Not trick-or-treating over coronavirus? Gainesville still has Halloween fun

Emilee Geist

Danielle Ivanov
 |  Special to The Sun
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In a state with the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, local residents are still finding ways to safely celebrate Halloween during the pandemic. From trunk-or-treating to costume photoshoots, Alachua County residents, students and businesses have come up with alternative new thrills to bring smiles to everyone’s faces this last week of October.

The big question on every kid and parent’s mind right now is will trick-or-treating still be a thing? In short, yes it will be, but definitely different from years past.

Popular neighborhoods like northeast Gainesville’s Duckpond area have asked residents not to participate in typical face-to-face and door-to-door candy gathering to avoid long lines and bottle-necking that could potentially mass-spread COVID-19. 

“Honestly, what we’re all most afraid of is

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The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Dramatically Changing the Way We Buy Cars

Emilee Geist

It took three phone calls to realize how little car shopping has changed in the COVID economy. 

In early August, I resigned myself to buying a new minivan; I knew precisely the one I wanted and found several online that were nearby and listed at fair prices. Yet, I could not manage to click my way to a “buy” button. Time and again, the digital threads ended with the promise of a phone call to finalize the details. That’s when the salesmen (they were all men) stepped in with near identical lines of patter. First, they asked what vehicle I was inquiring about to “make sure it was still available.” Second, they said that I would have to qualify for the price listed online. Finally, the kicker: “When can you come in?”

The dialogue was so dismissive of both the pandemic and contemporary digital retail that it was almost as

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Coronavirus pandemic remote schooling surge spurs parents to make desks for kids in need

Emilee Geist

As remote schooling surged during the pandemic, parents across the country realized that many kids didn’t have desks at home.

So they got busy building, collecting and donating them, giving hundreds or thousands of students workspaces to call their own and helping them get through long days of virtual learning.

For Mitch Couch in the Central California town of Lemoore, inspiration struck when his 16-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son kept taking over the kitchen table for their remote lessons. He made desks for them, and thought: Why not provide other people’s children with individual learning areas they could decorate with stickers and paint?

CALIFORNIA MAN BUILDS DOZENS OF DESKS TO SUPPORT VIRTUAL LEARNING FOR STUDENTS IN NEED

The desks he made were kid-size, simple and inexpensive, fashioned from plywood with a hutch for workbooks and papers. But they did the trick.

In this photo provided by Jessica Berrellez, volunteers build desks in Gaithersburg, Md. Berrellez and her husband, with the help of some 60 community volunteers, have built and donated over 100 desks to students and families in need.

In this photo provided by Jessica Berrellez, volunteers build

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Designs of the Year 2020 nominees include a Tik Tok dance and Wuhan’s coronavirus hospital

Emilee Geist

Among the 74 projects that have been shortlisted for this year’s Beazley Designs of the Year awards is a prefabricated hospital in Wuhan that was erected in only 10 days, Tik Tok’s viral Renegade dance and a steak that is grown from the eater’s own cells.



a cake on a plate: Beazley Designs of the Year 2020 nominees include the Ouroboros Steak


© Provided by Dezeen
Beazley Designs of the Year 2020 nominees include the Ouroboros Steak

The annual awards, organised by London’s Design Museum, highlight projects from the last year that have made a real-world impact in the spheres of digital, fashion, graphic and product design as well as transport and architecture.

This year’s selected designs are on view in a dedicated exhibition from today until 28 March 2021. They are arranged in chronological order, effectively counting down to the months leading up to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The exhibition starts in January 2019 with Australian studio Jack and Huei proposing Bleached Coral,

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With the Coronavirus Spiking in Italy, Domestic Consumption Drops

Emilee Geist

MILAN — With the coronavirus spiking again across the country, consumer consumption is falling once again following the summer holidays.

According to research conducted by Confimprese in collaboration with EY, September sales of fashion, beauty and interior design products, as well as those of restaurants, bars and cultural institutions, dropped 11.9 percent compared to August and 34.8 percent compared to September 2019.

Restaurants and fashion stores were the commercial activities most dramatically hit by the crisis with their turnovers down 37.8 and 35.3 percent compared to 2019, respectively. In September, purchases of fashion items decreased 7 percent compared to August, a month that benefited from the summer sales.

