Sandy's Blog

Close-up photo of Sandy Ward, February 2013

Sandy Ward, Webmaster 

Welcome to this blog (web log) written by Sandy Ward, President and our new webmaster (2014-). Here you will find brief notices and commentary about items of potential interest to FCAWM members and friends. This blog is intended to supplement, not replace, the News & Events page.  

Click on any of the titles below. The most recent entries are on top.

NPR report

National Public Radio (NPR) aired a two-part program February 7-8 reporting on deceptive pricing in the funeral industry. NPR found …

Direct Cremation


Caitlin Doughty has produced a Youtube video about Direct Cremation, with advice for consumers. This video is part of her "Ask a Mortician" …

Cremation Pricing

The pricing of cremation services is "highly variable" and "misleading" according to a new report released September 12, 2016, by the …

Cremation options

We have revised, again, our handout about local options for cremation services and have chosen cremation as the theme for our next

Death Café in Granby Library

On Tuesday April 26, 2016, over 35 people came to a "Death Café" hosted by the Granby Free Public Library, Granby, MA.  Refreshments …

Mortality

Discussing Mortality:  A Community Conversation

During March and April 2016 many libraries in Franklin and Hampshire Counties are …

Prices hard to get

A joint report prepared by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) documents difficulties …

How Green?

Five (or More) Shades of Green is the topic of our Program on Sunday October 18. Five panelists will discuss environmental aspects …

Wake Up To Dying

Have you heard of the "Wake Up to Dying" project?  One of our volunteers sent in a newspaper clipping describing an exhibit and four-…

State Board welcomes us

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Embalming and Funeral Directing welcomed us today and received our comments about the revision …

Composting

"A Project to Turn Corpses into Compost" is the headline on an article published in the Science section of the New York Times on April …

Rites and Reform

On Saturday March 28 Peter Stefan gave a passionate presentation about the importance of respectful funeral rites for each deceased …

Burial Insurance?

Beware of "Burial insurance" advertisements. Today I received an email with the subject line:  "Get-Low-Cost Burial Insurance: No__…

Create A Great Funeral

October 30 is Create A Great Funeral Day.  Did you know that?  Today is the 15th annual Create a Great Funeral Day.  The idea is to …

Forum

FCAWM hosted an educational forum Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 1:00 - 2:30 pm: Dispelling Myths about Funeral Prepayments, at Rockridge …

Reforms

"Reforms aim to end funeral swindles"  
This headline on the front page of the Daily Hampshire Gazette on September 30 drew attention …

Green Burial film showing

A Will for the Woods
Feature Documentary

"What if our last act could be a gift to the planet – a force for regeneration? Determined …

Befriending Death

Those words, "befriending" and "death," are not usually put together. The phrase sometimes causes startled looks when I mention that …

Discussing options

Talking about end-of-life issues and final arrangements is a healthy process. Getting the conversation started can be tricky, but the …

Prepay? Preneed?

For years consumers advocates have cautioned against paying in advance for funeral arrangements. Pre-planning is highly recommended, …

Nantucket example

I recommend this post on the FCA blog:

Is Nantucket a bellwether for the funeral industry?

"Nantucket citizens deserve praise for ingenuity …

Books on my mind

This morning I opened a new book, which began, "Nobody wants to die badly." I  continued reading for several chapters, delaying my …

Closure of a funeral home

Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley was closed abruptly by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation on May …

Deceptive Ad

[May 2014]  I'm suspicious about a mailing that came to my home recently. It is a very officlal-looking notice titled, "F u n e r a …

Supply & Demand

Conventional funerals run by funeral homes cost thousands of dollars, often $7,000 - $10,000 or higher.  Why are prices so high? One …

Death Certificates, an article

"There is a positively fascinating article on death certificates in the April 7th issue of the New Yorker," wrote Lisa Carlson* in …

MOLST; A Matter of Life & Death

On Tuesday April 1, 6:00pm-7:30pm, MOLST (Massachusetts Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) will be discussed at a community …

FTC pamphets

On March 28 I received a letter from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announcing the availability of updated publications relevant …

Death Cafés

Death Cafés have come to Massachusetts. This movement started in Europe, and now is spreading worldwide. See deathcafe.com. "At a Death …

Welcome!

Welcome!  As Webmaster for FCAWM, I've been contemplating adding a blog (web log) as a quick and easy way to share timely comments …