A digital kiosk to help the public find the location of graves in Wyuka Cemetery has been installed, and work is now under way to get information installed in it.
The kiosk was installed on Friday, Dec. 2, by Windy Prairie Systems of Indianola.
Representatives of the company spoke at the Wyuka Cemetery Advisory Board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 14, to give the board an update on the project.
The Wyuka kiosk has the newest hardware and software available, said Steve Richman of Windy Prairie Systems.
The kiosk itself is built to handle the weather, he said, and a battery backup in the kiosk provides 90 minutes of power in the event of a power outage.
If the outage lasts longer than that, the system gently shuts itself down and needs to be restarted manually once power is restored, said Richman.
This makes it possible to update information within a day via the Internet, rather than having to visit the kiosk in person and update information by using a flash drive, said Richman.
“Some cemeteries get a lot of interest in virtual memorials,” he told the board, “while in others, the idea really hasn’t caught fire.”
Richman gave the local example of Mt. Olive Cemetery in Hamburg, Iowa, for which Windy Prairie has received 25 to 30 virtual memorial submissions.
After the Windy Prairie Systems presentation, board members discussed the best way to recognize the donors that made the kiosk installation possible.
These include the Richard P. and Laurine Kimmel Charitable Foundation, the Karl H. and Wealtha H. Nelson Family Foundation, Drs. Mary Ann and Fred D. Strider, and the Paul, John, Anton and Doris Wirth Foundation Inc.
Board members decided to install a marble bench with the names of the major donors inscribed on it.
Plans call for the bench to be installed next spring and for as much information as possible to be uploaded to the kiosk before next Memorial Day.
According to cemetery director Jim Teten, the information that will be put into the kiosk will include the person’s birth and death dates and the date of burial.
Once basic information is entered into the kiosk, Teten said an on-screen cemetery map shows the section, lot number and gravesite of the person being sought.
For a fee, family members can add additional information, including short videos, photos and obituaries, said Teten.
Windy Prairie Systems is in charge of adding the virtual memorial information. They can be reached at 800-350-9803 or 308-364-2673, or by email at info@windyprairie.com.
The kiosk is located south of the cemetery’s maintenance shop and restrooms on a handicapped-accessible cement pad.
After the information about Wyuka burials is entered into the kiosk, burial information will be added about St. Mary’s and St. Benedict’s cemeteries, said Teten.