Cremation off the table for county paupers

By Chris Cooper - [email protected]

According to state law, the county cannot cremate individuals who pass away having no family or funds to bury them. Logan County Attorney Joe Ross investigated the options a county has when a pauper dies and the county assumes responsibility. Current county policy includes paying up to $400 to bury the indigent individual, with the donation of plot and opening being donated by the City of Russellville.

Logan County Coroner Mary Givens said cremating would not be an option, after she approached the Logan County Fiscal Court last month with concerns about future space for pauper graves. However, magistrates asked Ross to look into the options.

Right now paupers are buried mostly in Maple Grove Cemetery and sometimes Memoral Gardens Cemetery.

“We have plenty of space in both Maple Grove and Memorial Gardens,” said Kenny Gregory, Facilities Director for the City of Russellville. “We cleared space for 2,000 graves in the past few years. We open approximately 85 each year. I think future space will not be an issue either.”

The City of Russellville owns the warehouses that bump up against Maple Grove Cemetery and those, according to Gregory, were purchased for additional growth.

Two options the county has concerning the death of paupers, said attorney Ross, is burial or donation to a state medical school. Givens said the paper work for the later is very extensive.

With cold weather here, deaths of those who are shut-in and have no one to check on them will rise, said Givens. It is not uncommon during the winter to find a person deceased in their home after several days. The coroner added there are times she cannot reach next-of-kin and immediate action is necessary to handle the body.

By Chris Cooper

[email protected]

To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.

To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.

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