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Funeral industry enters cyberspace: live online chats

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Toronto Star
Ontario, Canada
Wed Jan 12 2011

Ever had a question about caskets or cremation but were afraid to ask?

Walking into a funeral home to plan a loved one’s service can be a traumatic experience for grieving relatives.

A new offering from a Mississauga (Ontario)-based online discount funeral company aims to make the experience easier to handle. recently began offering live online chats with funeral directors. The free service is available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is staffed by 2-5 funeral directors at any given time.
Read the full article in the Toronto Star


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The Ten Companies That Control The Death Industry

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24/7 Wall St
January 13, 2011

Death in America is a $15 billion a year industry. That includes funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries, but excludes related costs such as headstones and crypts. It is expensive to die in the United States. The average cost of a funeral is $7,323, according to The National Funeral Directors Association. The addition of flowers and a burial plot raises that number closer to $9,000. Almost 2.5 million people died in the United States in 2008, and 1.8 million of these bodies were placed into coffins that were sold.
Last Updated ( Friday, 14 January 2011 12:36 ) Read more...

Olivia Clark Lives One Hour, Taxed $50 for Death; King County (WA) Says It Needs the Money (Video)

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Seattle Weekly
Tue, Jan 11 2011

While you were busy living, the King County Medical Examiner's office was quietly adding $50 to your tab for dying. As John Eric Rolfstad says of the cash-strapped county's new death tax, "This is clearly a case of trying to balance the budget on the backs of the bereaved." The executive director of People's Memorial Association, which specializes in cremations, notes there was already a $50 tax on cremations, but as of January 1 the county extended it to burials as well. Among the first hit with the tax was a baby who lived merely one hour.
Read the full article and see video [2 min 30 sec] at Seattle Weekly

Family grieves for murdered son, and now his accidental cremation

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The Times-Picayune
New Orleans
January 12, 2011

When Michelle Bias-Sullivan left her house in the Riverbend neighborhood last Tuesday night, her son Ralph Bias, 20, was playing a video game.

"I said, 'I'm going to bingo, Ralph. I'll be back,'" she said.

Those turned out to be her last words to him. He was killed the next day in a drive-by shooting on the Pontchartrain Expressway.

Organ Donors - The Last Gift

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January 10, 2011
Whether or not to become an organ donor is something most people will consider in their lifetimes. However, that decision may not always be made before death. At that point, it is left up to the family of the deceased.
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