Q: I have a land line through Mediacom. There was a phone outage that lasted from Dec. 19 into the next day. What was the cause of that outage?

A: According to the company, “Over several days in mid-December, Mediacom executed a process to migrate the flow of some phone and internet traffic to a new network provisioning platform. With IP-based phone service, voice signals are transmitted as digital IP packets. When the provisioning process routed voice and data signals to the new platform, most customer modems automatically accepted the new configuration. Other modems were slower to re-align, and in those cases customers could simply re-start their modem just as they would do to accept updates to Smartphone applications.”

Q: Can you print some history of the Marine Corps League and the Tun Tavern?

A: Tun Tavern is a brewery in Philadelphia where the Marine Corps was officially founded in 1775. According to the national organization, “Members of the Marine Corps League join in camaraderie and fellowship for the purpose of preserving traditions — promoting the interests of the United States Marine Corps, banding together those who are now serving in the United States Marine Corps and those who have been honorably discharged from that service ... voluntarily aiding and rendering assistance to all Marines, FMF corpsmen, chaplains, and former Marines, FMF corpsmen, chaplains, and their widows and orphans.”

Q: What year and for what reason did Puerto Rico become a province of the United States?

A: Puerto Rico became a U.S. possession in 1898 after the Spanish-American war. It was valued for its strategic location, sugar crops and opportunities for American business. Residents received U.S. citizenship in 1917, and Puerto Rico became a U.S. commonwealth in 1952.

Q: I thought they were mailing out new Medicare cards that aren’t tied to Social Security numbers, but I didn’t receive one. Was this information true?

A: The cards are supposed to come between April 2018 and April 2019, according to Medicare.gov.

Q: I have an ice pick advertising Crystal Ice and Fuel, with a phone number of 48. How old might this be?

A: It probably dates to sometime between 1900 and 1919. A 1900 newspaper ad for A. Wood and Sons Coal has a 48 telephone number. Crystal Distribution was organized in the late 1800s, but a 1905 newspaper notice for Crystal Ice and Fuel had no number listed. The first time we see the two linked is in a 1919 ad for Crystal Ice, with an address at Mullan and Sycamore and the 48 phone number.

Questions are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.