Sunday, June 26, 2022


Pregnancy could now be the only option in Florida, more landmark privacy-related cases are now in the balance, and just how pro-LGBTQ are your local businesses?


Gun reform suffers a defeat in the Supreme Court but notches a win in the U.S. Senate, former Justice Dept. officials testify before the Jan. 6 Committee, and the White House meets with big oil on high pump prices.


COVID funding kept rural hospitals open, cryptocurrency companies make inroads on the backroads of America, and rural communities' efforts to escape long-term poverty have unintended side effects.

Mutual Aid Groups Stand Ready as Excessive Heat, Blackouts Lurk


Tuesday, May 24, 2022   

Regulators have put the Midwest on high alert for energy shortfalls this summer, while forecasters say most areas will be hotter than usual.

In Iowa, grassroots-level teams say they'll be able to help neighborhoods cope with any adverse situations. Mutual Aid Groups, which have seen a resurgence during the pandemic, pool their resources for basic survival needs without the funding or structure seen in government agencies and nonprofits.

Stephany Hoffelt, organizer for the Iowa City Mutual Aid Collective, said their efforts during the 2020 derecho storm can easily be replicated in the future.

"We have various people in our group who have set up these kits," Hoffelt outlined. "There's a butane stove with, like, one burner and solar lanterns that will charge a phone."

She pointed out in the event of a blackout or tornado, they can get the word out about resources through text-message chains. Group members can distribute items to neighborhoods, sometimes before traditional help arrives. Other parts of the year, the coalition offers volunteer snow removal, as well as meals to those in need, and it is developing plans to help low-income neighbors with yard work duties.

As for beating the heat, the coalition can pass around items like sunscreen and cooling towels to people who are unhoused. Hoffelt noted they serve as a "stopgap" in the immediate moments of an emergency.

"We hear things right away, we see things right away, we're right there, we know what's going on," Hoffelt emphasized. "We don't have red tape we have to jump through before we can, like, make a dinner for somebody."

She added depending on their specific mission, Mutual Aid groups can operate on different levels. Certain coalitions might accept donations for some services, especially in historically marginalized areas.

The Iowa City group pointed out it does not raise funds but will spread the word for direct donations to a person in need. Hoffelt contended straying from a formal structure allows groups like theirs to be nimble in a crisis.

get more stories like this via email
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Alyssa's Law Thursday, saying it is one of many new safety measures she plans to adopt, to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence. (Office of the Governor)

Social Issues

Gov. Kathy Hochul has approved a new law, requiring schools to consider installing a silent, panic-alarm system. Approval of what's known as …

Social Issues

Democrats, Republicans and other political parties in Utah hold primary elections Tuesday, and advocates for older voters are promoting the …


A report from leaders in Washington state lays out how the services of four dams on the lower Snake River could be replaced in order to save ailing sa…

The new AARP Pennsylvania poll finds 87% of voters age 50 years and older say they're "extremely motivated" to vote in the November election. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

There are fewer than five months to go until the November General Election, in which Pennsylvania voters will select a new governor and U.S. Senator…

Health and Wellness

The State of Indiana wants to learn more about Hoosiers' experiences with substance-use disorder and addiction-recovery services. Administered by …

The price of meat has gone up 12.3% in the last year. (Fxquadro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Seven in 10 Americans view inflation as the most pressing issue facing the nation right now, and in Maine, a new report seeks to explore the causes…

Social Issues

Iowa is getting more than $9 million to improve its system of care for stroke patients, and to address staffing issues among public-health workers in …

Health and Wellness

The Food and Drug Administration could soon ban the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes, a move advocates in Ohio said could have a positive …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021