In Vermont, long-dead mental patients inspire crusade

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WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) -- Dozens of long-dead patients at a Vermont mental hospital are reaching from beyond their hillside graves to help modernize state law regulating what happens to unclaimed human remains.

The cemetery holding them came to public attention when Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Waterbury hospital complex in August 2011. A state lawmaker wanted to make sure the cemetery would be protected forever after the ruined hospital was relocated.

A law already said it wouldn't be disturbed, but Rep. Anne Donahue also found there was nothing regulating the disposal of unclaimed remains. Her bill to allow for their cremation and dignified disposal has passed the state House and is awaiting action in the Senate.


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