Flower-removal deadline nears

Published 12:49 am Sunday, March 8, 2015

City will remove items at cemeteries after March 16

Families and others are being asked to remove all Christmas flowers and decorations from Oakdale and Cedar Hill cemeteries by March 16.

That request comes from the cemeteries division of the Washington Public Works Department. Any Christmas flowers and decorations not removed by March 16 are subject to removal by city workers March 17.

All other flowers need to be on or near markers or monuments, according to a news release issued by the cemeteries division.

In September, the City Council amended the City Code to specify who is allowed to remove flowers, designs and frames graves in city cemeteries. The change was made in response to city workers having issues with non-immediate family members removing items from gravesites without permission. Revising the City Code is an attempt to define who is allowed to remove items placed at gravesites and discourage such actions from occurring.

With the change in place, cemetery workers are allowed to 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 amended City Code.

Immediate family members and/or the grave owner must give written permission to 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 amended ordinance.




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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