Bougie Soaps & DNA Dupes | 4M #20
Welcome to the twentieth edition of Morticians’ Monday Morning Mashup, where we’ll serve up bite-sized, easily-digestible nuggets of the deathcare news you need to crush conversations in the week ahead. Bon appetit!
#ThanksSunsetMesa (and We Mean That Sarcastically)
Colorado lawmakers have proposed a bill that will allow regulators to inspect funeral homes and crematories unannounced, and without the owner’s consent, if they receive a complaint about the business. Granted, Colorado has no funeral director licensing requirement, and the state is known to have some of the most lax deathcare regulations in the country. However, the 99% of deathcare professionals who are doing the right thing under the current regs can thank that 1% for these measures — namely bad players like Sunset Mesa, whose owner and her mother were indicted in 2020 on felony charges of illegally selling bodies and body parts.
The Horrific Hits Just Keep Coming in Akron
You guys know that everything you do in relation to the final disposition of a loved one is sacred, heartfelt, and extremely important to a family. So, as you well know, the consequences of any sort of slip-up can be devastating and have long-lasting, rippling effects. This is the case in Akron, Ohio, where the cremains of 90 people were found in an abandoned church formerly pastored by Shawnte Hardin, who practiced deathcare without a license.
Authorities are trying to reunite the remains with families, but some families are claiming they’d already received what they thought were the cremains of their loved ones. Some are demanding that the state perform DNA tests to determine who’s who — but as you know, the jury’s still out on whether DNA is detectable in cremains. The overwhelming verdict is that if a cremation is done correctly, there will be no DNA remaining in bones or teeth — which is where a bevy of companies on the internet are claiming they can extract DNA. These families need a break from their suffering, and a reprieve from all these shady characters! First Hardin, now DNA testing companies eager to take their money.
Maybe They Need a Financing Plan With E-Z Payments?
Funeral directors in one Michigan county are struggling with collections issues … but it’s not the families they serve who aren’t paying. No, according to a recent news item, Saginaw County owes the Michigan Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine (MIFSM) more than $100,000 in past due fees. Since they aren’t getting paid, MIFSM has stopped serving funeral homes in the county. They’re “withholding services like cremation permits, death certificates, autopsies and more” until they are paid what they’re due. Although the county is defending their decision not to pay, saying they’re in the process of terminating their relationship with MIFSM. It’s a convoluted story, but once again, the deathcare professionals and the families they serve are innocent victims of the bureaucratic debate.
Would You Like Some Artisanal Lavender Soap to Go With That Cremation?
In the past few weeks you may have seen a few stories about Sparrow, a new contemporary funeral home in Brooklyn. It’s a beautiful place, with lots of natural light and soothing wall murals. Co-owner Erica Hill says she’s aware that critics have called Sparrow a “hipster funeral home” that has “gentrified death,” but she believes Sparrow will serve an audience “that’s thinking about death differently.” To get the community talking about Sparrow and hopefully planning their own last rites, Hill is using a portion of her establishment as a gift shop that sells “rose-scented ‘body milk,’ sandalwood diffusers, greeting cards, and incense holders.” We’ll stay tuned to see how well this strategy works. Could bougie gift shops be the next in-house coffee/flower shop or speakeasy memorial room?
Fake news, misinformation, opposing viewpoints, call it whatever you want- it’s everywhere! In fact, we’ve even heard people say, “live streaming funeral services is so difficult!”
Well well well, Get some mustard and a little bit of bread, cause that’s bologna!
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