Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Arlington uses smartphones

Given the posts I've made in the past about the mismanagement at Arlington, it's worth mentioning that they are using new technology in smartphones to catalog graves.

Cemetery Preservation Workshop

Here's a news release from the National Preservation Institute:

The National Preservation Institute, a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, educates those involved in the management, preservation, and stewardship of our cultural heritage. The 2011-2012 National Preservation Institute seminar schedule is available online at The 2011-2012 NPI News Release includes the calendar and seminar descriptions

Advance registration is available through September 14, 2011
Scholarships applications accepted (see details below)
in cooperation with the Chicora Foundation, Inc.,
the Public History Program, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, Arizona State University, and the State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona State Parks

Cemetery Preservation
Phoenix, AZ – October 25-26, 2011

Learn how to begin a cemetery preservation or restoration project and how to help ensure that sound choices are made to avoid harming what you seek to protect. Discussions focus on current issues in cemetery preservation, such as recording and documenting cemeteries and graveyards, undertaking preservation efforts, and exploring conservation techniques and issues. An agenda is available online at

Instructors. Debi Hacker, conservation administrator of Chicora Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit heritage preservation organization specializing in research, public education, conservation, and preservation for museums, archives, and historic organizations and Michael Trinkley, Ph.D., director of Chicora Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit heritage preservation organization specializing in research, public education, conservation, and

Cemetery Landscapes: A Practical Guide to Care and Maintenance
Phoenix, AZ – October 27, 2011

Learn how to protect historic cemetery landscapes, preserve integrity of design, and safeguard tombstones and monuments while pursuing a practical outlook on maintenance and budget concerns. Explore approaches to caring for softscapes, or plantings, and hardscapes, including roads, pathways, and benches. Discuss effective pruning and cutting techniques, and when chemicals and heavy equipment can be safely and productively used. Review the basics of short- and long-term preservation plans. An agenda is available online at

Instructor. Debi Hacker

LA/CES. These seminars meet the criteria for programs in the American Society of Landscape Architects Continuing Education System and ASLA members will receive 6 learning units each day.

Registration. A registration form is available online at The advance registration rate is available through September 14 — $450 (2 days – Cem Pres) / $275 (1 day – Cem Landscape) / $600 (3 days – both seminars).

The regular registration rate after that date is $500 (2 days – Cem Pres) / $325 (1 day – Cem Landscape) / $650 (3 days – both seminars).

Scholarships. A National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant for scholarships covers the cost of tuition for qualified applicants to attend NPI seminars in targeted cultural resource management areas. For more information and the application form, go to

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wyoming cemetery nears capacity

The municipal cemetery in Melrose, Wyoming, is close to capacity, so officials are set to begin an expansion project, which will include, among other things, double-depth gravesites, for family members.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Two ongoing woes at cemeteries: vandalism and neglect

I could post for hours on end about the problem of vandalism at cemeteries. We know that, at the very least, it causes extra work to right the wrong, and, beyond that are the police and judicial man-hours to bring the perpetrators to justice (negative externalities, as these things are called in geographic terms). Still, it's worthwhile to post an occasional reminder that this is an ongoing problem. Here are two cases in my neck of the woods: one at a Jewish cemetery in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, and the other in Camden.

Meanwhile, in Memphis, Tennessee, visitors are shocked and dismayed at the poor condition of the Hollywood Cemetery

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A growing trend? VA cemeteries confronted by increased demand

With more veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam dying, plus those killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans cemeteries are facing increased demand, reports the Chicago Tribune.
Chris Erbe, of the National Cemetery Administration, tells the paper that, with many cemeteries starting to run out of room, 19 expansion projects are in the works nationwide to deal with the increased demand.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day

I haven't been very good at keeping up with this blog lately, and, for that, I do apologize. But it has not gone unnoticed here that Memorial Day is coming up this weekend and I just wanted to send you a brief reminder to pay proper tribute to those who died for this country, but also to pay proper tribute to those who work tirelessly - and, largely, anonymously - to get those gravesites ready, and will continue to do so, long after the last flag is waved and red-white-and-blue bike passes by on the parade route.
I intend to spend part of the holiday where I do every year, visiting the graves in Voorhees, New Jersey, of "Colored" soldiers who served under Union command during the Civil War. While Memorial Day generally is devoted to commemorating those who gave "the last full measure of devotion," I like to remember all who served.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Massachusetts mudslide carries away part of a cemetery

Torrential rains proved disastrous in one Massachusetts community, as mudslides damaged a local cemetery.

College welding students create cemetery gate

Students at a community college in Mississippi create a sign at the entrance of a cemetery. What a great way to get young people involved in cemetery care.

Adopt a cemetery?

Officials in Attleboro, Massachusetts, are considering a plan to allow citizens to adopt abandoned/orphaned cemeteries as part of it's Adopt-a-Spot program.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mississippi town changes course; no cell tower in cemetery

Officials in Ellisville, Mississippi, and Cellular South have agreed to find another location for a cell-phone tower, and won't locate it in a local cemetery.

Ill. Supreme Court allows O'Hare expansion to proceed

In a notable eminent domain case, the court declined to review a decision from the appellate court, thus allowing seizure of cemetery land and expansion of O'Hare International Airport.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trouble brewing in Mississippi town over cell tower

Residents in Ellisville, Mississippi, are upset over plans to erect a cell-phone tower in a cemetery. This also happened in New Jersey, where zoners in October rejected the proposal.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Toledo mulls cremation for indigent, instead of burials

Cremation would cost less than burial, authorities say; additionally, the cemetery is running out of burial plots.

Land needed in Scotland for a cemetery

Here's a story from across the Pond, in which a local community is seeking a site for a new cemetery. Some prospective sites so far have had shallow rock beds that make it difficult to dig graves, and others are tagged with other development labels.

City snowplows said to damage Brooklyn cemetery

Thanks to a friend on Facebook, Jonathan Appell, here's a story about some city snow plowers who allegedly knocked a huge pile of snow into a cemetery, with damaging results.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Equipment stolen from Texas cemetery

This blog has noted cases in the past in which thieves have stolen brass fixtures, wrought-iron gates and similar things from cemeteries.
As also noted in my research, these thefts harm a community's larger quality of life, because they divert countless crimefighting and judicial resources that otherwise could go toward fighting more serious crimes and prosecuting other perpetrators.
Well, here's another incident; this time, thieves stole lawn maintenance equipment from a cemetery in Orange, Texas. Again, while it seems like a petty crime compared with others, it's not for the cemetery operator who now needs to replace that equipment, and it again diverts precious police and court geography parlance, it is another example of a negative externality.

Illinois cemetery a financial drain

Government officials in Knoxville, Ill., are looking for ways to close a nearly $42,000 hole in their cemetery budget. Over the last five years or so, according to the treasurer, expenses totaled $221,671, while income was $180,047.

Kansas county takes over cemetery operation

Shawnee County in Kansas is now operating a cemetery after a couple that had been in charged turned over the reins.

New Year, new commitment to blogging

Greetings to everyone. It was a busy fall, as I took the penultimate class for my GIS certification at Rowan University. I'm most hopeful of doing this work at my place of employment, the Philadelphia Daily News (or, but it's good to know I'm getting a new skill set in the event I need to go elsewhere.
Here are a couple of examples of maps I created for class. One is a map of the Mid-Atlantic Region's honey production for 2009; the other is a solution to a problem in which we had to determine, using a series of constraints, the best locations in southwestern New Jersey to locate a nursery.