WBEZ | burials http://www.wbez.org/tags/burials Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pastors protest Illinois cut to burials for poor http://www.wbez.org/story/pastors-protest-illinois-cut-burials-poor-88749 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-05/AP11021718140.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group of Chicago pastors is protesting cuts to a $15 million state program that pays for funerals and burials for the poor.&nbsp;</p><p>Pastors United for Change says the program pays funeral homes and cemeteries when families on public aid can't afford the cost.&nbsp;</p><p>The Rev. Roosevelt Watkins of Bethlehem Star Church says Gov. Pat Quinn should use discretionary money to help fund the program.&nbsp;</p><p>The Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church predicts "a national embarrassment" if bodies pile up "in President Barack Obama's home state."</p><p>Cook County pays for the mass burial of unclaimed bodies. But the pastors say the county doesn't pay for funerals and can't afford to pay for any more burials.</p></p> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 18:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/pastors-protest-illinois-cut-burials-poor-88749 Archaeologists find more improper burials at Burr Oak Cemetery http://www.wbez.org/story/archaeologists-uncover-more-bodies-burr-oak-84016 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-21/P1010211.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A new report finds conditions at a south suburban cemetery are worse than expected.<br />&nbsp;<br />Archaeologists examined Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip. That&rsquo;s where Cook County Sheriff&rsquo;s officials in 2009 uncovered an alleged scheme in which workers dug up graves and resold the plots.<br /><br />In a letter to the sheriff&rsquo;s office, archaeologists report bodies were buried in a Burr Oak corner thought to be unused. Officials had thought the corner could be used for new burials, but Sheriff Tom Dart said Monday the archaeologists found bones and pieces of burnt coffins in an area of the graveyard thought to be available for new graves.<br /><br />Dart said he thinks up to 600 bodies could be improperly buried in that section &mdash; double what he had estimated.<br /><br />&ldquo;That area, as we had said, frankly, a year and a half ago, needs to be treated as a memorial,&rdquo; Dart told reporters. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s exactly what needs to be done here. No one in good conscious can go out there and attempt to bury people there.&rdquo;<br /><br />Dart said he doesn&rsquo;t know why some of the coffin pieces were burnt.<br /><br />He said Burr Oak is at capacity.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s our hope that this report, once and for all, makes clear that if you dig at any level in these areas, you&rsquo;re going to find human bones, pieces of coffins and God knows what else,&rdquo; Dart said in a written statement.<br /><br />The cemetery is going through bankruptcy and trying to find a new owner. A lawyer for the company overseeing Burr Oak said Dart&rsquo;s claims were inaccurate, but he wouldn&rsquo;t comment further.<br /><br />Meanwhile, four Burr Oak workers face charges of criminal wrongdoing. All four remain free on bond while awaiting trial.</p></p> Mon, 21 Mar 2011 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/archaeologists-uncover-more-bodies-burr-oak-84016