Tuesday, September 15, 2020

America’s oldest World War II veteran celebrates his 111th birthday

This past weekend, Lawrence Brooks, the oldest known US veteran of World War II turned 111, and the National WWII Museum held a socially distant celebration for him as he watched from his front porch in New Orleans. The Victory Belles, the museum’s vocal trio, sang several numbers for him while the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and the Big Easy Wing performed a military flyover. The museum has hosted Brooks’s birthday celebrations on its campus for the past five years but had to adjust this year’s celebration due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The museum hosted a national card drive for him in hopes of receiving 500 to 1,000 birthday cards. Instead, they got almost 10,000 cards. According to the museum, Lawrence Brooks was born in 1909 and served in the predominantly African American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He obtained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war, according to the museum. He has five children, five stepchildren, 12 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. (CNN)


A transgender woman who describes herself as a ‘Satanic anarchist’ has won the Republican Party nomination for sheriff in a New Hampshire county after running on a platform of “F*** the police”

Aria DiMezzo, a transgender woman who describes herself as an anarchist and a high priestess of the Reformed Satanic Church, won the Republican nomination for sheriff of Cheshire County, New Hampshire. “I can’t imagine they’re happy about this,” Aria DiMezzo when asked about the reaction from Republicans. Aria DiMezzo captured the GOP nomination for Cheshire County sheriff after running unopposed in the party primary and won despite the fact of not getting the support from the county or state GOP. Aia DiMezzo won after running on a platform that backs decriminalizing drugs, sex work, and illegal immigration. However, Aria DiMezzo will have an even more formidable task as she will face off against a four-term incumbent, the Democrat Eli Rivera. (Inside Sources)


Man uses bottles of beer, water to save home from Butte County fire

What started off as a casual night for one Berry Creek, California resident turned into something much worse in less than four minutes. He said he got a text message in the early afternoon about, it was going to be a mandatory evacuation. “Pretty much we didn’t even think about it because they didn’t come around telling us yet,” he said. Later that night, he heard propane tanks exploding in the canyon to the north of his home. He drove one mile before realizing the fire was already on his road. “Went home, went in the house, grabbed a beer, walked outside and the fire was at my door. Four minutes. Four minutes,” he said. He heard fuel cans popping in his yard. Then, his building caught fire. “It was hot. Wind was going about 70 miles an hour. It was pure hell. It was pure hell,” he said. His well was out of water because PG&E had shut off the power the day before, so he took the bottle of beer in his hand and went to work. “I just started throwing beer and water on the fire on my house and getting it put out as much as I could,” he said. All he had was his two hands, a little over a half a case of beer, and a case of water to save his home. He said he was shaking up the bottles and spraying them before taking a shovel and trying to knock out the flames. His home caught fire three times throughout the night. Each time, he was able to save it, but others weren’t so lucky. The local firehouse and Berry Creek Elementary School burned to the ground.“There was fire coming off the roof and it went so fast. The kindergarten classroom across the parking lot was not involved yet, and about 35-40 minutes later it, had just succumbed to the heat,” he said. The man was able to salvage a scrap of the school’s American flag that had been melted by the flames ending up as a painful reminder of what was lost. (KCRA)


Fighting cancer, Trojan Horse-style

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Germany have developed a method to kill cancer cells, all while leaving healthy cells unharmed. The researchers engineered molecular fibers programmed to respond to the unique, acidic qualities of cancer cells. Once they spot cancer, the fibers band together inside the cancer cells and ultimately destroy the tumors. This kind of targeted therapy could yield less harmful side effects than traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. Test results proved promising in the lab, but the method has yet to be trialed on animals or humans. (New Atlas)


The rise of the ‘pod teacher’

