“Kindness Queers,” “queerantine kits” brighten LGBTQIA youths’ lives during pandemic

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CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — When Anna Peters and her business partner at the Art Coop began to think about how the pandemic might affect LGBTQIA children, they became worried. And then, inspired. Peters and co-owner Hilary Pope, along with Pope’s art teacher partner, realized they were already equipped to help with the arts resources all around them in the Coop, founded in 1971. The result, quickly, was 250 “queerantine kits” filled with art supplies out the door to “Kindness Queers,” who are LGBTQIA youngsters who may not have access to arts…

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Pet Wellness and patient health go hand in hand at The Project of the Quad Cities

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QUAD CITIES — The pandemic has reminded us that having a pet can be important for one’s mental and physical health. It has also revealed that the financial burden of pet ownership is harder for many. The Project of the Quad Cities is tackling this challenge with a fundraising campaign for its Pet Wellness Program. This nonprofit organization, which advocates for health equity and provides health services to people living with HIV and sexually-transmitted diseases, aims to help more of its clients consider adopting a pet by helping with the…

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“I am not special:” a healthy 20-something Iowan’s tale of fighting COVID-19 (COLUMN)

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ANKENY, IA — I am not special. Actually, I’m like a lot of people today: a healthy 20- to 30-something with no significant past medical history — who will now be fighting this virus for a long time. In a world that doesn’t want to hear or believe that, it needs to be said. So, I’m sharing my story. A lot of the conversation out there will tell you that most people my age “recover” from COVID. You might hear that it’s “just like a cold” and you “shouldn’t worry.”…

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Reynolds, Iowa agencies failing seniors in COVID protection

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Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa officials lied to you this past week. They told you during a press conference that they were doing “everything we can” to fight the virus and obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) for Iowa’s besieged health care workers, especially those at long-term care spaces. But this simply isn’t true. Much like how Donald Trump tried to rewrite his inadequate response to COVID-19, so is Reynolds trying to rewrite hers. Here’s the truth she’s not telling you: In March of 2020, eight months ago, all Pottawattamie County…

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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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