Cemeteries Do Matter!!!
By Susan Olsen
When American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced the additional 16 historic places that received preservation grants as part of the Partners in Preservation competition in New York City, The Woodlawn Cemetery was on the list. At the close of the voting, Woodlawn ranked number nine with four percent of the vote. Not only did the cemetery receive a grant, Woodlawn was awarded full funding because of the tremendous support shown by cemeteries statewide and across the nation.
Traditionally, cemeteries don’t do well in the online voting competition because, for the most part, our constituents aren’t “active” in the world of social media. But this year a cemetery made it into the top ten because the members of the Metropolitan Cemetery Association, New York State Association of Cemeteries and the ICCFA took the time to vote.
Woodlawn will use the grant funding to restore the Belmont Mausoleum. Built in 1910, the mausoleum was deeded in Trust to the cemetery in 1934. The Friends of Woodlawn take many tours into the building – as Mrs. Belmont used to open the mausoleum on weekends for visitors to enjoy.
The staff of The Woodlawn Cemetery appreciates all the support and hard work of our colleagues during the weeks of voting. It was a challenging experience, and next year, should a cemetery be selected, we all need to remember to get out the vote to remind our local communities that cemeteries do matter and need to be preserved.
With the approach of the New York State Association of Cemeteries Annual Conference coming upon us quickly, I am reminded of the old story of the hard working tree cutter. As the story goes, he worked hard cutting from dawn to dusk several days a week but was never able to cut as many trees as his competitor on the next hill. The hard worker was doubly confused because the competitor was away from work once in a while. So, the hard worker approached the competitor and asked: “How is it that I see you away from work once in a while but you cut more wood than I do?” The competitor replied: “I was off sharpening my saw.” Has your saw dulled? Have your skills rusted? Are your competitors learning new ways to cut more wood than you? Don’t let your skills go dull! Plan to attend the Fall Conference which will be held from September 30 through October 3, 2012 in Saratoga Springs, NY at the historic Gideon Putnam Hotel. Your skills will be honed listening to the presenters, sharing ideas with your fellow cemeterians and suppliers. Informative sessions are planned covering a variety of topics from customer service to the state of the economy and its effect on your bottom line.
I look forward to seeing you in Saratoga Springs this Fall.
Andrew E. Nagle
A Titanic Centenary
At Mount Hope Cemetery
By Theresa M. Joyce
The skies over Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., that morning were as clear and unremarkable as they were over the Northwest Atlantic precisely 100 years prior, when icy seas tore apart the RMS Titanic, hurling 1,514 passengers to a watery grave. On April 14, 2012, veterans of the 71st Infantry Regiment National Guard of New York gathered in Hastings-on-Hudson to pay respects to their fellow soldiers interred at the Spanish-American War Memorial located on the grounds of Mount Hope Cemetery. The veterans converge there each spring, but this year they devoted special attention to the memory of one of their ranks, Pvt. William Logan Gwinn, the U.S. postal clerk who had perished while safeguarding the mail aboard the Titanic.
Last seen hauling heavy mail sacks up from the flooding hold of the ship, Gwinn, age 37, had charged up San Juan Hill thirteen years earlier as a soldier in the 71st Infantry Regiment during the Spanish-American War. In the years that followed, ocean liners typically carried transatlantic mail beneath the lower deck cabins of well-to-do passengers. Gwinn was the chief postal clerk aboard the Titanic when it descended to the ocean floor April 15, 1912.
Sadly, Gwinn’s body and those of his two fellow mail clerks were never recovered from the shipwreck. But alongside other veterans of the 71st Infantry Regiment, Gwinn’s legacy stands immortalized on a grassy hillside adjoining the Spanish-American War Memorial. The Memorial — an ornate, roofed structure erected at Mount Hope pursuant to an act of the New York Legislature in 1901 — was added to the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 2011. This year, the edifice served as a fitting backdrop for the Regiment’s remembrance of Gwinn on the one hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s epic demise.
