TRM BEHIND THE SCENES: Find community during COVID with expanded Calendar

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To help provide support during this COVID-shaped winter season, we’ve made some big improvements to The Real MainStream Calendar. More online events, more recognition of nontraditional holidays, and more annual “awareness” days — both fun and serious — are now part of the Calendar, updated weekly and highlighted in the TRM Weekly newsletter. We’re all striving to find belonging and community, while also trying to stay away from each other! These challenges are peaking right now and will for months, as COVID-19 surges across the country and especially in Iowa…

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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 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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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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For non-Black people: how to stop perpetuating whiteness and its damage

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Well-meaning, humbled, “ready to serve” white people. They are so newly visible since the May 26 murder of George Floyd, says Goddess Carroll, a specialist in massage and energy healing. And that visibility is imperative, says Carroll. But for Black people like Carroll, well-meaning whites asking “how can I help?” can be exhausting, trigger trauma repeatedly, and perpetuate a generations-old cycle of expecting Black people to do the hard labor. For illustration, Carroll offers the analogy of an abused child. “Say, you were abused from age 1 to age 18,…

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Proteus provides face masks, COVID-19 support to farmworkers in three states

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Proteus, Inc. is collecting face masks, providing free testing, educating workers on prevention, and helping coronavirus survivors with follow-up services, through a new initiative it began in March. The Des Moines-based nonprofit has already provided masks for 2,000 of the estimated 7,500 migrant farmworkers throughout Nebraska, Indiana and Iowa. Their top goal is to receive enough donated masks to provide at least two to every farmworker in the three-state area. “Farmworkers are essential workers. They contribute to supporting the food supply chain, agricultural economy, and help put food on our…

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Beadology “beadazzles” with masks, fun craft stations, no-touch sanitizer station, more

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“Beadology”-themed face masks that help support women’s and LGBTQ health, crafting stations with fun names, and a no-contact hand sanitizer station are among the new features at Beadology iowa, one of the state’s last remaining bead shops. As part of its ongoing effort to adjust to the coronavirus crisis, Beadology is also ensuring all of its arts, crafts, jewelry-making and beading classes are socially-distanced with work stations six feet or more apart, says co-owner Karen Kubby. Many classes limited to four or six slots. Masks are required of all staff…

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