated since they closed the comments, and added pictures of people who weren't of the Somali Community....now I know they REALLY didn't like my comment to Tron ! Oooops, my bad, but hey it's called free speech, we do still have that don't we?

Diane Tierney's picture

to salemgirl

lol I agree. I guess the comments got shut down on the free shoes story because I disagreed with Tron, and supplied a little bit of history of Lewiston and the Somali Community, they didn't like. Oh well. I better stop before they close this one too.

As far as the homeless having those sleeping bags out there ? LOL...okay.... did they actually SEE homeless people in the area or sleeping in those bags? Let metell you this, that area is one of the Biggest party hangouts for Lewiston/Auburn underage teens ! As a matter of fact I remember years ago, they young man they found who had been hit by a train, apparently he had passed out on the tracks or something on his way home to Main St. Lewiston. His name escapes me right now, but I know what was going on out there, and it has been going on for years. That was where he was coming from. I followed some of them out there one night, because I found out my niece was out there, and I went to haul her butt home, since she was in my temp. custody ! She was 16 at the time. There had to be at least 20 teens out there that night, and it was still early, Lord knows how many were there before the night was over. But I guess it's easier to blame the "homeless" then to open your eyes and see it's the teens out there drinking and god knows what else.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

So that's why I couldn't get

So that's why I couldn't get into that comment section. I had a pretty good line for that story, too. Wanna hear it anyway?
"I'll bet a guy with a few cases of Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder could make a killing at that place today". Maybe not that good, but the parrot liked it. He should, he made it up, the little twerp.

Diane Tierney's picture


ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh(ghostly sound) the big bad sign is gonna come and getcha !! Does it have fangs and claws that will rip you apart if you come near it and tresspass? I'ma Skeered (shaking). That sign is going to do nothing, withing one month's time(if even that long) the thing will be torn down and used to start a fire ! No what they need is patroling the area at night. Let that police officer sitting over there in the Duncan Donuts parking lot, take his free coffee and donut, and go patrol the area. It also helps those donuts not add on any extra pounds...no offense to the LPD or APD !!

Diane Tierney's picture

I Agree

I agree with you, Hope Haven does alot of good work. There was a time I was down and out, and they helped me with some house hold items I needed and couldn't afford. Another great thing they do, (do they still do it? I haven't lived in Lewiston for quite a while) was on Thanks giving, they put on a big dinner for anyone who didn't have somewhere to go for the holiday. Through donations, they do the very best and good thigns they possibly can. If I remember correctly, at one time, weren't they even in financial destitute, and were on the verge of possibly losing their shelter? I felt so sad over that. I was in a better place by then, and I was returning the good will they had given to me years before, and I began donating to them. They are a wonderful Mission, and I wiish them Love,luck, and may God keep looking over them to be able to continue the good work they do.

 's picture

how about not. enough of my

how about not. enough of my money is forcibly removed from my possession and spent on lazy people already.

Diane Tierney's picture

you are right

y0ou are right, but the so-called "homeless" arenp;t the ones taking up all of your hard earned cash. There are MANY. Take a look around you, look at the Somali Community, they get everything handed to them. Granted, some of these so-called"Homeless" choose to live the way they do, but many of them don't. Shelters are over filled. They may be homeless, but they are Americans. If they were given the same benefits that these "foreigners" get, many of these homeless wouldn't still be in the situations they are in. Let people be migrated here fomr another country, and out tax dollars pay for them to live in subsidized housing, get food stamps, get a monthly TANF check, and are given the luxury of driving a brand new mini van...yet these are 2 parent families, that are just too lazy to work. If these "homeless" people would be given at least 1/2 of the same benefits, they would be in a much better place. Granted, yes we would still have those transients, who want to stay they way they are, because their alcohol consumption over sees anything else. All they want to do is pan-handle enough money to buy that next bottle of booze. But Please don't put them all in that same category. I once was homelesss for a brief time, and it was thru the goodness of a couple of friends, and a little help from hope Haven, I was able to pull myself back up by my boot straps, and make a better life for myself.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Get Jimmy Carter over here so

Get Jimmy Carter over here so he can build them some housing.

 's picture

hobo's,bums and trolls.

These "homeless"bums have chosen the life they leading;which is fine this is a free country after all. But because they chose not to work and hangout doing drugs or getting drunk all day I don't think we should be asked to help or pity them. As for those who ask where the hobo's are supposed to go; why don't you invite them to your house?

 's picture

Here we go....Some kids

Here we go....Some kids vandalize the cemetary so the homeless need to move. Why is it like this? The homeless do not like being homeless, they too wish they had a warm bed in an enclosed space to call home. If evveryone wants them gone then stop shipping our money and aid to other countries for their homeless and hungry and start working on helping ours here!

 's picture

I've had people offer to use

I've had people offer to use their debit card to buy my groceries if I would give them the cash. People come to Maine because benefits are very easy to get and there is no residency requirement. People are even now moving form Mass to Maine because of the law requiring insurance coverage.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

OMFG? Pretty freakin'

OMFG? Pretty freakin' disrespectful

 's picture


I can't believe they didn't know about this already....


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