Category Archives: New York State Department of Health

Follow-up Report: Coeymans Raccoon Incident. We still have our doubts!

Please Note: On Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 7 p.m. the Town of Coeymans will hold it’s Town Board Meeting. We have information that residents, citizens and animal organizations will address the board about the conduct of the Coeymans Police and what the Town of Coeymans is going to do about it. Be there. Make your voice heard! Or at least just show up to learn what the community has to say!

The Town of Coeymans Police Department continues to be the subject of widespread interest following the ugly display of unprofessional conduct and stupidity last Monday, March 12, when Coeymans Police responded to an animal control call and proceeded to provide a sickening circus freak show performance as they pursued a raccoon in their patrol cars (one marked, another unmarked), finally running down the terrified animal and running over it. All of this happened in the pothole-rich parking lot of the Ravena Shop’n Save (Village of Ravena, Town of Coeymans), after a call from the CVS Pharmacy that a raccoon had “tried to enter the building.”

After one courageous residents, Ms Bryana Catucci, and several other witnesses videoed the Coeymans Police yahoos and the termination of the terrified animal, those videos went viral on several Internet sites, including Facebook and YouTube, and the Smalbany blog published a detailed and informative article on the incident. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society voiced their outrage and condemnation of the Coeymans Police actions.

To give you an idea of how outraged people are about this incident, just one site, Care2 Petitions, has more than 72,000 signatures, more than 8,000 signers in NY state alone, condemning the Coeymans Police! To give you an idea of how many people 72,000+ is, it’s 9x the entire population of the Township of Coeymans!!! What does that tell you, dear readers?

The Coeymans Police have no up-to-date procedure for dealing with animal control issues. The town of Coeymans has no Animal Control Officer. The New York State Department of Health report on tests done on the animal sounds bogus!

I can’t believe my eyes!!! I can’t believe their horrible conduct!!! I can’t believe the lies!!!

Almost immediately following the incident, Smalbany blog contibutors filed a demand under the provisions of the New York state Public Officers Law, Article 6 Sections 84-90 Freedom of Information Law (N.Y. Pub. Off. Law Sees. 84 to 99) for the production of documents with the Coeymans Town Clerk and the Coeymans Police Department, demanding information related to the March 12, 2018, incident in which the Coeymans Police Department used police vehicles to harrass, terrorize and kill a raccoon in front of dozens of witnesses at Faith Plaza in Ravena, New York (Town of Coeymans, in the jurisdiction of the Albany County District Attorney, P. David Soares).

Initial Information Provided by the Coeymans Police Department (acting police chief Daniel Contento (SGT)) and the news media were contradictory and confused. We decided to get the facts.

One glaring fact is that the Coeymans Police protect their own. They delete any references to the officer’s involved or anyone involved. Do you think that’s fair play? If you were picked up by the police, your face and name would be plastered all over the police blotter and the local news media. Why are the police and their cronies so protective? Aren’t they public servants, paid by us? Don’t we have a right to know which ones are bonkers and which ones are not?

The Town of Coeymans responded with the usual halfwit evasive answers but provided two important documents: the Testing Report No. RAB18ANI01172-SR-1 from the NYS Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, and an extract from what appears to be an ancient “Coeymans Police and Ravena Police Law Enforcement Manual, Administration (in the following called the PLEM/A),” Section 46.0, Subject: Animal Control/Rabies.” the Coeymans Police Department. We say “ancient” because this section dates back to October 15, 1998 — it’s almost 20 years old and hasn’t been revised, updated, or replaced — and refers to “Village of Ravena Police,” which hasn’t existed for years, and is signed by former Police Chief Scott Geroux!

Furthermore, the entire procedure repeatedly refers to the Animal Control Officer and how the police have to notify the Animal Control Officer for assistance when dealing with an animal control issue.  According to the Law Enforcement Manual:

Coeymans Police Department Procedures date back almost 20 years without revision!!!

“46.2.1 The Animal Control Officer (ACO) is a civilian employee of the Police Department. The ACO is responsible for responding to and mitigating incidents and complaints relating to domestic and wild animals.
If the local Animal Control Officer is unavailable, the procedure requires the Coeymans Police to notify an animal control officer from a nearby jurisdiction. Again, according to the Law Enforcement Manual: Request the response of the ACO to the scene whenever available. If the case requires the immediate attention of the ACO, that information shall be relayed to the ACO. If he is still unavailable to respond an ACO from another jurisdiction shall be requested.”

Town of Coeymans PD: “The Town of Coeymans does not have an Animal Control Officer.”

The problem that we have identified in this entire Keystone Cops episode is that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department are about 20 years behind. You see, according to a certified statement provided by the Town of Coeymans, “The Town of Coeymans does not have an animal control officer.”

Well if the Town of Coeymans has no animal control officer, then the entire 1998 procedure allegedly followed by the Coeymans Police Department is absolutely useless, out of date, and a sham!!! In other words, the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines for handling this type of situation.

The Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department have no up-to-date guidelines

[Editor’s Note: We have considerable information that shows that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department Law Enforcement Manual is out-of-date and obsolete in several other areas, including How to handle a traffic stop!!!]

The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans


Coeymans Police on Pussy Patrol.
Did you know that cats are the domestic animals most at risk for rabies?

