Traffic signal may be removed

Published 6:22 pm Friday, September 5, 2014

During its meeting Monday, the Washington City Council is scheduled to consider amending the City Code to specify who is allowed to remove flowers, designs and frames graves in city cemeteries.

“Cemetery staff has recently had issues with non-immediate family members removing items from grave sites without permission. This revised ordinance is an attempt to define who is allowed to remove items placed at grave sites and hopefully discourage such actions from taking place in the future,” reads a memorandum from Public Works Director Allen Lewis to the mayor and council.

Under the proposed amendment, cemetery staff would remove and dispose of all flowers, designs and frames from graves within 30 days (or earlier if natural flowers deteriorate).

“The immediate family and/or cemetery staff are the only persons allowed to remove flowers, designs and frames from a grave,” reads the proposed amendment.

If the amendment is adopted, immediate family members and/or the grave owner must receive written permission from the city’s general services supervisor (or that person’s designee) to allow others (friends or florists) to remove and dispose of flowers, designs or frames from burial plots. Removal of those items without permission will be considered desecration of a grave and punishable by a court of law, according to the memorandum.

Also on Monday, the council is expected to consider removing the traffic signal at the intersection of West Martin Luther King Drive and Gladden Street.

To remove the traffic signal, the council would have to adopt an amendment to chapter 18 of the City Code, which addresses locations of traffic signals and stop signs.

“The traffic signal at Martin Luther King Drive and Gladden Street has been on ‘flash’ for several years now. Some time ago, the signal pole in the northwest quadrant of the intersection was apparently struck by a motor vehicle. In the last few months, this pole appears to have starting leaning out over the intersection more from the crease in the pole by the accident,” reads a memorandum from Allen Lewis, the city’s public-works director, to Mayor Mac Hodges and the council. “Since the signal has been on flash for such a long period of time and the pole is damaged, staff recommends that this signal be removed.”

Stop signs are in place on Gladden Street at Martin Luther King Drive (formerly West Fourth Street).

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web-site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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