Good news Thursday: Isolated retirees become DJs, cranes reunite families


A big-city orchestra salvages a student’s canceled recital

In this Friday, May 1, 2020, photo, violist Brooke Mead poses for a photograph in Philadelphia. Devastated by the cancellation of her graduate recital because of coronavirus concerns, Mead was invited to perform instead on the Philadelphia Orchestra’s live webcast. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Performing arts students across the country had their senior performances canceled as universities moved to virtual instruction. When Temple University student Brooke Mead’s recital was canceled, she asked the Philadelphia Orchestra for advice during their online question-and-answer session.

The orchestra offered Mead the opportunity to perform her recital as part of one of their live webcasts. “It’s been a bit of a roller coaster emotionally, just thinking about going from a packed hall to no hall, to having possibly to record yourself, to then having this virtual audience,” Mead told the Associated Press.

Red Sox reporter turns auctioneer, raises $57K for charity

In this 2011 photo provided by David Cotillo, his son Chris Cotillo, left, poses with former Boston Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell during an autograph session in Boston. Chris Cotillo, a Red Sox beat writer for in 2020, raised tens of thousands of dollars by selling autographed baseball memorabilia he had collected as a teen and items that others donated for the auction. (David Cotillo via AP)

Boston Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo was out of a job when the MLB postponed their season because of the outbreak. Cotillo decided to do something worthwhile with his time while he waited for the season to begin again, so he began selling some of his autographed baseball cards on Twitter and donating the profits to charity.

So far he has sold more than 350 items and raised over $57,000. “I was just going to go through it until I ran out of my own stuff,” he told the Associated Press. “But donations keep coming.”

Retirees isolated by virus become DJs for new radio hour

Retiree Bob Coleman poses on Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Franklin, Tenn., with a picture of his late wife, Emily, whom he dedicated a song to on his radio show. Coleman is one of several retirees who have turned into DJs for a new online radio hour known as “Radio Recliner.” The 60-minute show began airing last month, starting with retirees in middle Tennessee, who had been quarantined due to concerns over COVID-19. (AP Photo/Kimberlee Kruesi)

An online radio hour called “Radio Recliner” started hiring retirees in Tennessee as DJs to help the isolated seniors stay connected during the pandemic. The program now has DJs from assisted-living centers in Georgia and Alabama as well.

The DJs record their introductions and transitions and select the songs; the Radio Recliner production team then puts it all together into a seamless radio show.

Cranes reunite families in corona crisis

Jean-Claude Van Heule, left, receives a visit by crane platform from his brother, Omer Van Heule, at the La Cambre senior living home in Watermael-Boitsfort, Belgium. Tristan Van den Bosch, an operator of mobile platforms, saw his equipment stand idle because of the coronavirus pandemic and realized too many families could not see their locked-up elderly in care homes. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

Tristan Van den Bosch was on his way to work one morning when he saw a man trying to speak with his mother who lived on the third floor of a senior living home. Families haven’t been able to speak with their relatives in care homes for months because of the pandemic, so Van den Bosch came up with a plan to help.

Van den Bosch worked for a cleaning and maintenance company in Belgium whose cranes had been mostly unused during the pandemic, and he started using these cranes to lift families up to speak to their relatives on the upper floors of care homes.

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