Green-Wood Cemetery is Buzzing

Historically, Brooklyn's Green-Wood cemetery has been selected as the final resting place for many buzz-worthy people, such as composer Leonard Bernstein, newspaperman Horace Greeley, "Wizard of Oz" actor Frank Morgan and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. But, of late, Green-Wood has some new, lively residents, over 600,000 honeybees. These bees are responsible for producing the locally acclaimed honey named, "The Sweet Hereafter," which is sold from a wheeled cart outside the cemetery's gothic gate.  Up until 2010, New York City had a ban on beekeeping. But, one day in 2014, while sitting in Green-Wood's central chapel, Davin Larson, who worked with bees while growing up in the […]

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What’s the Buzz Between the Tombstones?

The final resting place of celebrities who created a buzz when they were alive, is now the home to some 600,000 honeybees and a beekeeping operation that continue the buzz between the tombstones.  Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery allows beekeeper Davin Larson to run the beekeeping operation on the cemetery grounds near 500 acres of rolling hills.  Upon visiting the cemetery, Larson knew that the grounds were the perfect place to keep bees in the city; the cemetery is one of the larger green areas in the city. Green-Wood Cemetery is also granting Larson to sell the churned out honey outside of […]

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Male-Dominated Funeral Industry On Its Last Leg

Throughout modern history, funeral directors have been overwhelmingly male. In the 1970s, almost 90% of funeral directors in the United States were men, as was the norm in many industries. However, this industry has recently made a dramatic shift. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, 16.5% of its members were women. While this does not seem like a large majority, the number of women in mortuary study programs – the course of study required to be a funeral director – is rapidly growing. In 1971, only 5% of mortuary science students were women. In 1991, that number jumped to […]

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Clean Up Your Cemetery Act!

You would think there would be some accountability in death. As most states do, South Carolina has a cemetery board. Established by the South Carolina Perpetual Care Cemetery Act, the Board has the power and duty to promulgate regulations of the state’s cemeteries, as per §48-8-20, with some exceptions (e.g., governmental cemeteries). The Act seems fairly rigid in its rules: no company may operate a cemetery without a license from the Board; the company must follow detailed guidelines in establishing a perpetual care trust fund; and the Board has the authority to take disciplinary against a licensee who violates any […]

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Funerals Present a Window of Opportunity for Theft

Business management author Tom Peters wrote, “If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.” Candice Nicole Hough took that advice to heart when she pried a window screen off the home of a Colorado widow who was away attending her husband’s funeral. While the widow grieved, Hough broke into the home and made off with $3,000 worth of jewelry and an assortment of credit cards and cash. Police believe that the robbery was part of a larger scheme to use obituaries and death notices to target mourners attending funerals. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein asked the Mesa County […]

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Activists Say Road Construction is Encroaching on Slave Cemetery in Virginia

Outside of Washington, D.C., construction on a new interchange is encroaching on a marked slave cemetery. Residents in Loudoun County, Virginia, are worried about the new construction  on the interchange between Belmont Ridge Road and Route 7. These residents have been restoring and protecting the cemetery as an integral part of Loudoun County's history.  Pastor Michelle Thomas of the Loudoun Freedom Center is one of the cemetery's biggest advocates. The mission of the Center is to "eliminate injustice and engender hope, understanding, and reconciliation . . . as it relates to the lives & contributions of the enslaved . . […]

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Recovering Damages for Emotional Distress in Abuse of Corpse

After just six minutes of deliberation a jury found a Pennsylvania man guilty of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse. The man killed is stepdaughter, had sex with her corpse, and filmed it.  The stepdaughter's husband is suing the man for infliction of severe emotional distress on the husband and children. The husband is attempting to recover the cost of his wife's funeral, compensation for her lost wages, retirement benefits and punitive damages. As well as, the family's mental health counseling. Generally, courts in Pennsylvania and most jurisdictions apply the impact rule when deciding to award damages for emotional […]

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From the Files of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: the Danish Seagrass Casket Scam

Dear Bruce Perkins (if that is your real name), The first sign that your ridiculous scam involving "purchasing" five seagrass caskets and shipping them to Denmark was going to fail?  You tried to pull it on Caitlin Doughty and Amber Carvaly. The former has mad social media access, and the latter is apparently a bad ass when dealing with scammers. Good cautionary tale for the rest of us – not all scammers are pretending to be Nigerian princes online. Tanya Marsh  

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The Ultimate November Blue Playlist (2002-2016)

Attention Funeral Law Blog readers, this post has absolutely nothing to do with funeral and cemetery law.  Fellow Avett Brothers fans, I think that the evolution of November Blue perfectly illustrates the evolution of this band from 2002 – 2016.  "Ultimate" is in no way "complete."  There are lots of videos out there.  I tried to pick representative samples from each year.  I couldn't find any videos from 2003-2005, so if you have links or audio files, or other suggestions for good versions, please comment.  Unbelievable thanks for all of those who recorded shows and posted them for us to […]

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