As schools across the U.S. and elsewhere struggle to navigate uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, families are banding together to hire “pod teachers,” educators who agree to teach small groups of students from parents’ homes. The benefit? Students receive in-person learning at a time when many schools have gone remote. And teachers can work in a classroom-style environment that may not be as much of a health risk as a full classroom at school. School leaders losing teachers to pod arrangements argue pods are not as safe as teachers assume and that they will only worsen educational inequality. (The Washington Post)


Peeps Won’t Be Making Halloween Or Christmas Shaped Marshmallows This Year Due To COVID-19

Just Born, the company behind Peeps, has put out a statement saying that they wouldn’t be releasing any new Christmas or Halloween Peeps in 2020 because of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their operations. This also includes Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales seasonal varieties as well. Their statement reads: “While PEEPS® Marshmallow Candies, MIKE AND IKE® and HOT TAMALES® would typically be available in fun shapes and packaging sizes for the Halloween and holiday seasons, unfortunately, the seasonal varieties will not be in stores again until 2021. As you may know, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, we temporarily suspended production of our candy brands to ensure the health and safety of our associates. In early May, we resumed limited production after making extensive changes in our plant that ensure the safety of our associates. This situation resulted in us having to make the difficult decision to forego production of our seasonal candies for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day in order to focus on meeting the expected overwhelming demand for PEEPS® for next Easter season, as well as our everyday candies.” (Delish)


Halloween postcard sent in 1920 finally gets delivered to a Michigan home a century late

A woman from Michigan received a postcard in her mailbox which had been sent almost exactly 100 years ago. A woman from Belding, Michigan said the message was completely unexpected and is now trying to find relatives of the intended recipient. The postcard had a George Washington stamp affixed in the top right hand corner and was postmarked October 29th, 1920 having been sent just before Halloween of that year, from Jamestown, Michigan. The front of the postcard depicts a witch together with a cat along with a goose and an owl and with a funny message, “Halloween greetings. Witch would you rather be? A goose or a pumpkin head?” She posted the letter on the “Positively Belding” page on Facebook and it already has more than 100 comments and dozens of shares. She hopes out of all those views someone can put her in touch with a relative to get it to the family. She said if she can’t find the family she’s gonna try and get it put into the museum in Belding. (Fox 17)


Florida city repeals 13-year ban on saggy pants

After 13 years, a South Florida city has overturned a ban on “saggy pants” — bottoms that reveal the wearer’s underwear. The Opa-locka City Commission voted 4-1 to repeal both the original 2007 legislation and a 2013 ordinance that said women, not just men, could receive civil citations for wearing pants that exposed their undergarments. The vote was a first reading of the repeal, meaning it will need to be approved again at a subsequent commission meeting before it’s official. But the item was co-sponsored by four of the five commissioners. Around the city, which is northeast of Miami, signs still warn folks of the ordinance. They showing an image of two young men wearing pants below their waists and featuring the words: “No ifs, ands or butts … It’s the city law!” (Opa-locka City, Florida Commission)


US lawmaker proposes cutting off protesters charged with federal crimes from CARES Act

A U.S. congressman has introduced a bill targeting protesters convicted for certain crimes to be cut off from receiving any federal funds and be liable to pay for damages. U.S. Representative Jim Banks from Indiana introduced the “Support Peaceful Protest Act” last week in the House of Representatives. The bill (H.R. 8117) targets protesters arrested and convicted of Federal crimes while protesting to pay restitution to the federal law enforcement agency policing the protests. The bill would also make anyone convicted of a Federal offense ineligible for unemployment compensation under the CARES Act if they are unemployed as well as any other unemployment compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Representative Banks issued a statement on his introduction of the bill, singling out Antifa and attributing the group with acts of “violence, looting, and vandalism,” although the bill does not single the group out specifically. (H.R. 8117)


Artist sells “Karen” Halloween masks, turning “let me speak to the manager” into a costume

