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Several people mentioned how wonderful the Christmas Makers Market was, and the organisation behind that is the Phoenix Resource Centre. The Harlow centre is run by Annette Dyer who oversees lots of local projects including art exhibitions using recycled goods, helping out residents, local schools and community projects with cheaper goods or free supplies.

We just want to do as much as we can for the community and help bring the town centre together. I think we could definitely do it more often. One resident Charlotte, who has lived in Harlow for decades, said she missed the old Co-op in town, as well as the old cinema in Broad Walk which is now shut down. We even had Monsoon and Accessorize for a while but they went. I rarely come into town here. We held public consultation on the plan last summer and there will be further consultation over the coming months.

This plan is key to ensuring that Harlow town centre is ready to meet these future opportunities and once again become a vibrant place in the heart of the community. Much of the town centre, its buildings and shops are not owned by the council and there are different companies and organisations with an interest.

The town centre is made up of a number of different areas and although some are in need of attention, there are also two thriving shopping centres in the Harvey Centre and The Water Gardens. At the end of last year we undertook some works to the Market Square area of the town centre to make it a more inviting area to visit. There are already plans for the redevelopment of the northern end of Broad Walk with new homes and shop units.

I mainly came in today because I had to go to the bank. If the sisters fancy a big shopping trip they now go to either went to Lakeside or Westfield, she added. Our daily newsletter - To get the latest headlines direct to your email inbox every day, click here. Follow Essex Live on Facebook - Like our Facebook page to get the latest news in your feed and join in the lively discussions in the comments.

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Click here to follow Essex Live on Instagram. I would love to be able to shop here more. However, despite the threat of online shopping affected all high streets, including Harlow, not everyone is a fan. To receive one WhatsApp message a day with the main headlines, as well as breaking news alerts, text NEWS to Then add the number to your phone contacts book as 'Essex Live'.

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The 'ghost town' of Harlow where an entire shopping area is 'dying'

Chelmsford An ice slushy bar has opened in Chelmsford. Stansted Airport Live Stansted Airport updates as plane is grounded after 'bomb threat' Typhoons are currently flying above the airport. Some people laugh on hearing the news. Some are apathetic. Some start screaming. Your family might demand to come in and see you one last time. County rules forbid them from viewing you in the flesh, so the best Smith can do is show them a photo. If your family members really miss you, Smith says, they will talk to your photo as if you could hear them.

Sometimes they will pet it, as if you could still feel their fingers on your face. In the s, autopsies were performed on more than half the patients who exited the hospital through the morgue. That number has since fallen to less than 10 percent. Insurance companies loathe spending money on the living and are even stingier with the dead.

Harlow the Helpful Ghost: Afraid of the Dark by Leeanne Brearley, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

This has opened up a market niche large enough for Vidal Herrera to park his Hummer in. Herrera is 58 and stocky, with a trim white beard and a round, lively face. He shows me one in silver and black with a Raiders logo embroidered on a cushion. Until a psychiatrist told him otherwise, he says, he had thought that his recurring nightmares of mutilated corpses were normal.

On one wall of his office, among Halloween props and Grateful Dead posters, is a framed caricature of Herrera grinning in black surgical scrubs. If your survivors have suspicions about the cause of your death and can afford to put their minds at ease, they can call Herrera or one of his eager competitors. Her arms and lower legs are tanned a yellowish brown, but her belly, breasts, and thighs are a startling white because all of her blood has drained to her back.

Her toenails are still crimson with polish. His autopsy assistant, Sean Sadler, will do the honors, along with a pathologist who asks me not to use his name. I will call him Dr. Sadler begins with a Y-incision. Using a scalpel, he slices down from each shoulder to the sternum and from there to just above the black snare of hair beneath her navel. The patient does not flinch, not even when Sadler peels back the skin of her chest with a retractor, causing her breasts to loll on her biceps.

