Vernon briefs

Can you dig it? Not in Vernon...

VERNON — VERNON - Board Chair Christiane Howe recently asked Assistant Town Clerk Nancy Gassett if “people out there” were really digging their own graves.

Howe posed this query to Gassett when the latter appeared before the Selectboard at their October 19 meeting to ask the board to make a motion prohibiting people from burying their dead on their own.

Apparently, some locals who have their loved ones cremated are taking it upon themselves to bury the ashes without a permit.

Because cremation urns are easier to bury than caskets, Gassett said, “they think, 'Oh well, I'll just go dig a hole.' Some of them are burying in the wrong places, and it's causing problems.”

Gassett said some of the unauthorized burials are happening in the town cemeteries. She said that even though the burials might take place in a family plot, mistakes are easy to make without using town cemetery maps, and “it's causing problems.”

She did not attribute malicious intent to the cemetery scofflaws. “I think it's innocent,” Gassett said.

Still, she recommends the bereaved hire a gravedigger who can file the necessary permits and act within burial regulations. The cost one local gravedigger charges for burials, she said, is about $125, and that is for cremations or caskets.

“People need to realize” you cannot bury a body without a permit, Gassett said, even on a plot “you think you own.”

After a brief discussion, Howe declared, “it is the consensus of the board that no one should bury their own family member [or] loved ones... on their own.

“The cemetery committee will put in their rules that this will no longer be allowed,” she added.

Howe sets boundaries

VERNON - “A couple of department heads” recently expressed to Selectboard Chair Christiane Howe that they “have been approached about their budgets while they were with their families,” she announced at the Oct. 19 board meeting.

Howe suspects this has happened more times than she has been made aware.

“I'd like to ask you for them: talk to them during business hours,” she said, requesting members of the public not try to conduct official business with department heads “when they have time off.”

“Just let them be with their families,” she added.

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