Following a procession of bagpipes, drums, an honor guard salute and a bugler playing “Taps,” veterans and dignitaries alike spoke eloquently in praise of the fallen. Louis Milgram, chairman of the Veteran Association of the 71st Infantry Regiment National Guard of New York, officiated at the ceremony. Additional speakers included State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens). Veterans arrived at the ceremony from all over the East Coast, as did Gwinn’s granddaughter, Bonnie Stephenson from Florida, and great-nephew, Alan James Gwinn from Connecticut.
Stephenson, who has passed down stories of her grandfather to her own grandchildren, summed up the importance of the commemoration: “There will never be another time,” she told a reporter. “It’s the one hundredth anniversary. It’s important to the family.” Echoing the sentiment, Gwinn told Milgram, “It’s delightful to be here. I’m so pleased that the 71st did this and made all this effort. I’m awestruck. It’s a wonderful honor.”
In his remarks, Milgram paid homage to the courage and duty of all the 71st Infantry Regiment veterans memorialized at Mount Hope Cemetery. Singling out Gwinn, Milgram noted that in contrast to many other passengers who thought first of preserving self, Gwinn sought first to preserve the 400 mailbags in his charge. Observed Milgram: “What else would you expect from a member of the 71st? Dedication to duty.”
To duty, to memory and to posterity the Veteran Association of the 71st Infantry Regiment National Guard of New York today dedicates its efforts. Would you like to lend your support to the Regiment’s ongoing activities? Please contact the Veteran Association of the 71st Infantry Regiment National Guard of New York, Jamaica Armory, 93-05 168th Street, Jamaica, NY 11433 — or log on to http://www.71stvets.org.
Memory Gardens' Lifemarker Helps Maintain Memories of Loved Ones
By Carol Durant
Device affixed to grave markers allows immediate access to tributes
ALBANY -- Memory Gardens Cemetery and Memorial Park now offers a way for you to share more than just the information on your loved one’s grave marker. With LifeMarker©, visitors can immediately access your tribute - obituary, family history, photos, videos - by scanning a QR code with their smartphones.
Memory Gardens is the first cemetery in the Northeast to offer the LifeMarker© service that provides you with an online account on which to upload whatever information you wish about your loved one. Memory Gardens’ staff will permanently affix a small chip containing the QR code to the granite or concrete base of your loved one’s grave marker. Equipped with the appropriate web applications (“app”), visitors with smartphones (or other communication devices with internet access) simply scan the chip to access your tribute.
“We’re adding another dimension to customer service using cutting-edge technology,” said Memory Gardens’ Administrator Andy Carroll. “A child who barely or never knew his grandfather can learn all about him while visiting his resting place.” Carroll also pointed out that distant relatives and friends can view your tribute page from the LifeMarker© website using the ID number or archive name.
The LifeMarker© service is available for a one-time fee of $200, which includes installation of the chip on the grave marker. The QR chip should last indefinitely without issue, but can be replaced for $5 if it is damaged or stolen.
For more information about the LifeMarker© service, please stop by the Memory Gardens office, 983 Watervliet Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12205. If you would like to make an appointment or for more information, please call (518) 869-9506, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Affairs Seminar
By Theresa M. Joyce
One hundred seventeen New York State Association of Cemeteries members and guests representing over 56 cemeteries were present for the 35th Annual Public Affairs Seminar held April 30th and May 1st at The Desmond in Albany. Our thanks to Chairwoman, JoAnne Sullivan of the Cemetery of the Highlands in Highland Mills, NY and our generous cemetery and supplier sponsors including:
Bollinger Insurance Solutions
Meredino Cemetery Care
The Regan Agency, Inc.
After the NYS Cemetery Board’s monthly meeting, attendees were introduced to the designees and then heard from Richard Fishman, Director, NYS Division of Cemeteries, on regulatory issues for 2012.
