Cost of dying, policing going up in Emo

Emo residents are going to have to dig a little deeper to take care of their departed loved ones from now on.
At its regular meeting last Thursday night, Emo council decided to raise the rates for interment and grave maintenance at the township’s cemetery in order to address increased costs.
The cost of a burial plot for residents will double from the current price of $200 to $400 while the price for non-residents will be based upon the actual cost of the service.
The cost for cremation will increase from $50 to $250 for residents and non-residents alike. In addition, the cost of grave maintenance will quadruple from $25 to $100 per year.
The new rates are to take effect immediately.
Also at last Thursday’s meeting, OPP S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis gave Emo council his semi-annual report on the results of district policing this year.
According to OPP statistics, there were a total of 151 occurrences in the district as of Oct. 1, with a clearance rate of 81 percent. Of these, 22 incidents were cleared by charge.
By contrast, there were 186 occurrences in all of 2003, with a clearance rate of 78 percent. Of these, 25 were cleared by charge.
S/Sgt. Dennis said he expects the 2004 year-end totals to be much the same as last year’s.
The number of motor vehicle accidents in the district also in on a pace to match last year’s totals. S/Sgt. Dennis said there have been 364 accidents to date, resulting in two fatalities.
The total number of accidents in 2003 was 391.
There has been a significant drop in the number of vehicle-animal collisions, however. S/Sgt. Dennis said there were 231 such incidents in 2003, but only 101 as of Oct. 1 this year.
He attributed the drop to a combination of weather conditions more conducive to keeping animals in the bush, as well as a greater degree of awareness and vigilance on the part of drivers.
Also, S/Sgt. Dennis notified council the OPP will be hiring an additional officer Dec. 1, bringing the district’s complement to 52. Four officers currently are on modified duties due to health issues while one will retire at the end of the year.
S/Sgt. Dennis concluded his briefing by telling council Emo’s tab for policing service this year will be about $122,000—up from $100,608 last year—and that it probably will increase again slightly next year.
Prior to delivering his report, S/Sgt. Dennis, along with Emo Reeve Russ Fortier, made a special presentation to two township residents in recognition of their long-standing contributions to crime fighting in the community.
Marion Larson and the late Metta Visser worked for many years as volunteers at the Emo OPP detachment, answering phones and taking care of various administrative functions that otherwise would fall to the police.
Larson still works there, and Visser did so until shortly before her death in 2002. Her husband, Richard, accepted the award on her behalf while Larson accepted hers in person.
A delegation from the Coming Together for Children Coalition—an advocacy group dedicated to providing support to children and families in the community since 1999—also appeared at last Thursday’s council meeting.
Anne Marie Vanderaa and Tannis Fretter presented a case for Emo adopting a Children First Charter—modelled after a similar program proclaimed in Sudbury in 2002.
Vanderaa, a public health nurse with the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, said there is a need for such a program in Emo and the surrounding area.
“There are problems out there and they are growing,” she stressed. “I am currently seeing 22 families, three of them in Emo,” she added.
Vanderaa and Fretter asked Emo council to pass a bylaw endorsing the program and committing the township to providing financial support for needy children as required.
Reeve Fortier thanked the pair for the presentation and expressed his concern for the underprivileged children in the community, but council is taking no further action on the matter for the time being.