But this whole hullabaloo is NOT about whether an animal was sick or not. The basic issue is leadership and how law enforcement functions or does not function in the Town of Coeymans. There is no leadership in the Town of Coeymans or the Town of Coeymans PD.. The Coeymans Police Department is dysfunctional. That’s the question that is driving most people crazy right about now. Then there’s the question of how the Coeymans Police abused and tortured a defenseless animal using their patrol cars. Anyone with half a brain would have been able to figure a reasonable and safe procedure for dealing with an animal threat, if there was one, and there was none.  Just view the videos and all you’ll see is a normal appearing raccoon, terrified, running for its life and two Coeymans cop cars racing back and forth. Any sane person would, as most of the witnesses did, that the cops were a greater threat to the public’s safety than a terrified animal trying to escape them!!!

Well, we also have a copy of the Department of Health (DoH) test report done on what was left of the raccoon after the Coeymans Police had their perverse jollies. The DoH report is apparently written by a halfwit chimp. Here’s why:

First of all the report does indicate that the raccoon showed evidence of rabies infection. The report did not say that the animal was capable of infecting another animal or harming a human being. Information obtained by us from the CDC clearly states that the animal is infectious only in the very late stages of the disease, shortly before the disease kills the animal. At that late stage the animal’s brain is so far gone that the animal’s behavior is obvious: it acts like it’s drunk, it loses its balance, it staggers, it is confused. Again, the videos show none of this; in fact, the animal looks pretty coordinated as it’s running across the Faith Plaza parking lot!

Some sections of the report make it look like it’s been jerry rigged to provide the Coeymans Police with an alibi. Here are just a couple of examples taken directly from the DoH report:


Who made these observations? Do the Coeymans Police have veterinary neurological training that made it possible for them to have decided that the unfortunate animal had a “neurological disorder?” They also note in the report that the animal was “moving abnormally, shaking.” Well, first of all, the DoH was unable to make those determinations because the animal was d-e-a-d, pancaked by the Coeymans Cops. So where did this information come from? Hearsay? The Coeymans PD?

Here’s more of the gibberish in the report:

“Comments: Observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena. Killed by running over with car by Officer [Redacted] of the Coeymans Police Department (…No reported contact. Rabies test need before further testing.”

The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it!

Again, we have the DoH sockpuppets repeating what the Coeymans PD was insisting but didn’t have a factual basis to make the statements. The raccoon was “observed acting sick at the CVS in Ravena.” Sick? Curious? Hungry? If an 8th grade science student made these statements, we’d send him or her for remedial help! But that’s in an official report. Hearsay! Not facts! The only animals acting sick were the Coeymans cops who tortured the animal and killed it by “running over [it] with car by Officer [his name is deleted from the report!].” What’s disturbing is not only the unsubstantiated statements but the fact that there was  “no contact reported.” According to the report, the animal made no contact with anyone!!!

After all is said and done, the report reads:

“Rabies testing: Evidence of Rabies was found by the fluorescent antibody test.”

The report is again incomplete because it doesn’t state which fluorescent antibody test was used. That information is very important in terms of whether the test is accurate. Furthermore, for scientific and epidemiological reasons the information provided is incomplete and practically useless! Again, whether this is the truth or not, the test results came fully 24 hours after the incident, and cannot provide any justification or support for the Coeymans Police stupidity.

Just by way of comment, the report concludes with the statement:

“Notes: [1] Submitting county was phoned with positive results. Reported to Marsha at 10:32 a.m. by JJ.”

What in hell does that mean? Who in hell is Marsha? Who in hell is JJ? But that’s supposed to be an official report from the NYS DoH in response to a serious incident. Don’t we have any standards at all in this community, in this state? Or are all of our public servants halfwits and dumbasses? We think you know the answer to that question already.

So, dear readers, you have the state of affairs in the Town of Coeymans: Useless and outdated procedures no one has had any interest in updating or revising, a team of goons who have no leadership or guidance, disgraceful and despicable conduct by local law enforcement, a very questionable report from a New York State department tasked with ensuring the public’s health, and another negative report gone viral about the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department. But you must admit, they are consistent, even in making complete asses of themselves.

We are making the documents provided by the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department available for your entertainment. Please note that the Town of Coeymans and the Coeymans Police Department refused to provide some documents, including the names of the Coeymans PD employees involved in the incident. They also have no records about callers reporting the animal, although acting Coeymans police chief, Daniel Contento (SGT), made public statements that “numerous calls” were received (but not by the Coeymans PD, since their listed number goes to Albany County 911). We verified only one 911 call about the raccoon. That call was allegedly from someone at or in the CVS pharmacy at Faith Plaza. We do know of numerous calls received by the Albany County 911 Center complaining about the conduct of the Coeymans Police. Maybe those are the calls Contento is referring to.

If you are interested in viewing/downloading the Coeymans Police 1998 procedure and the NYS DoH Test Report we refer to above, here are the links:

  • You can view the Town of Coeymans and Ravena Police Department Law Enforcement Manual dated October 15, 2018 here.
  • You can view the New York State Department of Health Report here.

Editor’s Notes

As we mentioned above and as we published in our initial article on this incident, “We are speechless! OMG! Coeymans Police Caught on Video Again!” we obtained our information on rabies from several official sources. One of them was the Centers for Disease Control, the federal government’s department for disease control, prevention, and reporting. Here’s some additional information of interest:

According to the CDC, in the period of 2008-2017, a total of 23 human rabies cases were reported in the United States; most of the infections were acquired outside of the United States, most from animal bites in such places as Afghanistan, India, Mexico, etc. On average there are 1-3 cases/year of human rabies reported in the United States . (Source, CDC: Compare that with 90 motor vehicle caused deaths each day in the United States (CDC statistics are always 3 yeas behind; in 2015 there were a total of 37,757 deaths in motor vehicle accidents (11.7/100,000 population) Source, CDC:

Given those statistics, where to you suppose our law enforcement efforts should be concentrated? On a raccoon or on motor vehicles?