Frank S. Venezia, CPA of Marvin & Co. and Charles Mangiaracina, CPA of O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins provided materials, discussed and answered accounting questions including small business health care tax credit, determination of worker status regarding independent contractor and W2 reporting of health care benefits. Lisa Smith of the Division of Cemeteries was thanked for her years of service and her recent work with Cemeteries’ 990 filings and tax exempt status. She was also wished success in her new position with the Workers’ Compensation Board. She advised that the Division is investigating a change to review/audit requirements based on assets vs. gross receipts.
Following a break, Brennan Regan of Regan Agency and Steven Marshall of Bollinger Insurance presented topics “Directors and Officers Liability Insurance and the State of Workers Compensation in New York”. Many current changes were identified and explained including the new vocational Data Form (VDF-1) required with filing of a C2.
The Government & Legal Affairs Committee is busy with many new bills affecting us all including the requirement of Supreme Court approvals, definition of Cremation and municipal regulation of cemeteries. Chairman, Frank Giglio and Vice Chairman, Steven Sloane, reminded all to be as generous as possible to our vital Legal Fund.
Guest speaker, Jim Featherstonhaugh of Featherstonhaugh, Wiley & Clyne, LLP, provided thought (and laughter) provoking commentary on the State of the State at the delicious buffet Monday evening.
Tuesday morning was dedicated to legal issues including a presentation by Timothy G. Griffin, Esq. on crisis management entitled “Keep Calm and Carry On” followed by a review of recent court decisions and Q&A with the attorney panel including Ray Planell, Antonio Milillo and Richard Cea.
The seminar format provided the valuable opportunity to converse with our lobbyists, regulators, attorneys, Division staff and colleagues.
Thanks again to our Chair, speakers and all participants.
Twenty-one first time attendees were welcomed.
Hope to see them and many members again at the end of September in Saratoga Springs!
Don't Miss the Fall Conference 2012
The beautiful and historic Gideon Putnam Resort and Spa in Saratoga Springs, NY will be the setting for the 84th New York Association of Cemeteries Annual Meeting and Conference. The official program of the Conference will open on Monday, October 1 with the Annual Member Meeting, followed by a host of educational sessions.
Monday’s keynote session will feature Nancy Friedman, nationally known speaker, who will share with us “The Seven Secrets of a Successful Cemetery Manager.” The keynote session will be followed by a unique presentation on understanding and serving the bereaved family. The Monday afternoon sessions will touch on what’s plaguing the economy and where it’s heading. The last session of the day will be a presentation on Alkaline Hydrolysis. Monday night we will take a ten minute trip to the Saratoga casino for a cocktail reception and dinner followed by an exciting night of entertainment and song. Headlining for the night…“Simply Diamond” a Neil Diamond tribute band who will perform all of Diamond’s number one hits, including “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin Rosie,” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore”
On Tuesday morning our keynote speaker will put the icing on the cake with two sessions on great customer service entitled “How to be an Island of Excellence in an Ocean of Mediocrity.”
Tuesday morning will conclude with a presentation by our own Government and Legislative Affairs Committee and the Division of Cemeteries. The golf tournament will follow in the afternoon. The Conference will conclude in the evening with the Annual Banquet and installation of Officers to be held in the hotel.
*** The guest activity on Monday will feature an exciting day in Saratoga: museums, mansions and lunch at the Racino. After lunch you can continue on the bus for shopping on Broadway in Saratoga or stay at the Racino and try your luck at the slots. Bus pick up is at 9:30AM and returns to the hotel at 4:00PM.
By Jeff Richman
On June 5, 2012, Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery was honored by the Historic District Council with a 2012 Grassroots Preservation Award. The award recognizes Green-Wood’s long-time preservation efforts and its recent work to save the endangered Weir-McGovern Greenhouse.
Richard J. Moylan, Green-Wood’s president, commented: “Green-Wood’s commitment to preserving our history is strong. Our historic monuments, sculptures and buildings, and natural beauty are unrivaled. Maintaining them so that future generations can share in our rich heritage is a responsibility and an honor we cherish. I’d like to thank Simeon Bankoff and the Historic Districts Council for this prestigious award.”