Revealing an increased interest toward household goods, sales of homeware and interior design objects registered less dramatic declines, with a 26.5 percent drop compared to 2019.

In September, while online sales were up 22.7 percent compared to last year, the business of

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Coronavirus Transforms Dallas’ Nerd Culture

Emilee Geist

From underground, to mainstream and now online, the world of roleplaying has had many cultural roles through  the years. It has recently come into its own, with celebrities playing and communities growing up around one of the most iconic examples of the genre: Dungeons & Dragons.

Dallas has a robust roleplaying culture based around Common Ground Games, 1328 Inwood Road in the Design District. This previously stigmatized hobby has become a jumping off point for friendships and a whole community — that is before the coronavirus swept into the city and forced in-person games to shut down.

“There are people playing online … but I can definitely tell that for a lot of people that’s not how they want to do it,” said Common Ground Games owner Jamison Sacks. “There are definitely a lot of people who are like ‘When I can play in the store again, I’ll play but

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Cedar Rapids teachers say coronavirus driving 60-hour weeks

Emilee Geist

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Community School District first-grade teacher Ann Heubner said she has never worked more overtime in her 30 years of teaching than she is this year in a pandemic.

Heubner is virtually teaching 38 first-graders from four different Cedar Rapids schools — double the size of most in-person classes this year.

From her basement office, Heubner teaches live, converts curriculum designed for in-person instruction to an online class, plans assignments, grades homework and communicates with parents.

“I feel like we’re building a plane while we’re flying it,” Heubner said, who volunteered to teach online classes because she knew the district needed online teachers “very badly.”

“I’m barely tech savvy, and I feel like we’re being treated like second-class citizens.”

The Cedar Rapids Education Association, a teachers union representing 720 members in the Cedar Rapids district, said teachers reported spending 20 hours on average a week working

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How have students fared in the coronavirus pandemic? New data sheds some light.

Emilee Geist

Complicating matters is that this shift poses challenges in accurately assessing student progress and participation. But as more data emerges, one thing continues to be clear, experts say — the pandemic is amplifying inequities between students.

Opportunity Insights, a data project from Harvard and Brown universities, has been tracking the economic impact of the pandemic on consumer spending, small business revenue, employment and education at tracktherecovery.org.

On the education front, it has partnered with Zearn, a math curriculum publisher that provides digital lessons and instruction to school districts and teachers. Using data from Zearn, Opportunity Insights has measured the progress and participation in online math coursework of some 800,000 students in kindergarten through fifth grade who were already using the platform

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How the wedding industry is struggling under strict coronavirus restrictions

Emilee Geist

 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

By now, wedding season should be reaching a triumphant end, thousands of bouquets thrown and garters tossed, with vendors retreating with fatigue. This year, of course, it never really got started.

Like most in the industry, Marianna Vaki, founder of London-based cake makers Whisk and Drizzle, began 2020 with a diary full of bookings but due to ongoing restrictions, she has been able to fulfil just 10 per cent of those orders, many of which had to be downsized. The rest of her brides have moved their weddings to next year, with some considering postponing again to 2022. If they do, she faces a second year with little-to-no income and the prospect that her business might not survive. “If weddings don’t resume next year, a lot of us won’t be here in 2022,” she says, adding that she is having to look for another job to make up

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9 ways to give yourself a coronavirus stimulus payment

Emilee Geist

9 ways to give yourself a coronavirus stimulus payment
9 ways to give yourself a coronavirus stimulus payment

As you wait to find out whether you’re getting more COVID-19 relief money from the government, the negotiations in Washington have become a soap opera.

The U.S. House — which is run by Democrats —this month passed another coronavirus relief package, including a second round of those $1,200 “stimulus checks” to help family budgets and stimulate the economy.

But, following his hospitalization for COVID, President Donald Trump said the White House was breaking off talks with the Democrats.

A few days later, he indicated the bargaining was back on. Still, the Republican leader in the Senate says it’s “unlikely” there will be any deal between the two parties before the election.

Had enough? If you could use another $1,200 right now, don’t wait around for Washington to get its act together. Here are 10 ways to find sources of cash and

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