  • Transmission of rabies virus usually begins when infected saliva of a rabid animal is passed to an uninfected animal. The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected host. ( Source, CDC:
  • Other contact, such as petting a rabid animal or contact with the blood, urine or feces of a rabid animal, does not constitute an exposure. (Source, CDC:
  • From numerous studies conducted on rabid dogs, cats, and ferrets, we know that when the rabies virus is introduced into a muscle through a bite from another animal, it travels from the site of the bite to the brain by moving within nerves. The animal does not appear ill during this time.
  • The time between the bite and the appearance of symptoms is called the incubation period and it may last for weeks to months. A bite by the animal during the incubation period does not carry a risk of rabies because the virus has not yet made it to the saliva.

According to the CDC, the Infectious Path of the Rabies Virus can be outlined as follows:

  • An animal is bitten by a rabid animal.
  • Rabies virus from the infected saliva enters the wound.
  • Rabies virus travels through the nerves to the spinal cord and brain. This process can last approximately 3 to 12 weeks. The animal has no signs of illness during this time.

A diagnosis of rabies can be made after detection of rabies virus from any part of the affected brain, but in order to rule out rabies, the test must include tissue from at least two locations in the brain, preferably the brain stem and cerebellum. [Editor’s Note: The NYS DoH report is incomplete in this respect because it does not state what parts of the animal’s brain were tested!!!]

The test requires that the animal be euthanized. The test itself takes about 2 hours, but it takes time to remove the brain samples from an animal suspected of having rabies and to ship these samples to a state public health or veterinary diagnostic laboratory for diagnosis. [Editor’s Note:  the test requires that the animal be euthanized, killed humanely and mercifully, not terrorized and run over!!!]

In the United States, the results of a rabies test are typically available within 24 to 72 hours after an animal is collected and euthanized. (Source, CDC:

When it reaches the brain, the virus multiplies rapidly and passes to the salivary glands. The animal begins to show signs of the disease. The infected animal usually dies within 7 days of becoming sick. (Source, CDC:

(Please check out the references on our original article for more information on rabies.)


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Posted by on March 19, 2018 in 19th Congressional District, 19th Congressional District, 20th Congressional District, Abuse of Power, Accountability, Acting Police Chief, Albany, Albany County District Attorney, Albany County Sheriff Department, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Anger, Animal Abuse, Animal Cruelty, Animal cruelty, Animal Rights, ASPCA, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Blog, Blogger, Bob Freeman, Bryanna Catucci, Bully Cops, Capital District, Coeymanazis, Coeymans, Coeymans Acting Police Chief, Coeymans Police Department, Coeymans Town Attorney, Coeymans Town Board, Coeymans Town Board Meeting, Coeymans Town Clerk, Columbia-Greene Media, Committee on Open Government, Craig D. Apple Sr., Cruelty to animals, Daily Mail, Daniel Contento, Daniel Contento, Dawn LaMountain, Dawn LaMountain, DEC, Demand for Resignation, Demand for Termination, Department of Environmental Conservation, Dick Touchette, Eliminate Coeymans Police Department, FaceBook, Facebook, Faith Plaza, Freedom of Information Law, Friendship Animal Protective League, George Amadore, George Dardiani, Greene County News, Hal Warner, Harold Warner, Humane Society of the United States, Incompetence, James Youmans, Jim Youmans, Joe Stanzione, Joe Tanner, John B. Johnson, John Faso, Johnson Newspaper Group, Joseph Stanzione, Joseph Tanner, Kerry Thompson, Law Enforcement, Mark Vinciguerra, Mercy for Animals, Misconduct, Moose Misuraca, Nancy Biscone-Warner, Nancy Warner, New York, New York State, New York State Department of Health, News and Information Media, News Channel 10, News Channel 13, News Channel 6, News Herald, North Shore Animal League America, NYS Assembly, NYS Senate, NYSDOH, Office of the Attorney General, Official Misconduct, P. David Soares, Paul Courcelle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Pete Lopez, Peter J. McKenna, Peter Mckenna, Police Incompetence, Police Thugs, Public Safety, Ravena Shop'n Save, Richard Touchette, Rick Touchette, Robert J. Freeman, Robert J. Freeman, Ryan Johnson, Scott Giroux, Steve Prokrym, The Daily Mail, Times Union, Times Union Blogs, Todd Polverelli, Tom Dolan, Town Clerk, Town of Coeymans, Town of New Baltimore, Wadsworth Center, William Bailey, William Misuraca


The Greed and Insanity of the American Funeral Industry: Dissolving your dead.

Editor’s Forward

From Deathcare Professional to Disposal Professional

At some point in time, the American funeral director has gone from deathcare professional to disposal professional. It’s really gotten out of hand and it’s time the American people started thinking better about themselves and started telling the government and the corporations to stop treating us like so much municipal waste. This doesn’t happen without the involvement of legislators and government. If funeral directors are forced into providing an immoral but legal service, who’s to blame them? We can boycott them and refuse to use them, and send our loved ones to someone who can treat them with human dignity. It’s our choice and we’d better start thinking about it before someone else makes the choices for us. This new movement in the funeral industry is just disgusting!

