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December 6, 2012 | By Hailey Branson-Potts and Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times
In a simple ceremony Wednesday, about two dozen people gathered over a single grave holding the ashes of more than 1,600 people whose bodies were never claimed by loved ones. With dense fog enveloping the quiet hill above a busy Boyle Heights intersection and the smell of burning sage lingering in the morning air, county officials, soup kitchen volunteers, chaplains and mourners prayed over the ashes of 1,656 people. Yvette Gonzales, 36, came with three friends to pay final respects to her mother, who was homeless when she died Oct. 2, 2009.
November 3, 2012 | By Matt Stevens, Los Angeles Times
The documents Dick Littlestone has spent more than a decade collecting have been meticulously prepared for presentation. Stacks of them are fanned across his desk, staggered neatly like Venetian blinds. Maps have been highlighted in pink. Photographs have captions handwritten on the backs. For more than a decade, this 89-year-old retired Army colonel has pushed and prodded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to build a columbarium - a storage place for thousands of veterans' ashes - on the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center campus.
September 7, 2012 | By John M. Glionna
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. For Dick Cooksley, the nightmares from that most trying and lethal time of his life still linger: slogging through island jungles in the dreaded Bataan Death March, watching as some of his fellow soldiers and friends were beheaded by their Japanese captors. But Cooksley, now 92 and living in Arizona, survived it all - three long years of enemy captivity in seven different camps. This week, nearly seven decades after his release, the retired Army captain received long overdue recognition of his suffering: the Bronze Star Medal.
July 27, 2012 | By Ashley Powers and Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
AURORA, Colo. - Theater shooting victims and their loved ones marched through the rituals of mourning and recovery here Thursday, with funerals for two of the 12 dead, a vigil, and fundraising to help pay for medical care and burials. The Aurora Victim Relief Fund, set up by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Denver-based Community First Foundation, has received more than $2 million in donations since a gunman sprayed a crowded movie theater with bullets last week. At least five of the 58 injured remain in critical condition.
June 13, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
A limestone box bearing the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in Aramaic appears to be genuine, the prestigious Biblical Archaeology Review said Wednesday in a long story written by editor Hershel Shanks. The ossuary, dating from AD 63, has been highly controversial, with Israeli authorities claiming it is a forgery and prosecuting antiquities dealer Oded Golan, who originally sold it. That trial ended in March when a judge dismissed the charges, saying that the prosecutor had not proved claims that the ossuary was a fake.
December 5, 2011 | By James Channing Shaw, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Not too long ago, my siblings scattered my mother's ashes in woods near the family house of more than 50 years. Two years earlier, she had scattered my father's ashes over the same ground. A friend aptly put it, "You've just advanced to third base. " The event got me thinking about whether cremation would be what I want when I die. Given my utter rejection of organized religion and faith itself, would it matter? My mother used to say in her pragmatic way, "Once you are dead, the body is of no significance; let efficiency be your guide.
September 23, 2011 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
Angry protests against Afghan President Hamid Karzai erupted Friday at the burial of his government's chief peace negotiator, who was killed this week by a suicide bomber posing as a Taliban envoy. The daylong funeral observances for Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president, brought Afghanistan's capital to a near-standstill, with some of the heaviest security in recent memory. Police and soldiers in armored vehicles patrolled the streets, checkpoints dotted major boulevards and traffic circles, and a large part of central Kabul was blocked to all but foot traffic.
August 1, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
The century-old Buddhist temple is for sale. The asking price for its gilded columns and marble stairs is $1.1 million. But the cost to a blighted corner of this city and to the area's Japanese American community is not as easily estimated. Indeed, during this Obon season — when Buddhists remember the dead — the decision to abandon the landmark Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple balances two basic tenets of the faith: honoring ancestors and accepting the impermanence of all things.
July 1, 2011 | By Claire Noland, Los Angeles Times
The Rev. Michael Wenning, the retired senior pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church who presided at former President Reagan's 2004 burial service in Simi Valley, died Tuesday at his home in Mission Viejo, one week before his 76th birthday. The cause was leukemia and kidney failure, said his wife of 54 years, Freda. From 1995 to 2001, Wenning led Bel Air Presbyterian Church, where former President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, had worshiped for years. The pastor also made regular visits to Reagan's home and Century City office when the former president, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, stopped appearing in public.
June 17, 2011 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
A proposal to replace 835 oak, sycamore and walnut trees with 199,000 new interment spaces at a prominent Hollywood Hills cemetery near Griffith Park is at the heart of a controversy over the future of what little remains of the Los Angeles area's undeveloped wildlife habitat. Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries wants to develop 120 acres of its grounds because its existing expanse of carefully manicured lawns has nearly run out of room for interments in grassy havens with names like "Ascending Dawn" and "Vale of Hope.
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