Deer Friends press to end mass killings

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Amid all the huge issues facing society, a tradition of mass killing has become par for the course. For the second year in a row, Iowa City will be the site of a mass deer killing starting Oct. 1 and continuing through Jan. 1, 2021. Last year, the en masse massacre took place with sharp-shooting guns. This year, it will happen with hunting bows. Truth is, both measures of deer control are ineffective in the mid- to long-term, reek of casual animal cruelty, and present challenges of safety. Read in…

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To step into your writer self, read your own story

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I constantly have conversations with people who commend me for being a writer and within the same breath, assure me that they could never be one. Here’s a story about one of those people. A student of mine, we’ll call her June, regularly attends the weekly IC Speaks workshops at her school, and it’s undeniable–nearly contagious–how excited she is about writing and performing.  One week, she brought a friend (or more accurately, dragged her friend) into the workshop by the wrist, amidst groans and protests.  When I asked our visitor…

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Writers are pushed to write more through NaNoWriMo

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At least 50,000 words written in thirty days. Such is the insanity I undertake every November, along with hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. November was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and according to, over 400,000 people participated last year in over 655 regions on six continents. I was one of them. I have participated in NaNoWriMo since November 2015. That first year, I was enormously pregnant with my youngest, who was born eight days after NaNo finished.  But I actually won. I wrote those 50,000…

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Toxic masculinity can affect victims, too

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When I was a child, bullying was part of my existence. I had buck teeth and a stutter, making me a target for all kinds of bullies. I was called names, hit, kicked, spit on, etc. I had my possessions taken and destroyed. I dreaded going to school. As a sixth-grader, I remember playing shirts and skins basketball and noticing I had bruises going up and down my arms from being punched. I didn’t know it at the time, but a lot of kids – up to 77 percent of…

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TNR takes off throughout Iowa


There’s a common scene Chris Whitmore encounters as animal control coordinator for Iowa City. A family, often from a rural homestead or tiny town, brings in a six-week-old kitten to the shelter for adoption. “Where’s the mother?” Whitmore or her staff will ask. “We don’t know where she went,” they’ll answer. “Well, would you like to try to live-trap her so she can be spayed?” they’re asked. “No, not really,” is usually their answer. “And they just keep the cycle going of bringing kittens in to us year after year,”…

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Tuesday’s “Think Kink” at Blazing Saddle kicks off 2020 Midwest Leather Events

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The year in leather kicks off with two events intended to promote a sense of safety, security, consent, and healthy practices in leather and BDSM. Here’s a start on what’s coming this year in the kink scene: • The Blazing Saddle kicks off a monthly night of kink education on Tues., Jan. 14th, with “Think Kink: The Art of Consent.” Actual Iowa Leather Weekend title-holders will be providing informed guidance on various topics of kink. The sessions are free, open to anyone 18 and over, and take place 7 to…

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Roller Derby Lags on Trans, Nonbinary Inclusiveness

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The first-ever gender policy for the organization that helps roller derby grow worldwide came out in 2011. It was clinical, and harsh. If you were not assigned female at birth, the policy said, a healthcare provider had to verify that your “sex hormones are within the medically acceptable range for a female.” Ouch. My most recent article about my love for roller derby described the significance of the sport in terms of feminist empowerment and gender inclusivity. This time, I am writing to share that as much as roller derby…

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More hate fliers hit Quad Cities

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QUAD CITIES – Hate fliers continue to appear on posts and wrapped around freely distributed newspapers in Iowa City and throughout the Quad Cities. Iowa City has been hit at least four times in the past year with fliers that either encourage people to report their neighbors to ICE, or that reference “white babies.” In the Quad Cities, newspapers including this one and Little Village Magazine have been used as transmission devices to carry hateful flier, which are wrapped around the papers and thrown in people’s yards. Shopper inserts in…

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Iowa Safe Schools leads fight against conversion therapy

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DES MOINES – A renewed effort is on to ban conversion therapy in Iowa, and Nate Monson is optimistic that the 2020 legislative session will generate some form of significant progress in outlawing a practice widely regarded as abuse. “This is a bipartisan issue,” says Nate Monson, head of Iowa Safe Schools, the nonprofit that is leading a charge against conversion therapy. “A lot of people don’t realize that seven of the bans in other states, done by executive order, were signed by Republican governors. This is something I believe…

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Escaping domestic violence when LGBTQ can be complicated

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QUAD CITIES — If you’re a gay man trying to escape from domestic violence, your path out can seem almost impossible. “The police may not understand,” says Mona Ritemon, the new LGBTQ domestic violence advocate for the Quad Cities. “If a man gets beat up by his boyfriend, they may just look at him and say, ‘Man up. What’s the problem?’ “ Or what if you’re a lesbian who realizes you’re being abused by your partner? Sometimes, threats of outing you to your family, co-workers or church may lead you…

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