The Editor

Excerpt from the article by
Republished with Permission of the Author
Rev. Ch. Harold W. Vadney, BA, [MA], MDiv
Interfaith Bereavement Chaplain/Thanatologist

Dissolve and Flush: Funeralized Alkaline Hydrolysis.

The Newest Technology for Disposing of Dead Human Beings.

In the West, interment, inhumation, entombment have been the traditional  methods of disposing of dead human bodies, that is, prior to the late 19th century with the revival of cremation as an alternative. Until about 1880, cremation was anathema, unless, occasionally, at times of extraordinarily large numbers or dead, such as during war time, during epidemics, or following natural disasters, mass graves or incineration of the corpses was preferred to avoid further catastrophe in terms of public health. Fire cremation was revived in the West as a quasi-pagan option attributed to non-Christian freethinkers and masons or simply to anti-social elements but then took a different tack by appealing to the public health and environmentally conscious elements in conventional society. Today, economic concerns both consumer and industrial take precedence. The dominant market economies in the industrialized West, particularly in the USA, UK, and some Western European countries, as well as the insatiable appetite of post-modern, post-Christian cultures for novelty and individualism, have left the door ajar for the entry into the funeralization professions of an industrialized process called alkaline hydrolysis (AH), an industrial process invented in the late 19th century as a way of dissolving in strong chemicals farm animal waste for use as fertilizer.[1]

“Omnes homines terra et cinis” Sirach 12:32
[“All human beings are earth and ashes”]

In a particularly beautiful description of how the pre-Vatican II Church thought of the human being, and in poetry that was possible only in a more sensitive epoch of human history, one reads:[2]

“The old Church holds on to her dead with eternal affection. The dead body is the body of her child. It is sacred flesh. It has been the temple of a regenerated soul. She blessed it in baptism, poured the saving waters on its head, anointed it with holy oil on breast and back, put the blessed salt on its lips, and touched its nose and ears in benediction when it was only the flesh of a babe; and then, in growing youth, reconsecrated it by confirmation; and, before its dissolution in death, she again blessed and sanctified its organs, its hands and its feet, as well as its more important members. Even after death she blesses it with holy water, and incenses it before her altar, amid the solemnity of the great sacrifice of the New Law, and surrounded by mourners who rejoice even in their tears, for they believe in the communion of saints, and are united in prayer with the dead happy in heaven, as well as with those who are temporarily suffering in purgatory. The old Church, the kind old mother of regenerated humanity, follows the dead body of her child into the very grave. She will not throw it into the common ditch, or into unhallowed ground; no, it is the flesh of her son. She sanctifies and jealously guards from desecration the spot where it is to rest until the final resurrection; and day by day, until the end of the world, she thinks of her dead, and prays for them at every Mass that is celebrated; for, even amid the joys of Easter and of Christmas, the memento for the dead is never omitted from the Canon. She even holds annually a solemn feast of the dead, the day after “All Saints,” in November, when the melancholy days are on the wane, the saddest of the year, and the fallen leaves and chilly blasts presage the season of nature’s death.”[3]

The Church of bygone days frequently used prose poetically and quoted liberally from the Church Fathers and even from the ancient philosophers and historiographers like Plato, Seneca, Socrates, Cicero many of whom, though pre-Christian, did not eschew the notion of the immortal soul.  St Augustine writes, “We should not despise nor reject the bodies of the dead; especially we should respect the corpses of the just and the faithful, which the Spirit hath piously used as instruments and vessels in the doing of good works…for those bodies are not mere ornaments but pertain to the very nature of humankind.”[4]

Cremation made an occasional appearance in isolated periods of Western history or in outlier regions where Christianity had not yet attained dominance; cremation was largely associated with non-Christian, pagan cultures.

In the East, in places where Hinduism and Buddhism had a firm foothold, cremation was and continues to be the norm. In some geographical areas such as in parts of Tibet, where the ground is unfavorable to interment and wood is a scarce and valuable resource, exposure of the corpse or dismemberment of the corpse and consumption by carrion-eating birds, so-called sky-burial or, in its form where the dismembered corpse is cast into a fiver for consumption by fishes, water burial, is practiced.

A similar practice of exposure is found in Zoroastrian communities in Iran, in the so-called towers of silence or dakhma, where the dead are brought, exposed, and consumed by vultures; the skeletal remains are then later collected for disposal.

While isolated instances of cremation are reported both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, burial or entombment was conspicuously the norm. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, burning of a corpse was a final act of abomination, reserved for only the worst elements of society.

One of the common misapprehensions of the Church’s aversion to or discouragement of incineration of the human body as a routinely available option for final disposal is that it was associated with pagan or freethinker practice, or with attempts to dissuade believers from faith in a bodily resurrection. While this might have some historical substance and may be represented by some early writers, it is but a minor hypothesis.

Ancient flame cremation practiced by the ancients.

As Eusebius describes early Christian aversion to flame cremation in a statement that still holds plausible, “” they (the Pagans) did this (cremated) to show that they could conquer God and destroy the resurrection of the bodies, saying, now let us see if they will arise.” In other words, cremation was a challenge to the belief in bodily resurrection as taught and believed in the early Church.

Furthermore, no less a figure than Cicero advances the notion that incineration was of ancient practice in Rome, and suggests that inhumation was a practice that predated the Roman practice of cremation. In fact, some noble Roman families never permitted their bodies to be burned, and Sulla is said to have been the first Roman who ordered his body to be cremated after death, lest his bones should be scattered by his enemies.[5] The pontiffs of pagan Rome would not acknowledge a funeral to be complete unless at least a single bone cut off from the corpse, or rescued from the flames, had been de posited in the earth.