The Weir-McGovern Greenhouse was built in 1895 just across the street from Green-Wood’s main entrance. It is a New York City landmark and the only surviving 19th century greenhouse in New York City. However, it had fallen into disrepair over the years. Green-Wood and its Board of Trustees are committed to restoring the greenhouse to its full glory and to readying it for its new role as Green-Wood’s visitor center.
Over the last decade, Green-Wood preservation projects have earned recognition from the New York Landmarks Conservancy and the Preservation League of New York State. Its “Saved In Time” preservation program was honored by the Smithsonian’s “Save Outdoor Sculpture” program in 2002. In 2006, the U.S. Department of the Interior recognized Green-Wood‘s importance by designating it a National Historic Landmark.
White Haven Installs New Retort
By Al Vittum
White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford, NY has just completed a new addition to its crematory, along with the installation of a Matthews Power Pak II cremator.
White Haven has been doing cremations since 1958. They built their crematory over the past decades to hold three retorts and have been using them ever since. White Haven realized that the older units were not as efficient as the newer ones, and after searching several companies, they chose the Matthews model.
There was no more room in the existing building for a fourth retort, so a new wing was added to the existing building last fall. The new room now has space for a total of three new cremators if needed. The Power Pak II was installed this winter and is working flawlessly. Cremations are done in half the time, and the amount of natural gas used has been cut dramatically.
The oldest retort was dismantled and a family viewing room was built in its place. The Reflection Room was developed so a small family gathering can come to the crematory, offer a few final prayers, and then witness the initiation of the cremation process. The Reflection Room has several chairs, pictures and an urn display, as well as an accessible rest room.
The outside of the crematory was also completely refurbished. A new driveway was installed and the unloading area that had been at the front (and visible from a busy road) was moved to the side of the building. Funeral directors now back up to the side door under a roof to unload, protected from the weather and out of sight of the public. The front has been totally re-landscaped. Comments from family members and funeral directors have been very positive and the staff members are enjoying their new space, too.
Government & Legal Affairs Report
Editor’s note: Many of you may be aware that this is Frank’s last report as Chairman of the Government and Legal Affairs Committee. He will be replaced by Steven Sloane. Frank has been doing this job for as long as most of us can remember. He’s done a great job and we all thank him for the time and energy he put in as Chairman. A job well done, Frank.
The NYSAC Government & Legal Affairs Committee has been working on the 2012 legislative agenda. David Fleming, Jr., as always, has been working diligently on our legislative initiatives for this session. We have listed below some of these issues:
NYSAC LEGISLATIVE INITATIVES FOR 2012
(a) Local laws not applying to regulated cemeteries
(A7417A –Brennan/S5429 Ranzenhofer)
(b) Body Melting/Resomation/Definition of Cremation (A7417A –Brennan/S5429 Ranzenhofer)
(c) Supreme Court applications restricted with Cemetery Board having authority
(A7418 – Brennan/S5370 – Ranzenhofer)
(d) Dedicated fund for vandalism/repair contributions (A7416A – Brennan)
LEGISLATIVE FIGHTS IN 2011
(a) Body Melting
(A.1223 – Bing – temporarily inactive)
(b) Burial Societies
(A.3027 – Cybrowitz/S.3313 - Klein)
(c) Customer Bill of Rights
(A.4219 – Weisenberg/S.4399 - Flanagan)
(d) Right of Publicity of Deceased Person
(S.2999 – Golden/S.3217A - Golden)
(e) Sale of monuments
(Prohibits: A.6401 - Morelle/S.3380A - Klein)
(Allows: S.5539 - DeFrancisco)
(f) Pet Cemeteries
The Legal Fund letters for contributions have been sent out. Please be as generous as your Cemetery allows. Please mark your calendars for the Fall Conference in Saratoga Springs, September 30th through October 3rd. Hope to see you there.
