FYI December 04, 2019

On This Day

1867 – Former Minnesota farmer Oliver Hudson Kelley founds the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (better known today as the Grange).
The Grange, officially named The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a fraternal organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture. The Grange, founded after the Civil War in 1867, is the oldest American agricultural advocacy group with a national scope. The Grange actively lobbied state legislatures and Congress for political goals, such as the Granger Laws to lower rates charged by railroads, and rural free mail delivery by the Post Office.

In 2005, the Grange had a membership of 160,000, with organizations in 2,100 communities in 36 states. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C., in a building built by the organization in 1960. Many rural communities in the United States still have a Grange Hall and local Granges still serve as a center of rural life for many farming communities.



Born On This Day

1777 – Juliette Récamier, French businesswoman (d. 1849)
Jeanne Françoise Jullie Adélaïde Récamier (French pronunciation: ​[ʒan fʁɑ̃swaz ʒyli ʁekamje]; 3 December 1777 – 11 May 1849), known as Juliette (French pronunciation: ​[ʒyljɛt]), was a French socialite, whose salon drew Parisians from the leading literary and political circles of the early 19th century.[1] As an icon of neoclassicism, Récamier cultivated a public persona of herself as a great beauty and her fame quickly spread across Europe. She befriended many intellectuals, sat for the finest artists of the age, and spurned an offer of marriage from Prince Augustus of Prussia.[2]




The generation that remembers Dec. 7, 1941 is slipping away from us. Some of them were children when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor 78 years ago. If they were five or older, they likely remember vividly where they were when they learned of the attack, and what happened next in their lives.

Today’s MRAK challenge: Call someone you know who is in their 80s or 90s, and ask them where they were when they heard the news of the attack. Write down the details of their account. Send the story to, and I’ll compile them for Saturday’s online edition of Must Read Alaska. Thank you!

First story is in!

BEND, OREGON: Marlys was a 12-year-old child in Bend. Her father, Bob Prentice, was a minister at the Presbyterian church and he and his wife Doris were at the church for their pastoral duties on Dec. 7, 1941, a Sunday, while Marlys was sick at home. At about noon, Marlys turned on the radio, tuned to the only station they had — KBND — and heard news of the attack crackle through the tubes. “I was laying in my bed and I was horrified. I was scared. When I heard my parents’ car pulling into the driveway, I leaned over the banister looking straight down the steps and shouted: ‘The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor!'” That’s how my parents heard the news.

“I didn’t say Japs — we were trained not to say things like that. Then the downstairs radio went on and we never left the radio that day. The president’s voice — I won’t forget when he came on the radio and said ‘We are at war.'”

“It drained our little town of all the young dads and lads overnight to create a big Army and Air Force. One of the members of the church — my father’s best friend and hunting buddy — signed up right away, and was killed in action, and so was my piano teacher’s son. The church was packed on Dec. 14, as people came to hear what my dad, the preacher, had to say.”

Send your story here.


CBS News: “I was being penalized for having breast cancer”: Survivor fights with insurance over follow-up tests
As for Neill’s bill? After CBS News contacted Aetna to ask about her case, it reversed course, saying, “We mistakenly did not apply the appropriate policy when Ms. Neill appealed. We apologize for this mistake.”

Neill said she doesn’t believe it.

“It’s all about money. The bottom line,” Neill said.

Aetna told us it will reprocess Neill’s claim and reimburse her for any out-of-pocket costs. We asked whether any other women were affected by that mistake but were told no, that Aetna believes this is “an isolated issue.”

But if you have a story to tell us about Aetna, mammograms or other medical prices, visit You can also email us at

The Guardian: Flashy fish: electric eel powers Tennessee aquarium’s Christmas tree Special system connected to Miguel’s tank enables his naturally occurring shocks to power strands of lights on a nearby tree

By Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN: A massive waterfall formed on Greenland’s ice sheet. Here’s why it matters
Google Fiber: All in on a Gig


By Victoria Jaggard, SCIENCE Executive Editor, National Geographic: TODAY’S BIG QUESTION: Should we sacrifice our skies for 5G service?
The Rural Blog: Three ‘Culture of Health’ prize winners are rural and more ->

The Passive Voice: Do We Have Minds of Our Own? More ->