Ancient Greece and Rome did practice cremation at various points in their histories but the ultimate disposal of the remains continued to be burial; either a part not consumed by the flames or the “bones” of the cremated corpse were ultimately buried in the earth. Cremation was by no means consistently the norm or the preferred method of disposal in Greece or in Rome.

Pope Boniface VIII forbade all violent modes of disposing of the dead as savoring of barbarism. “The respect due to the human body requires that it should be allowed to decay naturally, without having recourse to any violent system;” so says Grandclaude. A forcible argument against cremation is also found in the Catholic custom of preserving and honoring the relics of the Saints and putting their bodies or portions of them in the altar. It would be no longer possible to have the most important relics of future Saints if their flesh were to be consumed by fire.

That brief sampling of ancient teachings and beliefs regarding the question of incineration of human remains, arguably a “violent system” of disposing of human remains, should suffice to provide a background for the remainder of this discussion. For a more detailed discussion, I refer the reader to the Reverend Bann’s article cited above.

It was only in the late 19th century that a cremation movement came into being, and then only owing to the deplorable conditions in the cities which were rapidly outgrowing their boundaries due to immigration from rural areas, and the resulting encroachments on the previously outlying churchyards and, with population growth and densification, poor sanitation, and high mortality rates, consequent overfilling of existing cemeteries literally to the point of overflowing.

The urban slums of the Industrial Age.

Such were the conditions that gave rise to the public health concerns of reformers who claimed that the dead in the cemeteries were evil, that their miasmas leached out into the water and the spaces of the living, causing disease, suffering, and death. It was the evil dead rotting in the earth and their juices that were public health enemy No. 1. The open sewers and living conditions of the larger cities, and the putrid waters of the rivers flowing through them, of course, were not to blame.

And so, an alternative method of disposal of the dangerous and filthy dead had to be found, one that did not threaten to gobble up valuable real estate, and one that could be justified in the face of Church and religious objections. Cremation was the most obvious answer for purifying the unclean corpses. After all, since time immemorial fire was the great purifier.

In the beginning, therefore, the initial impetus was the miasma theory of pestilence, and corpses were to blame. Then, around 1880, the germ theory of disease was born. It debunked the established miasma theory of disease, and stated that disease was caused by specific organisms, germs. No problem for the cremationists, who were quite agile in dropping the miasma theory and accepting the germ theory but corpses were not yet off the hook, so to speak.

If germs were the cause of many of the diseases afflicting the population, wouldn’t the putrid rotting corpse be germ heaven? And if you have all those corpses lying about doing nothing but what corpses do, that is, rotting and defiling the air with the aromas of putrecine and cadaverine. Those same rotting corpses were breeding grounds for pestilence and a simple hole in the ground was not very likely to contain the little vermin. Cremation, the great sterilizer, would be the cremationists’ next slogan. But it didn’t last long.

The interests of the economic-minded would carry the day both in terms of the environment and the economy, and that campaign agenda is with us to this day. Basically, the dirge goes: “Why allocate so much valuable land to the dead when the living can profit by it?” Land for the living! After all, as corporations like StoneMor can confirm, cemetery real estate and the real estate occupied by the cemeteries represents a vast fortune. Someone has to tap into it.

The countries of Europe afflicted with the spirit of rationalism had no problem dealing with cemeteries; they just overruled the Church and legislated that the state had ultimate control of the citizen in life and in death. The Church could fall back on canon law but ultimately had to acquiesce to the state’s overwhelming power, and so the cemeteries were secularized. Once secularized they were emptied and their occupants relegated to ossuaries or catacombs en masse, and anonymous in their tens, even hundreds of thousands. In many instances, their eviction from the cemeteries and relocation to the quarries was done under cover of night, in order not to offend the living or present an obstacle to commerce.

France was one of the first Western nations to desecrate consecrated ground and defile the dead.

In countries where the Church, Roman Catholic or mainstream Protestant dominated, the faithful were expected under established sanctions, to obey the doctrines of their faith. For most mainstream Christians, and for all Orthodox Jews and Muslims, cremation was an abomination, and burial in the earth or entombment were the only acceptable methods of sepulture. And so it remained until 1963, when the Roman Catholic Church relieved it’s ban on cremation and, while not encouraging cremation, did not censure those who opted for incineration as their preferred method of disposal. Upto then, those choosing cremation were pro forma classified as apostates, atheists, pagans, free-thinkers, or Masons.

The 1960’s was a decade of revolutionary reform in practically every aspect of life: politics, religion, morals, education, all of which ultimately found expression in attitudes towards life, death, dying and after-death.

Alkaline hydrolysis (AH)[6], aquamation[7], resomation[8], biocremation[9], call it whatever you like it all literally boils down [no pun intended] to taking a dead human body, placing it into a pressure cooker, adding water and chemicals, heating, cooking, draining, rinsing. The dissolved flesh and organic matter is then flushing into the sewer system. What is left is bones and any metallic or synthetic material in the body (artificial joints, pacemakers, sutures, etc.). The metal such as artificial joints etc. will be recycled or “repurposed.”  The bones will be dried and ground up into a sandlike powder and returned to the family or otherwise disposed of.

The actual patented process, alkaline hydrolysis (AH) is a process developed for waste disposal. “Waste disposal” is the actual term used in the patents. AH was developed for disposal of infectious or hazardous waste by dissolving it into a “safe and sanitary” end-product. In fact, the actual wording of one of the patents is: “it is an object of this invention to provide a system and method for safely treating and disposing of waste matter containing undesirable elements, such as infectious, biohazardous, hazardous, or radioactive elements or agents.”

