Friday, September 17, 2010

Massachusetts town, school in tussle over plot of land

The Riverside Cemetery could run out of space within a few years, and school officials say they need a new building, so the sides are at odds over the largest piece of land available in the town of Saugus, Massachusetts.

Minnesotans tout green burials

Green, or natural, burials are becoming more common in Minnesota, as people give consideration to environmental issues.

Authorities find more mismarked graves at Arlington

The Army reported this week that more graves were exhumed and that more graves were discovered to be marked improperly. Here's an editorial from Mass Live on the problems at Arlington.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Florida county may take over cemetery

Regardless of whether Highland County takes on the task, officials are planning to seek bids on maintenance at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Veterans, lawmakers want VA to run Arlington

A growning number of officials and others are suggesting that the Veterans Administration would be better suited to run Arlington National Cemetery, in the wake of the mismanagement scandal involving the Army.

More concerns raised over Pennsylvania cemetery

I had an earlier report about plans to create an access driveway to a school next to Fernwood Cemetery in Limerick, Pa. There are still concerns about the project, as well as concerns about the condition of the cemetery itself.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Feud brews over allowing dog owners to use California cemetery

Some cemeteries use dog-walkers' use to raise money, but here's a place in California where there are some concerns over such use.

Pennsylvania school access road could impact cemetery

A school district is negotiating to get a right-of-way alongside a cemetery.

NYC cemeteries face gridlock of their own

Sunday's New York Times detailed the overcrowding of many prominent cemeteries within the city. Interesting that it was on the Real Estate front.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Army orders sweeping changes at Arlington

The secretary of the Army has ordered broad changes to the operations at Arlington in the wake of the scandal involving mismanaged graves.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vandals strike Massachusetts cemetery

I could probably most a story about this kind of crime most days, but I restrain myself. But every so often, I need to put out a reminder of the destruction: More than 100 headstones were toppled by vandals over Fourth of July weekend in a cemetery in Lynn, Mass.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The latest on Arlington from Salon: Army had warning of problems

The latest report from Salon shows that Army officials had a warning that graves were mismanaged at Arlington National Cemetery.

NYC parkland sale to cemetery hits a snag

Officials want to make sure that they don't lose too much green space, so they've stalled the sale of some property to a cemetery.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Juneteenth marked by cemetery cleanup

A famed black cemetery in Dallas was cleaned up as part of the community's Juneteenth celebrations.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A look at how so much went wrong at Arlington

The Week has an overview on the burial problems at Arlington National Cemetery, with many links to other reports on the situation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mismanaged graves at Arlington Cemetery

I've been away and haven't been following this case closely, but it looks like a sad time at Arlington National Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

From Google Books: "The Last Landscape"

This book is about cemetery/landscape architecture.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Florida town begins cemetery takeover process

Despite misgivings over finances from one town official, the Davenport commission introduced an ordinance to take over the Evergreen Cemetery. The city was asked to assume control of the cemetery because members of the cemetery association are aging and no longer up to the task of maintenance and operations.

Virginia town buying adjacent land to expand cemetery

Officials posed a hypothetical dilemma to neighbors: Would you rather have a cemetery next door or a housing development? Already, Riverside Cemetery is limted to Courtland residents, but buying another 8 acres would alleviate space concerns for now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

No word on cell-phone tower in New Jersey cemetery

There have been a couple of hearings on this matter, but I've yet to find out whether a final decision has been reached on erecting a cell-phone tower in a cemetery in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

Emergency tower OK'd in Laramie, Wyoming, cemetery

Officials in Laramie, Wyoming, approved erection of a tower for emergency communications in a local cemetery

Monday, May 10, 2010

StoneMor earnings up

The Levittown, Pa., company reports a strong first quarter.

Kentucky gas co. drills into cemetery

Workers were trying to drill at a new site, and didn't realize that they were in an old, hidden cemetery.

Utah cemetery running out of space

Officials bought local soccer fields in 1995, knowing that someday they'd need to be turned into some 11,000 cemetery plots, but that day is coming soon.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Seattle, Washington, cemetery is mapped

An old miners' cemetery is mapped by a local genealogical society. Good use of GIS.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Montgomery, Alabama, seeks to prosecute owners of neglected cemetery

Officials in Montgomery, Alabama, say they will pursue criminal charges against the owners of a neglected African-American cemetery - once they find out who owns it. This is an update on an item we reported here earlier.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Camden, New Jersey, park cleanup uncovers graves

Some students cleaning up a park in Camden, New Jersey, were stunned to find a long-neglected African-American cemetery.