Frank F. Giglio
Regan Agency, Inc. Developing New Safety Group Program for Workers Compensation
By Brennan P. Regan
Regan Agency, Inc. (Babylon, N.Y.) is pleased to announce that we have been approved by The New York State Insurance Fund to develop proposed Safety Group #3055, which will provide Workers Compensation insurance for cemeteries in New York.
In the last three years Workers Compensation rates have increased by more than 20%, and the New York Compensation Insurance Rating Board (NYCIRB) is seeking an additional 11.5% rate increase when 2013 rates are filed on October 1, 2012. The new program will provide a stable, low cost Workers Compensation solution for cemeteries of all sizes, and will offer services to cemeteries that will assist in controlling claims and improving their experience rating.
What is a Safety Group Program?
A Safety Group operates much in the same way as an insurance company. It enables employers in the same industry to pool their insurance premiums together, with the common goal of reducing the cost of Workers Compensation for all group members.
A Safety Group is not a form of self insurance, and is not to be confused with a Group Self Insured Trust (GSIT) which comes with the inherent risks of joint and several liability, insolvency, and future assessments. Safety Groups are fully insured and non-assessable. Group members will never be charged for additional premiums beyond their earned premium for a given year, and are not responsible for covering deficiencies or excess losses incurred by other group members. Safety Group premiums are based on rates and loss cost factors which have been approved by NYCIRB and the Workers Compensation Board.
NYSIF Safety Groups provide significant cost savings advantages to group members, and can often result in premiums for Workers Compensation insurance that are 50% lower than the same coverage being offered in the private carrier market. Cost saving benefits include:
20% - 35% Advance Premium Discount
Dividends – The Average NYSIF Safety Group Dividend in 2011 was 30.52%
10.1% New York State Assessment Charge – Private Carriers Charge 20.2%
The New York State Insurance Fund
In business since 1914, The New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) is the largest insurer of Workers Compensation in New York, with a 31% share of the Workers Compensation insurance market. Nationally, it is the 6th largest provider of Workers Compensation in the United States. Since 1923, NYSIF has been providing Safety Group programs as a way to provide employers in New York with a low risk, fully insured alternative to private insurance carrier plans and self insured trusts. NYSIF currently operates more than 100 Safety Groups and provides Workers Compensation for more than 175,000 employers in New York. Each year, NYSIF Safety Groups return more than $200,000,000 in Dividends to its Safety Group policyholders.
Claims Management & Loss Control Services
To promote the long term sustainability of the program, we have partnered with Keevily, Spero, Whitelaw (Harrison, N.Y.) to provide claims management, cost containment, and accident prevention services. Keevily is one of the largest NYSIF Safety Group managers in New York. For more than 60 years they have managed several NYSIF Safety Groups for the plumbing & heating, electrical, sanitation & recycling, dairy foods and transportation industries.
Keevily brings to the program a proven track record of successfully managing NYSIF Safety Groups and consistently paying Dividends to group members. The services that they provide will include claim reporting, accident investigations, monitoring claim development, fraud prevention, and experience modification reviews. They can also assist with OSHA training and compliance, and Code Rule 59 consulting on risks with adverse loss experience.
Regan Agency, Inc. has been insuring cemeteries in New York for more than 30 years. Since 1998 we have been the exclusive representative of The New York Cemetery Insurance Program (NYCIP), a comprehensive program providing property, liability, equipment, automobile, umbrella, and executive liability coverage’s to cemeteries throughout New York.
The proposed Safety Group is open for business as of June 12, 2012. If you would like more information about the program and how to get involved, please contact Brennan P. Regan at (631) 669-3434, or email@example.com.
Mt. Olivet Cemetery Conducts
On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Oliver Tilden Camp #26, Sons of Union Veterans conducted a headstone dedication for four Civil War soldiers buried in the Cemetery. We thank David Gigler, Superintendent of the cemetery for allowing the camp to mark the graves of our ancestors with new government headstones. Commander George J. Weinmann, presented David Gigler (far left in photo) a 150th Anniversary of the Civil War coin. Thank you David for all the help you provided the camp and the Greenpoint Monitor Museum.
