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Wednesday CoronaBuzz, December 23, 2020: 27 pointers to updates, useful stuff, research news, and more.

Nine month anniversary of doing this and my hair looks sillier every day. Please wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay at home if you can. Please be careful. I love you.


University of Minnesota: New online tool shows how small group gatherings can increase COVID-19 infections in MN. “When it comes to COVID-19, it can be difficult to see how small group gatherings can lead to an increase of cases across the state. Most people aren’t educated in infectious disease dynamics and hardly anyone alive has lived through a pandemic. To make the concept easier to understand, Associate Professor Eva Enns created an online tool to demonstrate how individual social gatherings can accumulate to significantly raise the number of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations occurring state-wide.” It looks like it could work for anywhere; there are two Minnesota-specific data points but you can change them on the “Model Inputs” tab of the tool.


Oil City News: UW: Covid Situation ‘improved’ Across Much Of Wyoming, Including Natrona. “The University of Wyoming are offering a new interactive COVID-19 dashboard that aims to give the public a new tool for monitoring data surrounding the pandemic in a way that is ‘tailored for rural areas.’”

Deadline: L.A. County Coronavirus Update: Mayor Eric Garcetti Announces New Interactive Covid Map, Responds To Congress’ New Stimulus Check. “On Monday Garcetti unveiled a new interactive map of Los Angeles that would provide Angelenos will real time information about infection rates and deaths in varying neighborhoods. In addition to visualizing real-time information about the coronavirus ins Los Angeles, the new map also features quick access to Covid-19 test registration.”


Mental Floss: Doctor’s 60-Second Trick Makes Any Face Mask Fit Better. “As face masks have become part of daily life, people have come up with innovative ways to make them more comfortable and effective. There are tricks for masking up without hurting your ears, fogging up your glasses, or breaking out. This new tip from Olivia Cuid, M.D. could be the key to making large masks fit better around your face.”


VentureBeat: Studies reveal verified social media users are fueling COVID-19 fake news. “In their survey, between January 1 and October 31, the IU and Politecnico researchers canvassed over 53 million tweets and more than 37 million Facebook posts across 140,000 pages and groups. They identified close to a million low-credibility links that were shared on both Facebook and Twitter, but bots alone weren’t responsible for the spread of misinformation. Rather, aside from the first few months of the pandemic, the primary sources of low-credibility information tended to be high-profile, official, and verified accounts, according to the coauthors. Verified accounts made up almost 40% of the number of retweets on Twitter and almost 70% of reshares on Facebook.”

WRAL: Fact check: Social media mixes up COVID relief, omnibus bills. “On Dec. 21, lawmakers in both chambers of Congress passed a $2.3 trillion spending package: a roughly $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill — consisting of 12 different bills to fund the government during fiscal year 2021 — and a separate, approximately $900 billion bill specifically for COVID-19 relief. Lawmakers also passed several other smaller bills. It’s the $1.4 trillion part of the package that included funding for U.S. policies and priorities within the country and abroad. The Facebook post conflates provisions of the COVID-19 relief bill with provisions in the omnibus spending bill.”


American Independent: The pandemic has been great for the super-rich. “The 651 billionaires in the United States have seen their collective wealth grow by $1 trillion since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, according to a new study…That’s enough money to be able to send a $3,000 stimulus check to every single person in the country.”

Washington Post: A rural S.D. community ignored the virus for months. Then people started dying.. “In a state where the Republican governor, Kristi L. Noem, has defied calls for a statewide mask mandate even as cases hit record levels, many in this rural community an hour west of Sioux Falls ignored the virus for months, not bothering with masks or social distancing. Restaurants were packed. Big weddings and funerals went on as planned. Then people started dying.”


AL .com: UAB asks retired nurses to help fight pandemic as staffing levels wane. “[University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital] is calling on retired nurses and nursing students to join its pandemic efforts as the hospital faces staffing shortages and COVID-19 hospitalizations rise.”


New York Times: Will Art Lovers Open Their Wallets for Online Tours?. “Since the National Gallery’s blockbuster ‘Artemisia’ exhibition opened in October, art lovers have had to jump through hoops to see it. Travel restrictions have kept international visitors away, the fear of catching the coronavirus hangs over the city’s public transportation system, and rolling lockdowns — or the threat of them — have made life in England uncertain. The latest national shutdown closed the museum entirely from Nov. 5 to Dec. 2. If those circumstances make a visit to London sound unappealing, there is an alternative: a ‘virtual tour’ of the show on the museum’s website.”


