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Adams' Bellevue Cemetery Still Has Storage Needs

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission will look into buying an additional shed for cold storage.
 
Chairman Bruce Shepley told the commission on Thursday that even though they have decided to go forward with the $100,000 Bellevue Cemetery garage project, the Department of Public Works still has storage needs.
 
"I guess it was an oversight on our behalf," he said. "We are losing the cold storage and there is equipment that needs to be stored."
 
Currently, there is a white shed at Bellevue that serves this purpose but is on the verge of falling down. Shepley added that the shed is not secure and has recently been broken in to.
 
"We are losing that shed and it is falling down," he said. "There have been a few incidents there, too, of batteries and fuel being stolen from the equipment."
 
Shepley said the DPW will round up some estimates for the commission but that where the funding will come from to purchase the shed is still a mystery.
 
In other business, the commission may eliminate Saturday afternoon burials. 
 
"The bottom line is I think it does need to be addressed," Shepley said. "The DPW has been working very short staffed and they do everything ... 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, this is one more responsibility that has to happen on occasion." 
 
Shepley said many surrounding communities do not allow Saturday afternoon burials or discourage them. He said some towns charge extra for these weekend burials and noted Clarksburg charges $850 for a Saturday afternoon.
 
The commissioners were against adding a fee to the Saturday burials but felt it was acceptable to add a cut-off time.
 
Commissioner Jim Taylor suggested a cut off time of 11 a.m. for full Saturday burials and noon for cremation burials. 
 
"Because it takes longer to open a full grave and this way you would still be out by noon," he said. "A full burial takes much longer to tidy up. Cremation is easy."
 
He added that he thinks the commission should still be open to unexpected circumstances that may cause a burial to run late.
 
"In case of a hardship, we have to have something for unforeseen circumstances," he said. "Like a flat tire on a hearse or something like that."
 
Shepley said he will look up how many Saturday afternoon burials the town usually conducts a year and that he would get some feedback from the local funeral homes.
 
Shepley said he would like to make a decision next meeting.
 
Before closing, Shepley responded to some comments he saw on social media about dogs defecating in Bellevue Cemetery.
 
"I have not seen people in the cemetery with the dogs, but we are certainly empowered to tell them they can't do that," he said. "But I am not sure it's a problem."
 
Shepley said no one has complained to the office directly. 
 
The commission also reorganized and elected Shepley as chairman.

Tags: bellevue cemetery,   burials,   cemetery commission,   

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