New landscaping at Washington cemetery

Though I have no doubts that this goes on, it's a first for me to find it. A cemetery in Washington State did a redesign of some of its grounds, and added a new "water feature."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Washington town to consider expansion at cemetery

The Issaquah, Washington, City Council will consider a plan to add space for cremated remains at a local cemetery.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

California diocese puts solar panels in cemetery

Saw this done somewhere in Europe (Spain, maybe?). Now, it's in the United States.

Cemetery wins out over preserving farmland

The Stanislaus County, Calif., supervisors voted to allow a cemetery, overturning a planning board decision that would have protected farmland.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Green cemetery backers sue Ga. County

The operators of a proposed green cemetery have sued Bibb County, Ga., in federal court over regulations the county passed that effectively kill the project before it ever began.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Green burials OK in Virginia county

Despite opposition from farmers and others, a county board of supervisors approved green burial after research showed no harmful impacts.

Zoners deny variance request for church cemetery

The zoning board in a Pennsylvania town denied the request for a variance at a church.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Residents voice objections to cell tower proposed for cemetery

Here's more on the controversy in Scotch Plains, NJ, including comments from residents impacted by the proposal.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Texas man learns cemetery makes for a good neighbor

A cemetery in Texas met with some resistance by the neighbor, but now, he and others enjoy it for its nature trails and other amenities.

W.Va. to make room for highway by ...

relocating a cemetery. West Virginia Highway Department officials are going to move the cemetery to make room for the next phase of the Coalfields Expressway.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ontario officials consider GIS for cemetery mapping

Officials in one Ontario community say that because cemetery maps are outdated and unreliable, they may turn to Geographic Information Science as a way to find out what's there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maple trees tapped for syrup in cemetery

Tapping cemetery's maple trees draws flak, even with permission from the cemetery.

Spring renews concerns about Illinois cemetery

Supporters of a cemetery in Illinois wonder who will take care of the grounds?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Under water: This time in Texas

Here is another story of a cemetery under water from flooding/weather. This one is in Texas. This link doesn't include the whole story, so if you are in the neighborhood, please buy the newspaper. They'll appreciate it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Difficulties arise in transferring Wisconsin cemetery to town authorities

Officials from the Plainville Cemetery Association want to resign and turn over operations of the cemetery to the local town, but that might not be so easy. The association has not had elections in years, and duly elected officials are required for any negotiations with the town, be it for a purchase or through condemnation/eminent domain.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Green burial option in Washington state

A cemetery in Washington state now offers green burial options, another in the growing trend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Va. cemetery flooded, filled with debris

Trash is only part of what's flooded a cemetery in Virginia, parts of which are under standing water.

Monday, March 8, 2010

W.Va. cemetery has a community garden

A cemetery in Huntington has plots for use in a community garden.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Atlanta panel to mull plan to move African-American cemetery

A council committee will examine the matter. The applicant wants to move the graves, but the city's Urban Design Commission is against the plan.

New Jersey towns consider erecting cell tower in cemetery

The zoning board in Scotch Plains, N.J., will continue a hearing in April to hear an application by T-Mobile to erect a cell-phone tower in historic Hillside Cemetery. The tower would be used by both T-Mobile and Verizon customers.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Report: Uptick in cremations means downturn in monument, casket businesses

Here's an article in the Toledo Blade that details the struggles in the monument business and the casket business, as cremations rise.

SCI's 4th quarter earnings teleconference

SCI, one of the largest cemetery operators in the world, has its 4Q earnings teleconference transcript out.

Columnist writes about O'Hare/cemetery clash

Here's a good column that spells out some of the sensitive issues involving the planned takeover of St. Johannes Cemetery outside of Chicago for the planned expansion of O'Hare International Airport.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chicago begins moving graves at St. Johannes

Chicago has begun moving graves in the expansion project for O'Hare International Airport.
Here's the report from a local TV station.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Update on Montgomery, Ala., cemetery

The city council wants to issue an order to stop burials at this cemetery until it's determined who owns and/or runs it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More links to the O'Hare vs. cemetery case

Rather than link to each story individually, here is the Google news link with a host of those stories.
Here is a report on the case by The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty.
Here's an article from
I've also included a photo here from that site:

Airlines balk at O'Hare expansion plan

The proposed expansion of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, which has sparked an eminent domain case involving a cemetery whose land Chicago wants, has run into another wall of opposition: Two major airlines -- United and American -- oppose fee hikes linked to the plan.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Marksmen help thin deer herd damaging Pa. cemetery

Marksmen have been recruited to help thin the deer herds that cause damage in one Pennsylvania cemetery.

