“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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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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Electoral College must go, but what should take its place?

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Soon, we’ll be seeing a lot of posts and articles about getting rid of the Electoral College. We’ll hear a lot about the idea of “one (hu)man, one vote,”  and proposals to use the national popular vote to determine the president.  We’ll hear people point to examples when the Electoral College result differed from the national vote (Trump/Clinton 2016), or to Wyoming’s three electoral votes, as justification for dismantling the Electoral College. The “one human, one vote” solution is popular, but it has many problems. The first is an assumption…

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Return to COVID-shaped school year swells the “mental load” of parents, caretakers

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Around the dark cloud of this pandemic has been this big silver lining: my “mental load” got a break. To moms, the phrase “mental load” is familiar: it’s the “mental work, the organizing, list-making and planning, that you do to manage your life, and that of those dependent on you,” writes Leah Ruppaner for ABC News. She also describes the mental load as “like a phantom — felt by many, but, without the language to describe it, very difficult to discuss.” For months, I didn’t have to think about my…

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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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August Tarotscope: Take a cue from MTV and the cards, and “get real,” for real

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“It’s time to stop being polite and start getting real…. WITH OURSELVES.” You may recognize this as one of the many key slogans of MTV’s “The Real World”. It’s a phrase that resonates for a reason: because it’s time. Time to hear your own thoughts and connect with your whole, authentic self. Time to cut out external influences. Time to realize that we are all part of something larger than ourselves — and what is happening around each of us right now is bigger than any of us could have…

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Home-schooling: tips from a parent who started a year ago

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Interest in home-schooling has blown up during the coronavirus crisis, as an increasing number of families take their children’s education into their own hands instead of waiting for districts to decide whether or not to reopen, and how. Doing so can cost up to $1,800 annually per child, reports Time4learning.com in Kiplinger’s. Nevertheless, a new study shows that home-schooling is at least on the minds of 80 percent of parents out there. Abby Schwartz, who has been home-schooling three of her four children for more than a year, thought she…

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