Winter clothing drive, new vegan offerings at Iowa City’s Trumpet Blossom Cafe

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IOWA CITY — Trumpet Blossom Cafe and Katy Meyer already reinvented the way they provide all-vegan, all-local food in Iowa City, in response to COVID-19. Now, the 8.5-year-old restaurant and bar is reinventing its charity work, one of its pivotal qualities over time. Earlier this week, Trumpet Blossom hosted a winter clothing drive for the Iowa City Tenants Union and Shelter House. Meyer provided a complementary vegan treat to anyone who swung by to drop off winter clothes of any kind that they no longer need. The need for these…

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Leash on Life steps up support during coronavirus crisis

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IOWA CITY and NORTH LIBERTY — Leash on Life has given back to its communities for 15 years through donations to animal shelters throughout Johnson County. But when the coronavirus crisis hit, it was a “whole new beast,” says owner Laurie Smith. So Leash on Life stepped up its volunteer efforts: it began donating and transporting pet food to not just animal shelters, but also human food pantries, throughout Johnson County. Customers began volunteering to buy bags of pet food for those in need, and have been responsible for the…

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Since 1998: Love, hate during Coralville resident’s Matthew Shepard pilgrimage

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The bar where Matthew Shepard’s murderers lured him to his death was called The Fireside Bar & Lounge. By the time I visited it during a spontaneous roadtrip to Laramie, Wyo., in 2012, the bar had been closed and empty for many years. I could see through one glass panel and was surprised by how small it was.  Compared to images I had conjured of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney lurking in the shadowy background as they planned their attack on Matthew, this was absurd. I realized Matthew’s attackers couldn’t…

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Our ‘box full of darkness’ reminds us that after destruction comes rebirth

In the summer of 2018, I trained as a death midwife/doula and home funeral guide. In July 2019, a few months after my cat Henry died and I accompanied him through the process, I began working at a crematory for pets. I never would have thought of this profession for myself. But it has become clear, this is the career I am perhaps most suited for. Death can be sad and devastating, but it has taught me many things. Death can involve pain, suffering, violence and sorrow so profound it…

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Bartender’s fight against cancer during coronavirus crisis gets a boost Oct. 10

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IOWA CITY – We’ve known for months that bar and restaurant workers are hit especially hard during the coronavirus crisis. But some such workers are getting hit even harder than others. And one of those is Lis Wolf. A long-time bartender in the Iowa City area, Wolf was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in June, after a fast-growing tumor caused her leg to swell up to the point of interfering with her blood circulation. Now undergoing aggressive chemotherapy while still trying to squeeze in a few hours of work each week…

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Find many more voices through the new National News Feed, Self-Publish pages

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We often say this publication represents voices not often heard. Now, thanks to two new features, The Real MainStream will represent many, many, MANY more voices less heard. Most urgently, we now offer a National News Feed. In this contentious, confusing and sometimes chaotic information world, this new feature is an essential tool. Updated several times a day, the National News Feed contains curated links to some of today’s best intersectional, LGBTQ-identified, compassionate news, feature and thought pieces. The Feed is conveniently arranged in topics of broad interest that reflect…

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Poetry: Mount Pleasant activist ponders true meaning of respect

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“Often, people try to control discussion through a single word. It sounds logical, until we take a deeper look.” Bob Mueller wrote his poem, “Respect,” to challenge a word oft-repeated, and sometimes exploited. Bob helped found the new Mount Pleasant PFLAG chapter and is active in Iowa Welcomes its Immigrant Neighbors (WINS). He retired to Mount Pleasant, just east of Iowa City, from Chicago’s surburbs, where he lived for more than 26 years with his late partner, Todd. “Respect” by Bob Mueller Respect can come in many forms. And in…

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“Justice for Breonna Taylor” inspires events throughout Iowa, Illinois

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Events are coming together quickly throughout Iowa and Illinois to honor the late Breonna Taylor, the Louisville victim of a police raid shooting earlier this year. Racial justice events are happening tonight in Decatur and Elgin, Ill; tomorrow (Saturday) in Belleville, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa; and next week in West Branch, Davenport and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. The events are organized by many of the social justice groups that have become more familiar since June, Advocates for Social Justice in Cedar Rapids and We FIGHT in Davenport. Online events about racial justice are growing almost daily, and you’ll find several highlighted in the…

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New Calendar of Events helps find the highlights in Iowa, Illinois

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Are you overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) with events to partake of in the COVID-19 era? We’re trying to do our part to help, with the new Calendar of Events for Iowa and Illinois, updated twice a week. You’ll find highlight events here throughout the two states that help promote intersectionality and a more collaborative society. Read here about the latest Calendar, updated Tues., Sept. 22. You can also catch a summary of highlights, like Illinois’ “Pride Fest 2020” virtual celebration, and St. Louis’ art gallery tour of historic depictions of the…

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