The City of Sterling would like to address the recent incident at Riverside Cemetery.
On Tuesday, October 15, 2013 the reporting family requested of City staff to inscribe an Ichthys, the fish-like symbol of early Christianity, on their niche cover at the Columbarium, along with the word “Jesus” inscribed inside the Ichthys symbol. The family was advised by City staff that they could have either the Ichthys, or the word “Jesus”, inscribed on the niche cover, but they could not have text inscribed inside the Ichthys because of the size of area available for symbols and text on the cover – and pursuant to a long-standing policy at the Cemetery which allows symbols or text, but not text within symbols, on niche covers.
On Wednesday afternoon, October 16, 2013 the family contacted the City Manager and reported the incident. Based on the reported information from the family, the City Manager advised them that he wished to first consult with the City Attorney – and that he would get back with them the next morning. Shortly thereafter the City Manager responded to questions by telephone from a Denver television station, relying solely upon the reported family information.
The City Manager and the City Attorney consulted on Thursday morning, October 17, 2013. Based upon that conference a decision was made to honor the family’s wishes, which decision was immediately conveyed to the family.