Los Angeles Times: Shaken studios. Empty theaters. What Hollywood lost during the pandemic. “The Spanish flu of 1918 helped spur the creation of the Hollywood studio system under moguls such as Paramount Pictures co-founder Adolph Zukor, who took the opportunity to buy up failing theaters. Hollywood is experiencing another massive disruption today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Titans of the entertainment and media business posted huge losses, with more pain to come. Industry-rattling trends that were expected to play out over multiple years — including the shift of movies from theaters to streaming services — have instead happened over the course of a few months.”

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Coronavirus takes toll on Black, Latino child care providers. “Policy experts say the U.S. spends a small fraction of federal funds on child care compared to other industrialized nations, an underfunding exacerbated by COVID-19. Soon nearly half of the child care centers in the U.S. may be lost, according to the Center for American Progress.”


Washington Post: Maryland jurisdictions announce tougher coronavirus restrictions as region’s caseloads surge. “Leaders of Maryland’s most populous jurisdictions pushed for unified shutdowns Wednesday to curb the surging coronavirus as some reimposed the toughest restrictions since the spring. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) proposed banning all indoor dining, hours after Baltimore City forbade any dining at restaurants, indoors or outdoors. The city’s new protocols are the strictest in Maryland since shutdowns during the first wave of infections.”

KDKA: Pa. Dept. Of Health Launches New Digital Tool To Help Contact Tracers. “The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced new technology designed to help slow the spread of coronavirus across the Commonwealth. The Connect and Protect form is a type of digital case investigation designed to make the contact tracing process much faster.”


BBC: Covid: France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship. “Hundreds of immigrants in France working on the coronavirus frontline have had their service to the country recognised with fast-track citizenship. The interior ministry invited residents helping with efforts against Covid-19 to apply for accelerated naturalisation. More than 700 have already been granted citizenship or are in the final stages of receiving it.”


New York Times: 18 Days After Giving Birth, Woman Dies From Covid-19. “Erika Becerra was eight months pregnant when she learned she had tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost immediately after she got the result, her body began aching, she developed a fever and she felt tightness in her chest. When she began having trouble breathing, her husband called for an ambulance. Three days later, on Nov. 15, she gave birth in a Detroit hospital to a healthy boy, Diego. She never got to hold him, her brother told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.”


ProPublica: The Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped This School District From Suing Parents Over Unpaid Textbook Fees. “When the pandemic started, several school districts in Indiana halted a long-standing practice: suing families for unpaid textbook fees. But one school district has filed nearly 300 lawsuits against parents, and others also have returned to court.”


BBC: UK has two cases of variant linked to South Africa. “The UK has detected two cases of another new variant of coronavirus, the health secretary Matt Hancock says. The cases in London and north west England are contacts of people who travelled to South Africa, where the variant was discovered. Travel restrictions with South Africa have been imposed.”

Los Angeles Times: COVID-19 hit Latinos hard. Now officials must build trust around vaccine in the community. “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, has warned that the pandemic will continue to disrupt lives unless the ‘overwhelming majority’ of Americans get vaccinated. While the process of creating vaccines has happened with extraordinary speed, he said, it has not been ‘at the expense of safety and scientific integrity.’ But as states plan for vaccine distribution, an all-too-important question has arisen: How many people will take it? That question might prove especially pivotal for groups that have seen the highest casualty rates from COVID-19.”

New York Times: Their Teeth Fell Out. Was It Another Covid-19 Consequence?. “Earlier this month, Farah Khemili popped a wintergreen breath mint in her mouth and noticed a strange sensation: a bottom tooth wiggling against her tongue. Ms. Khemili, 43, of Voorheesville, N.Y., had never lost an adult tooth. She touched the tooth to confirm it was loose, initially thinking the problem might be the mint. The next day, the tooth flew out of her mouth and into her hand. There was neither blood nor pain.”


Google Blog: How you’ll find accurate and timely information on COVID-19 vaccines. “As the world turns its focus to the deployment of vaccines, the type of information people need will evolve. Communities will be vaccinated at an unprecedented pace and scale. This will require sharing information to educate the public, including addressing vaccine misperceptions and hesitance, and helping to surface official guidance to people on when, where and how to get vaccinated. Today, we’re sharing about how we’re working to meet these needs—through our products and partnering with health authorities—while keeping harmful misinformation off our platforms.”

