Letter to the Editor 03/29/12
OAK RIDGE FINANCES
For this reason alone, there should not be differing laws governing municipal, religious and privately held cemeteries. [ See “Buried: Oak Ridge Cemetery has serious financial problems,” by Bruce Rushton, March 22.] For some reason, municipal and religious cemeteries have been given a legal pass where perpetual/endowment care fund accounts are handled. This is a prime example why those laws are bad ideas, and the playing field needs to be leveled.
Private owners in your geography have gone to prison for messing with the principle of those accounts, and private cemetery companies are required under the laws to invest those funds in low-risk accounts, through their third party trustees.
I find it interesting in this article where the new executive director acknowledges this, but the former directors still misappropriated those funds. Now the taxpayers may be on the hook? And in this article there is mention there may be no fraud or illegal activities going on?
Why is it illegal for the private sector but not the government sector? Families are still negatively impacted, taxpayers are still negatively impacted; but because this is municipal it’s supposedly okay? There is nothing about this that is right. If they have begun the draining of those accounts to pay the day to day operations, they probably have other problems present not reported here. And possibly not even known to them. What a shame they use the cremation rate and drop in plot sales as the excuse. Other cemeteries around the country are finding ways to raise their revenue streams in light of these circumstances. What is this cemetery’s excuse for not investigating better uses of their property and forward looking offerings to insure the future?
Cemetery Operations Solutions (www.cemops.com)
When the news hit the national media about “pink slime,” the meat industry was up in arms defending their slop. Unfortunately, consumers were really never made aware of “pink slime” that’s added to ground meat. It is “lean, finely textured beef,” industry folks claim. “It’s 100 percent beef” a company spokesman preaches, “… we feel that when people can start to understand the truth and reality then our business will come back.” What consumer is foolish enough to buy this stuff now?
Another industry leader continues to regurgitate the industry’s rhetoric in defending the product by arguing that it’s unconscionable that a federal microbiologist and food activists call the stuff “pink slime.” He actually has the guts (pun intended) to describe it as healthy, nutritional ground meat. Since it’s laced with ammonia hydroxide and it’s so wholesome, then he and the rest of the meat industry leaders can eat this refuse.
National grocery chains immediately announced that they were dropping “pink slime.” But in Springfield, where there are three regional chain grocery stores, not one of them has yet to announce that it no longer will sell this so-called wholesome ground meat. What’s the holdup?
SCHOOLS NOT WORKING
New schools are not the answer – look at the success at Ball Charter [see “Elevating education: Can Springfield turn around its languishing public schools?” by Patrick Yeagle, March 22]. The district needs to search out a leader with a record of success. Milton failed in Michigan and has had enough time. If you talk to teachers, he has lost their confidence while keeping 90 adminstrators on the payroll, each paid more than $100,000 a year. Building new schools to pay back union favors is not helping to raise test scores.
The district is broke and they will soon need more money to keep doing what has not worked. It is past time to pull the plug on $200 million a year that is not working.