The first meeting to discuss the formation of the cemetery was on March 26, 1850 at the house of James Maurice in Maspeth. It was there that the cemetery name and the first Board of Trustees were selected. The first Trustees were Rev. Samuel Haskins, George Fash, James Maurice, Lawrence Waterbury and Noah Waterbury who became the first president of the cemetery. Mount Olivet Cemetery was incorporated in 1850 under the Rural Cemetery Association Act of 1847 as a nongovernmental supervision, non-religious and private non-sectarian cemetery. An original restriction of having mostly Episcopal Church services was repealed in 1851.
The original land was acquired from George Fash (42 acres), and from the estate of James Waterbury (originally the property of Thomas Hallett). The later parcel of 16 acres was purchased in 1878 and gave the cemetery 360 feet of frontage on Grand Avenue. A later purchase resulted in today’s total acreage of 71 acres.
The cemetery was designed as a “Garden Cemetery” with winding roads and many horticultural specimens. Space was allotted in and around most family lots to allow for landscape planting and a vast variety of trees and shrubs have been planted. The cemetery has a regular tree and shrub pruning program and it plants trees to make up for those lost due to storms, insect or disease damage.
It can only be assumed that the highest point of the cemetery, 165 feet above sea level, was used as a lookout for the “Mespatches” indians. Maspeth, which was formally settled by colonists in 1642 was named for these Indians. The village began with 28 English settlers, mostly of the Quaker religion, as a result of the “Newton Patent” of 1642, which granted over 13,000 acres of land to those wishing to settle and develop what is now western Queens County. The original village developed around Newton Creek, west of the current town.
The original office was located on Brown Place. It was eventually established on Grand Avenue in 1878 after land was purchased giving frontage on the more desirable main street. The current office building was built in 1936. Mount Olivet Cemetery is proud to have on its grounds the Robert J. Marks Post #560 Grand Army of the Republic Lot. Located in the center of the lot is a monument inscribed “Dedicated to the Defenders of the Union”. Buried in the lot are 25 veterans of the Civil War along with 17 wives.
On June 17, 2000, as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Mount Olivet Cemetery, 25 military monuments were replaced and dedicated in memory of the brave men who defended the union. With the assistance of the Sons of Union Veterans, a field mass and unveiling ceremony followed.
Report from the Nominating Committee
The following have been nominated as Officers of the New York State Association of Cemeteries to serve for a one year term from October 2012 to September 2013:
President JoAnne P. Sullivan –
Cemetery of the Highlands, Inc.
1st Vice-President Ray Planell –
The Kensico Cemetery
2nd Vice-President Valerie Newell –
Secretary George Baker –
Webster Union Cemetery
Treasurer Richard J. Moylan –
The Green-Wood Cemetery
In addition, the following have been nominated to the Board of Directors for a three-year term ending September 2015:
G. Richard Bruns – Woodlawn Cemetery
Nathan Romagnola – White Haven Memorial Parks, Inc.
Mitch Rose – The Woodlawn Cemetery
Notice of the Annual Meeting
To all members of the
New York State Association of Cemeteries:
Notice is hereby given that the Annual Meeting of the New York State Association of Cemeteries will be held on October 1, 2012 at 8:30 am at the 2012 Fall Conference at The Gideon Putnam Resort, Saratoga Springs, New York. Notice is further given that, at the Annual Meeting, the members will be asked to approve an increase in annual membership dues.
Welcome New NYSAC Members
Here is a listing of our newest cemeterian members:
Dick Baldwin - West Nanticoke Cemetery Association
L. Kay Wharmby - Village of Fairport
If you would like information about joining the New York State Association of Cemeteries contact our office at (518) 783-1134 or visit our web site at www.nysac.com.