Iowa City’s Trumpet Blossom finds new ways to support local groups

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IOWA CITY — Fresh off of unprecedented recognition in Little Village’s CRANDIC awards, Trumpet Blossom Cafe is focusing anew on supporting others. Starting the first week of December, Iowa City’s only all-vegan cafe began donating 10 percent of sales of its “Take & Bake” weekly menu to a community group in eastern Iowa. This week’s recipient is the Domestic Violence Intervention Program. Last week’s beneficiary was Corridor Community Action Network (CCAN), formed in 2019 to help connect nonprofit groups with each other, volunteers, donors and those in need. CCAN will…

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TRM BEHIND THE SCENES: An evolving eastern Iowa through the lens of LV’s CRANDIC

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IOWA CITY — Our worlds are changing so quickly — and one great illustration of that is the Third Annual Best of the CRANDIC from Little Village Mag, just announced last week to celebratory social media fanfare throughout the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. Even though the CRANDIC awards are presented by “another” publication, honoring them is a worthwhile effort. • To honor Little Village Mag by recognizing its CRANDIC awards is to pay homage to a respected ancestor, in a way. LV has been publishing since 2001, though these awards…

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Spacious new Cedar Rapids home for ReAlive Metaphysical following derecho damage

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A new home for ReAlive Metaphysical means more space inside and outside for a safer shopping experience, says owner Korrina Dawson. The longtime metaphysical store now has 2,300 square feet and is part of a storefront parking lot with more than 20 spaces. ReAlive was forced to relocate when the August derecho destroyed the roof of its Marion location. Its new location on Cedar Rapids’ southwest side is pulling strong business, Dawson says. Before relocating, ReAlive had to close for about six weeks while it figured out…

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Queer, BIPOC activists unpack white privilege, white urgency in “Dah Tea”

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Burnout among Black activists and community leaders is real, and so is the role that white privilege can play — even among “woke” white people active in the fight for racial justice — in triggering it, worsening it, and covering it over. That’s the theme of “Dah Tea,” a new Instagram Live discussion, where queer Black/Indigenous/People of Color activists unpack the challenges of maintaining self-care and healthy boundaries while simultaneously responding to greater awareness of systemic racism among historically privileged whites. “These are meant to be quick, light-hearted chats, and…

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Iowa City’s WOB rises to challenges of COVID-19, historic bicycling interest

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IOWA CITY — Here and there, silver linings exist during the COVID-19 crisis — and one of those is a burst in bicycling interest across the United States so strong it’s made worldwide news. For Iowa City’s World of Bikes, this phenomenon has meant historic sales levels, more workers who are asked to work less, and getting creative about keeping up with the never-ending demand while staying safe. WOB, for instance, created an outdoor sales kiosk and even now only lets customers inside under limited, controlled circumstances with new disinfection…

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Velvet Lotus kicks off two weeks of fundraising with tattoo session

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The tattooing is over — but the fundraising has just begun. Take a look below at the artists from Velvet Lotus Tattoo, hard at work during Friday’s “Tats for Tots” tattoo session. The staff applied 13 tattoos to donors who entered a raffle to not only receive a tattoo, but also donate at least $50 to “Tats for Tots” and the families and children it benefits. Tats for Tots happens every year at Velvet Lotus; Founded almost eight years ago by social worker Annie Ventullo, the event has been at…

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Velvet Lotus keeps ‘Tats for Tots’ alive despite COVID-19

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Annie Ventullo remembers hearing from a school social worker one year, about a child in an abusive situation whose parents routinely threw away her toys at home. “Could we get her some stuff she can play with while at school?” the social worker asked Ventullo, after hearing that she ran an annual fundraising effort for needy families. The exchange is one example of the wide variety of people Ventullo and Velvet Lotus Tattoos aim to help each year with Tats for Tots. Kicking off today and continuing through Dec. 1,…

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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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SOMM Wines stays a step ahead, finds new COVID-aware location during crisis

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FAIRFIELD — SOMM Wines’ response to the coronavirus crisis has been like a textbook in “one step ahead.” Before most businesses were even thinking about the virus, back in early March, SOMM owner Krista Matthes put out a summary of heightened disinfection. When “curbside” hadn’t yet become part of the retail lexicon, Matthes was already offering it. Before many businesses were thinking of closing to in-store traffic, SOMM had already shut its doors and begun to focus only on running outside to hand off product to customers. When it was…

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