One man is taking advantage of an interesting trend this year by charging up to $180 for what he’s calling “Karen” masks, just in time for Halloween. The term “Karen” has become synonymous in recent years for an over-entitled person, seen as using that air of superiority to monitor others while out in public. Sometimes incidents are seen as having racist overtones, or being blatantly racist while involving law enforcement in seemingly mundane or benign matters to exaggerate situations as a show of force. Los Angeles-based artist is selling some frightening latex masks with clearly exaggerated features on his Etsy account and promoting them on his social media. (Etsy)


WWII bracelet found in France to be returned to North Carolina family

A young man was in a lush field with a metal detector trying to see what he could find buried in the ground. He was compelled to look in this spot because his grandfather used to tell him World War II stories, which occurred in this very field. As a result of his upbringing, he has always had great admiration and respect for U.S. service members. During his search, he ended up finding a bracelet buried deep in the ground, with an inscription and some numbers beneath it. After doing some research, he determined it belonged to someone from the U.S. military. He held onto the bracelet for years, hoping one day to return it to its rightful owner but hitting one dead end after another. Then in January of this year, he made contact with professional genealogist who lives more than 4,000 miles away in Holland, Michigan. After a few weeks of working on the project day and night, He found the only living son of the name on the bracelet and called him on the phone. So, with the dots connected, he planned to fly from France to North Carolina to deliver the item personally. International travel was out of the question and everything was shutting down. So in March, they decided the best bet was to ship the bracelet. It sat in quarantine in France for almost three months. Finally, it got shipped to New York and sat in customs for almost two months after that. It didn’t make it to Michigan until late August and when it did, there was a huge hole in the cardboard box. Incredibly, the bracelet was still in there along with a letter. Now the genealogist plans to drive more than 700 miles to deliver the bracelet to the son in person. (WXII)


Lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair sells for more than $81,000

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair along with a blood-stained telegram about his 1865 assassination have been sold at auction for more than $81,000. The roughly 2-inch long lock of hair was removed during Lincoln’s postmortem examination after he was fatally shot at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth. It was presented to Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a Kentucky postmaster and a cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln, the 16th president’s widow, according to RR Auction. Dr. Todd was present when Lincoln’s body was examined. The hair is mounted on an official War Department telegram sent to Dr. Todd by George Kinnear, his assistant in the Lexington, Kentucky, post office. The telegram was received in Washington at 11 p.m. on April 14, 1865. The $81,250 selling price was slightly more than the $75,000 the auction house was hoping the items would fetch. The items were sold during an auction, according to RR Auction of Boston. No information about the buyer was disclosed. (ABC 33/40)


Parents in Tennessee are suing their school district for enforcing mask mandate

Parents in Williamson County, Tennessee are suing their local school district and superintendent over a district mask mandate. In Williamson County, roughly 30 minutes south of Nashville, a group of parents filed a lawsuit that claimed the school district is denying “substantially equal education opportunities available to other students in the state” according to the complaint. The complaint asks for a declaration that the district’s mandate is “beyond the authority granted to local school boards,” noting that a “significant number of school systems within the State does not have a mask mandate in effect.” Tennessee does not have a state-wide mask mandate. The mayor of Williamson County decided in late August to expire the county’s mask mandate and instead leave it to residents to voluntarily wear a mask. In their statement issued in July, the group of parents questioned the school district’s authority to implement a mask mandate. They demanded the school board “leave parents to focus on the health of their children while the school board focuses on resourcing our teachers.” (The Tennessean)


Tuesday Looks Spiffy With:

  • 8-Track Tape Day
  • Cheese Toast Day
  • Double Cheeseburger Day
  • Felt Hat Day
  • Get Ready Day (Third Tuesday)
  • Google.com Day
  • Greenpeace Day
  • International Day of Democracy
  • International Dot Day
  • IT Professionals Day (Third Tuesday)
  • Linguine Day
  • Neonatal Nurses Day
  • On-line Learning Day
  • Tackle Kids Cancer Day
  • World Lymphoma Awareness Day

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