He cuts through her ribs with pruning shears, pausing to observe the softness of her bones—osteoporosis, he suggests—and the fractures left by whoever had attempted CPR. He trims away the heavy yellow fat around her heart, slices through the arteries and veins, and hands the once vital organ to Dr. Gray, who weighs and dissects it on a plastic cutting board.

The lungs come out next. He goes organ by organ, handing each to Dr. Gray, who slices and studies them, then drops a sliver of each into a jar of diluted formaldehyde. Gray decides it was her heart that killed her, although she also had pneumonia and a terrible back injury—four inches of spine swollen and saturated with blood—that must have kept her in constant and excruciating pain. He shows me her butterflied heart.

If it were you instead of her, you would not recognize yourself. The yellowy red mess inside of you would seem to have little to do with even your most intimate understanding of yourself. You would be startled by the pleasant purplish hue of your liver, the graceful drape of your small intestines, the stubborn white ball of your skull. The smells you release would surprise you, as would the awful groaning crack your spine makes when Sadler pries the vertebrae apart to get at the tender cord.

Patrick runs Patco Transportation Services. There is a somber intensity to him that is barely disguised by the softness of his voice or the formality of his speech and bearing. Patrick grew up in South Carolina and earned a degree in biology, but in , there were not many jobs in the sciences for a black man in the South. Two years later he moved to L. Beginning in the late s, the industry underwent a massive consolidation. Racing to corner the market before baby boomers started dying off, a few giant firms—the largest of them being Houston-based Services Corporation International—began buying up hundreds of independent mortuaries and cemeteries.

The big cemeteries now have mortuaries, chapels, and even florists on-site, which cuts out the old side industries. So-called first-call services like Patco are among the few subsidiary contractors that have survived the shift. The mortuary calls him and tells him where you are. He drives to the address, knocks on the door, rolls you into a sheet, ties off the ends, hoists you onto a gurney, wheels you to the van, drops you at the mortuary, and waits for his next call.

His work, however, does have its complications. Aside from the odors, there are fluids to deal with and parts of you that stain his clothes. Stairs can be a problem. Then there are the living. It took six guys, his uncles, to hold him down on the floor while I took the body and ran—literally ran. Patrick uncovered it. Musicians, Indian chiefs, whoever. I pick them up. Patrick was raised a Baptist. When he was 12, he watched his father die of a heart attack and found he could no longer believe in the God who had taken his father from him.

I see babies die at three months—I can hold the baby in my hand. I see kids die at 3, 4 years old. I see teenagers, rich people, poor people, white people, black people. Everybody dies. The only ones that disturb him, he says, are the lonely ones, the ones he finds decomposing in their living rooms, surrounded by empty bottles with the television still on. He remembers a woman he found lying on her kitchen floor. She had been there for two weeks even though her daughter lived just four doors down. Patrick smiles a tight, sad smile. How much of your life are you willing to be unhappy?

How much of your life are you willing to give up? What is a happy life? Euphoria Los Angeles holds a special place in the history of death. They painted decomposing cadavers in manuscripts and carved them on church walls. The dead had become an affront to the living. At the same time, Americans ritualize death in a manner extraordinary to Europeans. Until a few years ago, even a basic working-class American funeral—from the open-casket display of the chemically preserved and cosmetically improved decedent to the long, slow procession of cars to the graveside—matched a level of pomp reserved across the Atlantic only for the most celebrated dead.

Angelenos not only failed to tastefully ignore death, they did everything they could to render it sunny, cheerful, lifelike. No aspect of American funereal ritual has been more consistently alarming to foreign observers than embalming, which is practiced nowhere else in the world with the near universality that it achieved in North America.

Mitford characterized embalming as expensive quackery, a recently revived pagan practice without roots in the Judeo-Christian tradition. To Kenneth Schenk, however, embalming is an art, perhaps soon to be lost. Schenk could not be more different from Mr. Schenk is a trade embalmer, which means he freelances for the few remaining independent mortuaries.

