It is one of the most iconic sites in Petersburg, the hills of Blandford Cemetery. Less than a week ago, out of control grass grew around the graves – final resting places that have marked the grounds since Petersburg was a British city.
Generations are buried within the site, including members of Mary Russell's family. But over the past five years, Russell says she and her husband have had to landscape the grounds where her ancestors are buried, themselves.
It is the City's responsibility to maintain Blandford Cemetery, a responsibility Russell says, has been neglected.
"The dead need some respect, and I am here as their voice," Russell said in an interview Friday. "We bring a weed eater, a blower to clean it afterwards, a hard rake, and a trash bag, every time. And that's every other week, we cut nine graves."
After NBC12 inquired with City Manager William Johnson III, groundskeepers have worked extensive hours to bring the property back to pristine shape.
City Spokesperson Esther Hyatt said bad weather has prevented crews from getting to work, and Petersburg remains committed to keeping Blandford clean.
"I believe nothing would have been done now, if I hadn't gotten [NBC12] involved," Russell said. "This is just in time for Mother's Day, since last Mother's Day, grass was up to our waists in some areas."
Blandford Cemetery has veterans buried from every single American war. The oldest grave dates back to 1702.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
A mysterious 'Woman in Black' has been spotted around the Tri-State in recent days, causing social media to erupt with questions about her identity. According to WATE in Tennessee, the Sullivan CountyMore >
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Monday, July 28 2014 7:11 AM EDT2014-07-28 11:11:00 GMT
It's no exaggeration to say history is about to unfold tomorrow in Downtown Richmond. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen are going on trial, battling corruption charges and battling to saveMore >
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Monday, July 28 2014 4:25 PM EDT2014-07-28 20:25:29 GMT
Chesterfield Police are looking for the man who they said ran from officers Sunday night. The chase started about 8 p.m. Sunday night along James Street near Virginia State University. Officers saidMore >
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Monday, July 28 2014 1:00 AM EDT2014-07-28 05:00:55 GMT
Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.More >
Sara Bruehl, 18, was killed after a stranger shot her in the head, while she was driving, 15 years ago this summer. Sara's mother is using every avenue, including social media, to hunt down her daughter's killer.More >
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Monday, July 28 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:31:24 GMT
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's gay marriage ban on Monday. The federal court upheld a prior district court's decision the state's ban is unconstitutional. Copyright 2014More >
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's gay marriage ban on Monday.
Sunday, July 27 2014 4:00 PM EDT2014-07-27 20:00:24 GMT
This typically tranquil community along this stretch of Georgetown Road was "rocked" early Saturday morning as news of a death investigation spread. Lewis Saunders has lived near this house for moreMore >
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Sunday, July 27 2014 11:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:00:26 GMT
A concerned viewer contacts our 12 On Your Side Investigators after receiving a suspicious phone call claiming she was wanted for bank fraud. We did some digging and tracked down the company whose nameMore >
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Monday, July 28 2014 1:54 AM EDT2014-07-28 05:54:28 GMT
Authorities now say 14 people - including a 15-year-old - have been struck by lightning during rare summer thunderstorms that have swept through Southern California, injuring two critically.More >
A 20-year-old man died Sunday after lightning struck or rattled 13 people at a popular Los Angeles beach and a golfer on Catalina Island during summer thunderstorms that swept through Southern California, authorities said.More >