AH was developed for dissolving, liquefying organic matter into a disposable liquid that can be recycled as a fertilizer or simply flushed down the drain. It’s actually a technology that was developed in the late 19th century for disposing of animal waste, and which was developed in the mid-20th century for disposal of farm slaughter waste and for elimination of medical school cadavers, is now being promoted as the new eco-friendly take on cremation. Alkaline hydrolysis a.k.a. water cremation a.k.a. biocremation —  in reality just using a Draino®-like chemical to dissolve the dead human body and flush the remaining human sludge down the drain into the public sewer system — is the new rage in technology. Some funeral homes in about 14 states, where the process is now legal in the United States are now offering it as an alternative to cremation. It’s disgusting and will be a hard sell, since it will be acceptable only to the really bizarre element out there. I hope to clarify some of the issues in this article.

This is not how human beings should be treating their dead.

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[1] See also History of Alkaline Hydrolysis by Joseph Wilson. Wilson is the chief executive officer of Bio-Response Solutions, one of the first companies involved in the industrialization and marketing of alkaline hydrolysis for the disposition of human bodies. Joseph H. Wilson, The History of Alkaline Hydrolysis, e-pub, September 2013, 3, last accessed on October 29, 2017). The original patent filed by A.H. Hobson, U.S. Patent No. 394982 (1888), describes the process as a “… process of treating bones, which consists in digesting the bones in an alkaline solution in the presence of heat, then separating and concentrating the solution, thereby forming glue, gelatine, or size, in then digesting the remaining hone in a strong alkaline solution, so as to completely dissolve the remaining nitrogenous matter, and bring-the same into a more readily assimilable form…” (Claim 2), and as “certain new and useful improvements in the treatment of bones and animal waste or refuse generally for the purpose of rendering the same more suited for fertilizing purposes, and for obtaining gelatine, glue, and size…” ( last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[2] By way of precluding any possible suggestion of supercessionism, I would like to state from the outset that I am citing Roman Catholic writers in much of this discussion not because I am so biased but because I would rather use as my foundation a more systematized, mature, and stringent authority, which, if necessary can be attenuated or mollified mutatis mutandi in further arguments, rather than a more loose, liberal, or permissive approach as represented by the more progressive Protestant or post-Christian denominations. Although I practice as an interfaith chaplain, I am steeped in a more classical tradition than many of my contemporaries, and I ask that my readers take that subjective proclivity into consideration when reading my statements.

[3] Brann, Rev. H.A., DD, “Christian Burial and Cremation.” American Catholic Quarterly Review, Vol. X (Jan-Oct 1885). Philadelphia: Hardy & Mahony. p. 679. Reverend Brann provides a rather comprehensive background and discussion of Roman Catholic sources and thinking on cremation, which, in my reading, is remarkable in its tolerance, given the sociopolitical climate in which it was written (1885-6).

[4] De Civ. Dei Cap. XIII, p. 27, Vol. 41, Migne’s Patrologia.

[5] Desecration by scattering of one’s bones appears to be a thread running through much of ancient human history. Compare Sulla’s concern with the Biblical account (I Kings 31:12) of the incineration of the bodies of Saul and his sons to prevent desecration by the Philistines.

[6] US Patents 5,332,532, 6,437,211, 6,472,580, 7,183,453, 7,829,755, and U.S. Patent No. 7,910,788 (method).

[7] “Aquamation: A Greener Alternative to Cremation?” By Marina Kamenev/Sydney, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010 (,8599,2022206,00.html, last accessed on October 28, 2017)

[8] “Innovation in sustainable end of life choices” the slogan of the Scottish company Resomation®(, last accessed on October 28, 2017).

[9] “Biocremation. A Natural Choice.” (, last accessed on October 28, 2017)


Our Editor’s Response to the Newcomer-Facci Exposé


A reliable source has reported that Mr Facci has allegedly been reprimanded by his Newcomer keepers for failure to comply with Newcomer policies. Surprised? He’s also been reported by his colleagues at Newcomer Funerals and Cremations for alleged noncompliance and misconduct. Could it be his mouth? His attitude? We also hear Facci’s taken down his Facebook page. Wonder Why? Facci’s really quite unhappy, we hear, and is considering relocating to Florida. We suggest Cuba. We wonder if he’s that immature to think his reputation won’t follow him? We can’t say that we didn’t expect these developments. Facci made his bed; now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he didn’t appreciate what he had from the start.

The Editor’s Response

We recently republished an article about a recently licensed funeral director, Mr Nicholas J. Facci, and his online activities, his relationships with former mentors and associates, and his recent hire by a local chain funeral services provider, Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Albany and Latham), a member of the Newcomer Funeral Services Group, a Kansas based organization with funeral homes in some 10 states. We’d like to make our own statement on that article. We’d like to respond to some of the private comments we have received in response to the article, “Birds of a Feather? Lying down with dogs? The Politics of Funeral Corporations….”

Despite the appearances and although Nick Facci is plastered all over the Internet as being associated with Riverview Funeral Home and Simple Choices Cremations, he was fired from his employment with Riverview and Simple Choices; furthermore, Facci has published numerous times on his Facebook page that he is no longer associated with Riverview or Simple Choices. He has recently been hired by the Newcomer funeral home chain, a “Walmart-type” provider, and is now working in the Albany-Latham area.