He is 70, and his hair stops well short of his collar, but back before it turned its current lustrous white, he wore it to the middle of his back. He came to L. In those days L. Sitting in a booth at the Pantry downtown, Schenk waxes nostalgic about that now invisible geography, long since sliced in half by the Harbor Freeway and transformed into a jumble of repair shops and warehouses. Spearing a bite of coleslaw with Russian dressing, he tells me exactly what he will do to you if you fall into his able, practiced hands.

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He will wash you and position your limbs. He will choose a spot for his incision, usually the carotid or femoral artery. He will lift the artery with a steel hook and insert a plastic injection tube attached to an embalming machine. Another tube will go into the corresponding vein. Schenk will turn on the machine, adjusting for pressure and flow, and it will pump preservative fluid in through your arteries, pushing your blood out through your veins, into the sink, and down the drain. The process lasts about an hour, depending on your size and the condition of your circulatory system. It will act as a sort of siphon, sucking gases and liquids from your intestines, stomach, bladder, heart, and lungs.

An eyelid, a nose, even an ear can be sculpted out of beeswax. Not long ago Schenk got a call from a mortuary offering him a job everyone else had refused. The family was almost ecstatic. Schenk washed out the blood and painstakingly laid the hair out to dry. Maybe your imagination suffices to make you prefer quick, purifying flame. Or perhaps the thought of being scattered to the breeze feels more like freedom than any other image of eternal rest you can conjure.

According to a funeral industry data tracker, inaptly named Vital Statistic Analyses, more than half of Californians were cremated in In Greater Los Angeles cremations have gone up 40 percent over the past five years. The trend is recent: In , fewer than 5 percent of Americans met that final flame. It is also a lot cheaper. Few mortuaries cremate their own, and few crematoriums deal directly with consumers.

Specifically, you will fit in a five-by-seven-by-ten-inch box, and you will weigh between three and ten pounds. The process is simple. A pale, slender woman with dark eyes and a sudden, flashing laugh, she is 63 but easily could pass for Sitting on the couch in the lobby, she looks me up and down. They are also more complicated to burn. State law requires that you be combusted in a container, which might be a cardboard box or a hand-buffed walnut casket with mattress springs and quilted velvet lining.

Once it has burned away, you will, too. The retort will rise to 1, degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to turn most of you to vapor. And the smell? I ask Bobadilla if her neighbors complain about the scent of singed hair and roasting meat. She assures me that the temperature is too high for anyone to notice anything. Cremation chambers are designed to capture any unseemly emissions. When all of you has burned that can be burned, the technician will turn off the gas and rake out what little is left: charred and brittle fragments of bone—sometimes a femur or a piece of skull will be recognizable.

He or she will collect these shards of you in a metal pan, allow them to cool, then pass a magnet over them to catch any metal intermingled with you: eyeglass frames, fillings, buttons, zippers, the cotter pins, springs, and hinges from your casket. You are at this point officially cremains. In a large industrial blender you will be processed into powder. Your relatives will not want to find chunks.

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The mortuary will send someone to get you, and you, more portable than ever, will have a lot of options. You can stay in your plastic urn and go straight to the back of the closet. You can express your personality until the end of time in an urn shaped like a golf bag, or an angel, or a duck. You can rest eternally in the Buddhist Columbarium atop the highest peak in Rose Hills Cemetery, commanding a view if only you still had eyes! You can be scattered at sea to commune with the fish. You can be packed in fireworks and rocketed into the heavens.

But you cannot be scattered on the infield at Dodger Stadium, or the outfield, or anywhere in Disneyland at all—do not even ask. I circle past the mourners and back to the gates until I see it—a low chimney of beige brick just behind the lobby where Bobadilla and I had been sitting. She was right. There is no smoke, but the palm trees and the eucalyptus on the far side of the smokestack are shivering and slipping, as if the sky itself has lost all confidence and allowed the atmosphere to sag.

If you feel sometimes that the surface streets are just that, surface , that the concrete and asphalt crust of the city is hiding something big beneath our feet, you are right.