University of Missouri: Mizzou Engineers Using Twitter to Track COVID-19. “Mizzou Engineers are taking to Twitter to track COVID-19 and analyze the virus’s impact on individual health. Yijie Ren, Jiacheng Xie and Lei Jiang are using Twitter’s built-in programming interface to search tweets for key phrases such as “I tested positive.” From there, they’re delving deeper into the Twitter user’s account to log symptoms and recovery experiences.”


Arizona State University: ASU student team’s fog-free mask design wins $1 million international competition. “A student team from Arizona State University has won the million-dollar XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge to redesign the face masks used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making them more comfortable, functional and affordable. The contest drew nearly 1,000 entries from young innovators in more than 70 countries around the world. The ASU team made the top five in early December; the grand prize was announced Tuesday.”

University of Florida: Smell tests evaluated as potential tool to identify COVID-19. “A team of University of Florida neuroscientists will analyze two different smell tests under a new National Institutes of Health grant aimed at developing inexpensive, at-home tests to help identify new cases of COVID-19 and provide a warning sign of a community outbreak in time to thwart it.”


FBI: Federal Agencies Warn of Emerging Fraud Schemes Related to COVID-19 Vaccines. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines. The FBI, HHS-OIG, and CMS have received complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information (PII) and money through various schemes.”


Mashable: How cosmetic glitter improved my self-confidence on Zoom calls. “I’ll be honest: It’s 2020 and I feel like shit. My clothes are tight. I never feel clean. The family couch and I have developed an identical, yet unidentifiable smell. Things are dire for me and my self-esteem right now — and unless those vaccines start moving a whole lot faster, things are going to stay dire for a while. So thank god for those iridescent discs I sometimes glue to my face, the tiny scraps of plastic that have been keeping me together in these difficult, socially distant times.”


NPR: Mask Up! How Public Health Messages Collide With Facebook’s Political Ads Ban. “Facebook halted political advertising after polls closed on Election Day. With votes being counted, President Donald Trump and his supporters spread false claims and conspiracy theories about the results. But nearly two months later, the Electoral College has affirmed Joe Biden’s victory and yet Facebook’s temporary pause is still in place. The ad ban illustrates the difficult tradeoffs Facebook is making, with every decision carrying ramifications for billions of users.”

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Seavers in the News — Mrs. Joel Seaver Dies in New York in 1907

It’s time for another edition of “Seavers in the News” – a weekly feature from the historical newspapers about persons with the surname Seaver that are interesting, useful, mysterious, fun, macabre, or add information to my family tree database.

This week’s entry is from the Burlington [Vt.] Free Press newspaper dated 25 December 1907:

The transcription of the article is:

(special to the Free Press)

“Malone, N.Y., Dec. 24 — Mrs. Joel J. Seaver, wife of the late Colonel Seaver, died at her home of her son this afternoon after a brief illness, aged 62 years.  Mrs. Seaver has one son, Herbert H., assistant cashier of the People’s National bank of Malone; and two stepsons, Frederick J. Seaver, private secretary to State Bank Superintendent Clark Williams at Albany, and Albert Seaver, who is in the employ of the Japanese government.  Her husband was for many years a close personal friend of the late Vice-President William A. Wheeler, and one of the original founders and owners of the Malone Palladium.”

The source citation is:

“Death of Mrs. Joel Seaver,” The Burlington [Vt.] Free Press newspaper, obituary, Wednesday, 25 December 1907, page 2, column 1, Mrs. Joel Seaver   ( : accessed 14 November 2019).

This is another obituary where the subject’s first name and maiden name are not mentioned.  The death date is 24 December 1907 in Malone, New York, and she is 62 years old, so she was probably born in 1845.  The obituary does provide her son’s name and occupation, and her two step-sons names and occupations.
Her husband’s name is prominently given, and he is called “Colonel” so was probably an officer in the Civil War.  He was also a friend of a former Vice-President of the United States.  
Joel Joshua Seaver (1822-1899) was born in Salisbury, Vermont, the son of Joshua and Betsey (Bigelow) Seaver.  He married (1) Ann Eliza Brown (1824-1869) in Malone in 1849, and they had two sons, Frederick and Albert.  Joel Seaver married (2) Mary Elizabeth Hadley (1845-1907), and they had one son, Herbert. 
The subject of this obituary is the second wife, Mary Elizabeth (Hadley) Seaver. 
Joel Joshua Seaver is my 2nd cousin 5 times removed, and his three sons are my 3rd cousins 4 times removed.  I wonder if there is an obituary for him, since he seems to have led an eventful life.  YES!! There is one in the New York Times in 1899.
There are over 8,000 Seaver “stories” in my family tree – this was one of them.   Life happens, accidentally and intentionally, and sometimes the life of a person is memorialized in an obituary without her given forename or maiden surname.  I am glad I can honor Mary Elizabeth (Hadley) Seaver today.