Coalition works to save Ga. cemetery

Efforts are under way to preserve a historic African-American cemetery in Savannah, Ga.
Here's an interesting tidbit from the story, not directly cemetery-related, but more to do with geocaching:

Arch a big cache for gamers

Though few of the people who speed past the LePageville Memorial Cemetery on President Street pay much attention to the area, it's become a popular spot for participants in the GPS-driven game of geocaching.

Once they locate the exact coordinates, the players sign a list that's securely set inside a small canister.

Geocaching "is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure," according to its official Web site. It requires GPS technology to participate, and there are some 985,877 active geocaches around the world.

The LePageville Memorial Cemetery is one of many sites in the Savannah area. Other local geocache destinations include Fort Pulaski, Columbia Square and Bonaventure Cemetery.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cemetery owners vow to continue fight against O'Hare project

Owners of a suburban Chicago cemetery under threat of a takeover for expansion of O'Hare International Airport say they expect to file an appeal soon of a judge's order allowing the "taking."
Among their issues are religious freedom -- it is a Catholic cemetery -- and the fear that another Burr Oak could happen. (Burr Oak is the Illinois cemetery where bodies were improperly buried. Here is a link to other items posted at this blog about that case.)
A concern here at WPTG is that one town (Chicago) is trying to take land from another (Addison Township) using eminent domain.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unmarked graves found in black cemetery

A survey of a historically black cemetery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, has found about 60 unmarked graves.

Funeral homes and winter (cemeteries, too?)

Here's an article about the struggles of funeral homes in dealing with bad winter weather. Are cemeteries struggling, too? In ways more than the obvious, such as snow removal and digging graves?
I'm eager to find out whether there are long-term issues with heavy snow...saturated ground, wind damage, etc. Feel free to comment here and write to my e-mail address with information and leads for a future article here.
Here is a similar article in the Washington Post.
FoxNews also has a report.

Update on O'Hare expansion (aka, eminent domain) project

Hree is the latest on the plans to expand Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. From the Chicago Tribune:
DuPage County Judge Hollis Webster ordered that the title of the 5.3-acre St. Johannes Cemetery in Addison Township be transferred from St. John's United Church of Christ to the city. She also ordered that Chicago pay the church $630,000 for the land, which stands between two segments of a new runway already under construction.

At the heart of this dispute is a controversial ruling by this same judge to approve Chicago's use of eminent domain for the project.
Here's where it could get interesting for observers of eminent domain cases. First, the Supreme Court's Kelo decision of 2005 broadly expanded eminent domain powers (interestingly enough, Pfizer, the main beneficiary of that ruling, has abandoned the project after uprooting so many people's lives). In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that land could be claimed from one private by a government entity and turned over to another private entity.
Now, here we have a judge ruling that one town can take land of another. One can only imagine that this case is far from over.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Become a "Whistling Past the Graveyard" fan at Facebook!

"Whistling Past the Graveyard" is on Facebook. Join us there, and become a fan!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Citizens clean up Northern California cemetery

Here's a short story and slide show about a cleanup project at a Northern Califorinia cemetery that includes some of the early pioneers.

New Illinois regulations

A new law regulating the operation of cemeteries is now in place in Illinois, in the wake of the Burr Oak scandal.

Proposed bike trail within cemetery

Improvements in the bike trails in New York state, near Schenectady, will include areas within a local cemetery

Using technology to find Alabama graves of shipwreck victims

A Virginia archeologist is using modern technology to find the graves of those who died in the shipwreck of the slave ship Clotilde in 1859. The graves are located in what is known as Africatown Cemetery.

North Carolina restoration

Students in North Carolina are helping to restore a neglected black cemetery

Tennessee restoration

A long-neglected African-American cemetery in Tennessee will get a long-overdue cleanup and restoration. Among the buried are soldiers from the Civil War era.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Austin, Texas, running out of cemetery space

Austin, Texas, council voted to spend $24,000 for a study on how to address the issue of dwindling cemetery space.

Cemetery master plan update in Ohio

Officials in Plain Township, Ohio, expect to see a master plan for a local cemetery soon.