We vetted the author and verified the sources of the article. The facts were true and the majority of them came either from public sources, the Troy Record newspaper, or from Mr Facci’s own Facebook page. The facts, opinions and conclusions stated by the author were credible and truthful, and based on research of information available to anyone who is interested.

Some readers — apparently those with short attention spans — have suggested that the article is a bit long-winded. Yes. The article is a bit longer than our typical article, and while it may be a bit hard on Mr Facci, we feel that given the circumstances and Mr Facci’s conduct as well as the environment in which Mr Facci is employed, the article is important and the facts and conclusions are of significant interest to the pubic. We had and continue to have  the opportunity and the control to edit material out of the article but we chose not to do so. We continue to stand by the author and the content of the article. As for being hard on Mr Facci, Whose fault is that? The facts are the facts.

That having been said, we’d like to make some editorial remarks about some of the feedback we’ve been receiving from readers, both in the funeral services business, consumers of those services, and persons who just found the article of interest. We would like to note that we have information that Facci, Newcomer and some of the funeral directors who know Facci have been very responsive but have kept their responses pretty much under wraps. That’s how the funeral profession is, we guess. Others with personal knowledge have come forward with their information. Nothing we have received so far indicates that the article is in any way misleading or untruthful. Far from it. Most of what we have received so far actually confirms the author’s facts.

Here, in a nutshell, are our responses to the article and to our readers’ responses:

The article has been vetted and found to be substantially true in its facts. As our regular readers and followers are aware, we are very diligent in assuring that what we publish on the Smalbany blog is factually true and credible. Our community of readers and followers also know that we don’t take sides, and our sole purpose is journalistic integrity and community service. Enough said.

The author of the article was vetted and found to be reliable. The author of the article has no personal, political or economic interest in publishing the facts of the article. The author of the article is a well-known figure who has a fine reputation, is known for his defense of truth and ethics, and has excellent professional qualifications. The author is credible and the facts truthful.

Mr Facci is responsible for his conduct and his statements. The article points out a disturbing trend in the funeral services industry, how funeral director candidates are educated, trained and licensed, the importance of ethics in the funeral services profession, and the fact that poor education and immaturity can result in serious detriment to the reputation of the funeral services profession and significant injury to the customers served by unscrupulous providers. While we feel our funeral directors and family funeral homes provide a necessary and very important service to those who have lost a loved one, we have our concerns about the direction the funeral services business has been taken by the corporations and funeral home chains. We also share the author’s concerns about the quality of the people working for these funeral home chains and their motivations, and their character. These are all reasonable concerns and are presented in the article.

The article may have scared the hell out of Facci and/or Newcomer and Facci was forced to remove his Facebook posts but removing them doesn’t undo the fact that they were posted, read, and noted. Just because he removed his posts doesn’t undo the fact that he posted them in the first place. Unfortunately for Mr Facci, he can’t undo the Troy Record article and the statements he made in that article. Too bad, Mr Facci!

Unlike Facci’s former employer, we do not underestimate Facci nor are we ready to present our back to him for target practice. We are monitoring these developments closely and have our ears to the ground, so to speak.

It is all about Mr Facci, not about the author. As stated above, the article points out Mr Facci’s character and professional flaws, using Mr Facci as a so-called stereotype of a trend in the industry. The article is about Mr Facci and how he got to where he is, wherever that may be. The article is about how one immature and flawed individual can manipulate situations for his own selfish benefit, and how even veteran professionals and a large funeral home chain can be taken in by such a person.

One commenter suggested that Newcomer has a “file” on the author. Our response was: “Big deal!” If Facci or Newcomer feel that they have something interesting about the author of the article, share it! If it’s good information, we’d love to know about it. But all things considered, we can’t imagine what they could have because we’ve already checked. The so-called “file” may be printouts from anonymous Internet sites, anonymous blurbs by critics who don’t have the guts to use their real names, or sociopaths who think they have an ax to grind. No doubt, if Mr Facci had anything to do with the assembly of any file it must involve some breach of confidentiality or other unethical practice. Sorry, gentlemen and ladies, that’s not the kind of information or the sources we tend to use on this blog. Hard facts and reliable sources are what you get here. Our suggestion: Go stuff your file!

For the sake of argument, even if the author has a skeleton or two in the closet, what difference would that make. None at all. If the facts are true as presented in the article, nothing in a so-called “file” about the author can change Mr Facci’s character or conduct, nor can it justify Newcomer Funeral Services Group (Kansas) or Newcomer Funerals and Cremations (Latham and Albany) in deciding to hire Facci without even checking with his former employer(s). And if Newcomer had checked with Facci’s former employer and hired him anyway, despite the facts disclosed and Facci’s unethical conduct, Shame on Newcomer! The article is about Facci and Newcomer, not about the author.

Silence is an admission of complicity. We provide ample opportunity for anyone with something to say to say it by leaving a comment. If no one comes forward with contrary facts we have to assume that they have no defense. Fair enough. After the appearance of the article, Mr Facci was very quick to clean up his Facebook posts and many of his scandalous posts disappeared (fortunately we had already collected some of them such as those exposed in the article). A number of persons who know Facci either personally or professionally have provided comments by email or by electronic message confirming the facts in the article. Other parties have contacted us with concerns that the article could be misinterpreted. Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

We are grateful for the comments about the facts. Any time we receive confirmation of facts or clarification of the facts we are very grateful because we place great value on the quality of the information we provide. Regrettably, most commenters don’t have the ability to comment, and tend to rewrite. Those comments are worthless and they don’t get published.

