New Calendar of Events helps find the highlights in Iowa, Illinois

Are you overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) with events to partake of in the COVID-19 era? We’re trying to do our part to help, with the new Calendar of Events for Iowa and Illinois, updated twice a week. You’ll find highlight events here throughout the two states that help promote intersectionality and a more collaborative society. Read here about the latest Calendar, updated Tues., Sept. 22. You can also catch a summary of highlights, like Illinois’ “Pride Fest 2020” virtual celebration, and St. Louis’ art gallery tour of historic depictions of the…

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Final drive in Iowa City for school supplies and masks Sunday

IOWA CITY — Looking for a way to support Iowa’s school kids during these trying times? Check out the outdoor Cars 4 Community Meet & Eat Sunday (Sept. 20), which is hosting a school supplies drive in collaboration with the Corridor Community Action Network (CCAN). From 3 to 6 p.m., you can swing by Mexico Lindo Grill & Cantina 2 and check out supercars, euro-cars, muscle cars, and tuner cars from members of the Iowa Auto Club West, while also bringing wide-ruled notebooks, glue sticks, water bottles and other school…

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Iowa emerges as national leader in Black Voter Day Sept. 18

The first-ever National Black Voter Day of Action takes place Friday, and Iowa is emerging as a national leader in the movement, which is focused on empowering Blacks to overcome voting barriers they are documented to have experienced throughout history. At least nine Black Voter Day events are happening Friday throughout Iowa. That’s as much or more than larger states such as California, New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia, based on a thorough search of events listed online and in public media. Black Voter Day events are happening in Cedar Rapids,…

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

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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Deer Friends press to end mass killings

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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Thrift Bandit is eastern Iowa’s socially responsible outlaws of recycled fashion

When they realized they were both wearing “polyester grandpa pants” and cardigan sweaters, Michael and Stef Duncan knew they were destined for each other.  They didn’t realize those grandpa pants would also inspire a business they would co-run. Thrift Bandit is the online vintage venture of Michael (from Burlington in southeast Iowa) and Stef (from Jerico in northeast Iowa), who describe themselves as “nerds running this out of our basement.” Launched in the summer of 2019, Thrift Bandit seeks to provide an alternative to first-hand, mass-produced disposable clothing — and…

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Racial justice events throughout Illinois, Iowa planned in solidarity with Jacob Blake

At least 19 communities throughout Iowa and Illinois are stepping forth with protests, vigils, rallies or marches in solidarity with Jacob Blake, the Kenosha, Wis., man paralyzed by at least seven police bullets to his back. The gatherings are from Des Moines to Chicago, along the Wisconsin/Illinois line, the Iowa/Illinois line, and the Missouri/Illinois line. Communities hosting events range from larger cities like Chicago and St. Louis, to tiny West Branch, Ia., and Effingham, Ill. Most of the rallies, protests and vigils are hosted by racial justice groups that formed…

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

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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Davenport attorney leads second protest against police brutality Saturday

QUAD CITIES — Eric Puryear is not your typical Black Lives Matter activist. He’s a gun rights enthusiast. He’s a libertarian. He disagrees vehemently with socialism. Yet he’s also a pioneer of standing up against inappropriate policing in the Quad Cities and the Chicago area. He’s one of the most active attorneys in the Iowa-Illinois area representing victims of police brutality or helping to share about their cases in writings. Puryear, founder of Puryear Law, is also leading a series of rallies against police brutality in the Quad Cities. The…

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