Disclosure:  I have a paid subscription to and have used it extensively to find articles about my ancestral and one-name families.

The URL for this post is:   

Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Follow-Up to Another “Interesting” Obituary about Joseph Heller, Jr.

Last week I published an article at about Joe Heller’s obituary. It seems that his funeral and burial ceremony have now taken place and, as you might expect, both were a bit “unusual.”

According to the New York Times at

On Friday morning, Mr. Heller’s body, in a coffin draped with an American flag, was placed on the 1941 Mack fire truck he helped restore and taken to Centerbrook Cemetery to be buried next to his wife, Irene, who died in 2015, and whom he embarrassed daily “with his mouth and choice of clothing,” according to the obituary.

Family members followed the fire truck in Mr. Heller’s immaculately restored 1932 Plymouth roadster with, as per his request, a set of plastic testicles dangling from the rear bumper.

There’s more information available at:

New EdgeStar


The following review is addressed to wine savvies who acknowledge the importance of temperature in wine storage and serving and are searching for a cooler with an extensive capacity. The good news is that the New EdgeStar Cooler is among the units that can easily comply with these demands, due to its 46 bottles capacity, the storing section with individually set temperatures and the brilliantly efficient and sturdy construction. To put it simply this model takes into account all the factors that make for an excellent wine storage solution and innovatively incorporates them. Let’s find out the reasons why the New EdgeStar unit has been so acclaimed by private and commercial customers.


  • It includes two cooling sections, for storing wine varieties with distinctive requirements 
  • Upper section temperature range is between 41 and 51 degrees Fahrenheit ( for white wine)
  • Lower section temperature range is between 54 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit (for red wine)
  • Upper section can accommodate 14 normal size bottles; lower section has a 32 bottle capacity
  • The dual paned doors can be locked and account for an excellent insulation
  • It includes an auto-defrosting feature
  • The interior is light by powerful blue-colored LEDs
  • Rubber has been used to mitigate the noise caused by the compressor and the vibrations
  • Measures 23.5×33.25×22.75 inches, weighs approximately 80 pounds, 46 standard size bottle capacity
  • Low power consumption, 115 V, 300 W, 60 Hz, 2.5 A
  • Upper section equipped with between 1 and eight shelves, lower section includes 1 to 6 shelves (wood)
  • Each shelf includes aluminium capping for better adherence
  • Casing constructed of stainless steel and plastic
  • The New EdgeStar best wine coolers unit has been approved by the ETL


Overall, any individual with an extensive collection of wine can benefit from the New EdgeStar significantly. Although mostly designed to work with wine bottles of typical size, removing some shelves can accommodate larger ones as well. It is necessary to point out that this model is among the preferred ones for commercial purposes, due to the high capacity, low noise level and energy efficiency. While it still works on the compression cooling method, the motor has been enhanced significantly, and you will not be able to tell the difference between it and a thermoelectric one.

A further reason to acquire this model is the versatility provided by the two storing sections with proper temperatures. Since white wine and red wine have unique requirements, the only way to store them properly would have been to purchase two different coolers. However, the New EdgeStar cooler has solved the problem brilliantly. The construction of the casing and the shelves, though targeting the functionality aspects, looks excellent and is enhanced by the interior LED light. The singular quarrel with this cooler would be that a few adjustments could have allowed it to accommodate larger bottles, but it is perceived as a minor setback.


To put it simply, the New EdgeStar wine cooler can accommodate an approximate number of 46 wine bottles in excellent conditions, regardless of the assortment. It is compact, well designed, sturdy and versatile, which makes it an excellent purchase. Moreover, it can be used as a countertop, under top or freestanding and takes up quite a small amount of space, if you were to consider its capacity. Overall, the New EdgeStar employs innovative principles to provide the highest amount of storage space, reduce the energy consumption, maintain the preset temperatures constant and give your collection an impressive look.