As for the concern that the article could be misinterpreted. Misinterpreted? How? Does it make Facci’s former employer look bad? We think not. Facci’s former employer has an outstanding reputation; even Facci made that clear in the Troy Record article, even while Facci was badmouthing Newcomer! Facci’s former employer did everything possible to teach Facci the trade and to get him through the licensing process. Even so, Facci bit the hand that literally fed him. It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest that Facci’s mentor should have been able to have second guessed Facci’s devious mind. We cannot take responsibility for the state of mind of some readers. The article is pretty clear. If some bleeding heart wants to make believe that Facci’s conduct is excusable, that’s their problem. If some hard-nose wants to lynch Facci or Newcomer, while we wouldn’t go that far, we can’t control such a reaction. The article says what it says, no more no less. Repeat: Alternative interpretations are in the head of the reader, not in the text of the article.

Again and again and again, we have stated in our articles that we don’t want to take control of minds, we only want to get them working, thinking, and learning about what’s going on in our communities. That’s all. Our readers are free to make any decision they feel is right; we just provide the facts.

Our personal take on the situation: If Mr Facci were an elected official or a municipal employee, or if Mr Facci were a doctor, a dentist, a car dealer, whatever, we’d have the same response to the conduct and character described in the article: He’s got problems. He needs to fix those problems. Anyone who knows about his problems and continues to do business with him or hires him assumes responsibility for those flaws and problems and the repercussions. The same applies to Facci. In fact, we hold Facci’s feet to the fire particularly because he is in the position he is in. Facci is responsible for what he did, said and posted. Facci was fired from his former position when his employer had had enough of Facci’s shenanigans. Facci had even prepared for that possibility and was already providing a way out for that eventuality. Newcomer chose to ignore these facts and hired Facci. Newcomer now has to deal with those facts having been made public. Either Newcomer is willing to carry Facci’s baggage for him or they can free themselves of him; it’s their choice, and Newcomer has to live with the consequences.

We have also been informed that one person who provided Facci with a letter of recommendation actually demanded that Newcomer Funeral Service Group disregard that recommendation. The person making the recommendation, upon learning of Facci’s conduct, decided to withdraw the recommendation for reasons of conscience.

Facci and Newcomer are the authors of their own crisis. To be honest while not violating a confidence, it must be said that when the article first appeared, Facci’s former employer wrote to us requesting that we remove the article. Here is a guy who has sustained considerable damage to his business done by Facci, and he’s asking that the exposé be removed. We politely declined to remove the article. But that’s how funeral directors are. They are so used to doing their jobs and remaining behind the scenes, not intruding that they tend for forgive and not to make waves. That’s why Facci is such an interesting subject because he doesn’t care as long as he comes out on top. He’s an individual that the article uses to draw attention to the way the funeral home chains and corporations are changing the politics of death and deathcare. It’s not pretty.

Facci and Newcomer are not the only players in this dirty game. Without offering any excuses for Facci’s conduct or Newcomer’s choice of employees, we cannot avoid pointing an accusing finger at the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program and the New York State Bureau of Funeral Directing, and the New York State Department of Health, all of which have their fingers in the pie. As organizations involved thickly in the training and education, the oversight, and the licensing of funeral homes and funeral directors, those organizations should be put in the spotlight. While we are informed that the Hudson Valley Community College Mortuary Sciences Program curriculum was put on hold and substantially revamped last year, it remains to be seen whether that has any concrete effect on the quality of candidates it churns out. Is Facci a perp or a victim? Is Newcomer a perp or a victim? What is Warren “Ren” Newcomer,  and Arthur Fitch, manager of Newcomer Funerals and Cremations in Albany and Latham, doing to defuse the situation? Jury is still out on those questions.

Mr Facci and Newcomer Funerals and Cremations have another reason to be grateful. Mr Facci had to be reminded to be grateful to his former employer and mentor for the fine training and formation he received. We mentioned that  in our original article. Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor has again asked that we withdraw the article; he’d like to put the experience behind him. While we don’t agree to letting Facci or Newcomer off the hook that easily, we have considered the request, and on compassionate grounds, have complied with the request as of March 31. This is an unusual action taken only at the request of the victim of an offence, we do not routinely remove an article from public view, unless we are convinced that  the victim might benefit. While the article is no longer visible to the general public, it still exists and, if a reader makes a specific request to for access to the article, we will provide a password for accessing the article; otherwise it will not be visible to the wider public. Mr Facci and Newcomer Funeral Services Group will continue to be monitored, if only to ensure that they do not engage in any further self-destructive behavior, however.

All that having been said, we can’t ignore such headlines as, “Funeral Chain Exploits Demise of Tradition,” which asks the question “Newcomer Family Mortuary ignored industry taboos by advertising discount funerals on television. Will competition usurp tradition in this high-growth industry?” That article was nothing less than current, relevant and prophetic article and appeared in the online magazine Inc. It’s an historic article but could have been published today.

As usual, if our readers have anything to add, comments to make, information to provide, we will be very grateful if you leave a public comment by using the comment feature on this page, or if you want to leave a more confidential message please use our email at

Reminder: Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor asked that the original article be withdrawn. We do not withdraw articles but in compromise and out of respect for Mr Facci’s former employer and mentor,  we have restricted access to the original article by requiring a password. Readers interested in accessing the original article may request a password by making a request to

Thank you all for your interest and loyalty. It’s now a time for healing.

The Editor