Brian Peterson/Star Tribune/TNS

A brother grapples with worst kind of tragedy

Health / Lifestyles /

While perched on a cold granite bench on a sunny March day, St. Cloud, Minnesota, Mayor Dave Kleis peered down to read his younger brother's name engraved in the granite.

Thomas Joseph Kleis, known as Tom to his family, died by suicide in July after showing no blatant signs of depression to his family.

"I say this often: People just need to be...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

When rare California toads get thirsty for love, this tiny college helps set the mood

Health / Lifestyles /

DEEP SPRINGS VALLEY, Calif. — When you’re as rare and vulnerable as a black toad, you can’t afford to be coy about romance.

Surrounded by an unforgiving desert and forever isolated on a small patch of irrigated ranchland about 50 miles southeast of Yosemite National Park, black toads inhabit the smallest range of any North American ...Read more

Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Column: Vaccinations are here and hugging's back. But some advice: Ask before you hug

Health / Lifestyles /

The hug is back.

“I hugged my parents for the first time in over a year,” my dentist told me the other day, and to my surprise her news brought tears to my eyes.

A year. She and her parents don’t live far apart geographically but for a year they hadn’t been able to touch. Now, because they’re all fully vaccinated, they’re liberated...Read more

Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida Sun Sentinel/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

COVID care bar mitzvah project: 'It makes me feel good to help others'

Health / Lifestyles /

For his bar mitzvah project, Zach Mandel of Boca Raton, Florida, wanted to collect food and toiletries for less fortunate people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, Zach, 13, came up with what is called a COVID Care project that has benefited Boca Helping Hands, a community-based nonprofit that provides food, medical and ...Read more

Chris Kleponis/Sipa USA/TNS

Balancing Act: Let's stop dragging out Melania Trump's nudes every time we want to defend a first lady

Health / Lifestyles /

A teeny, tiny mini-scandal erupted when Jill Biden wore fishnet stockings on Easter Sunday, which is actually good news. (Yay for a return to an administration so bereft of glaring misdeeds that we’ve once again stooped to petty clothing critiques!)

“Madonna called and wants her trashy look back, Doc,” conservative commentator Wayne ...Read more

Youngrae Kim / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Activist Troy Gaston protests social injustice as one of many or on his own: 'I've got to believe I'm chosen for this moment'

Health / Lifestyles /

CHICAGO – Troy Gaston has a tendency to vibrate when he talks about social justice. It’s the enthusiasm for the topic.

The Chicago resident doesn’t sit still for long when discussing topics of safety for those in the Black community, regardless of whether he’s attending a virtual class at Roosevelt University from his kitchen or poring ...Read more

Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Some of California's most diverse campuses get the least funding, sparking debate over equity and racism

Health / Lifestyles /

LOS ANGELES – Casaundra Caruso was nearly a straight-A student when she transferred from San Bernardino Valley College to UC Riverside in fall 2019. But that quickly — and disastrously — changed.

She was overwhelmed by UC Riverside's fast-paced quarter system and flummoxed by the process of transferring her credits to Riverside. She didn'...Read more

Francine Jacobs/TNS

'I can breathe again': Older adults begin to test freedom after COVID vaccinations

Health / Lifestyles /

With a mix of relief and caution, older adults fully vaccinated against covid-19 are moving out into the world and resuming activities put on hold during the pandemic.

Many are making plans to see adult children and hug grandchildren they haven’t visited for months — or longer. Others are getting together with friends indoors, for the first...Read more

Fernandes Borges Michel/TNS

Elizabeth Wellington: Worried about going back to the doctor for a check up? The anxiety is real. Here's how to stay calm

Health / Lifestyles /

I'm that woman who starts worrying about her doctor's appointments two weeks before her scheduled visit. Just thinking about stepping on a scale makes me break into a cold sweat. Diabetes runs in my family. It's only a matter of time until my blood tests reveal sugar issues, right? Could that new birthmark on my leg be skin cancer? I do my ...Read more

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Reopening plans may have some excited to go back to 'normal.' But others are feeling FOGO -- fear of going out

Health / Lifestyles /

As spring moves along, a six-letter word is at the forefront of many minds. That word is “normal.” And some people can hardly wait to get back to it (aka the way we lived before the pandemic).

Others, like Lombard, Illinois, resident Valerie Antunes Koch, are anxious about returning to normal life too soon. Antunes Koch, a behavior ...Read more

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

He makes old laptops new again and gives them away to kids, families, and even nuns in need

Health / Lifestyles /

Meet Hai Thai, a software engineer who refurbishes donated computers and gives them away for free.

—Internet connections: "Ten people without internet access is too much. The way I see this is you change one person's life, they'll change another life, or another 10."

—Work ethics: "I'm a hard worker. I know that any job that I do, ...Read more

Anthony Souffle/00063826A/TNS

New prayer stickers are a welcome message for Muslim patients

Health / Lifestyles /

MINNEAPOLIS – Muslims getting care at the Hennepin Healthcare will no longer scramble to locate the right direction for prayer.

The hospital and Muslim leaders on Tuesday affixed stickers in 60 rooms around the emergency department indicating qibla, the direction they should face when praying. Hennepin Healthcare also made a commitment to put...Read more

Marvel Studios/TNS

Captain Comics: A handy guide to the characters of 'Falcon and the Winter Soldier'

Health / Lifestyles /

Welcome to Who Are These Guys, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” edition!

The third episode, “Power Broker,” introduced some people and concepts that are a little farther off the beaten path than usual. Let's get to it, then:


I didn’t want to jump in without revisiting our main characters, whose comic book background ...Read more

Norman Winter/TNS

On Gardening: Supertunia Vista Paradise is a pollinator champion

Health / Lifestyles /

Petunias for pollinators could be paradise.

At least it seems this way at The Garden Guy’s house.

First off, my wife, Jan, and I are having the most beautiful spring. Not too long ago I wrote a column that planting a fall crop of Supertunias was a great idea. That is proving to be a huge understatement. The October planting survived the ...Read more

On Gardening: 2021: The year of the hardy hibiscus

Health / Lifestyles /

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2021 "The Year of the Hardy Hibiscus" and The Garden Guy thinks this is absolutely terrific. Actually, I would go a-step further and say it is Summerific!

By hardy hibiscus, the bureau is referring to those with native DNA. You may not be aware but the hardy hibiscus commonly referred to as rose mallow is...Read more

Doral Chenoweth/Dispatch/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS

Pastor puzzles siblings during pandemic with daily riddle

Health / Lifestyles /

The Rev. Eric Brown really thought he had stumped his six younger siblings on March 29.

“Oh no, they’re not getting this one,” he said confidently and with a chuckle just moments after filming a short video of him asking a daily riddle for the group and sending it to his two brothers and four sisters.

What can you keep after giving it to...Read more

Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Barton Goldsmith: Vaccine envy

Health / Lifestyles /

So your friends who are front-line workers are getting their shots, as are the elderly and other essential workers. But when you see some younger people in line, it can make you wonder if they are jumping the cue or if they are legit. And that may bring up all kinds of uncomfortable and negative feelings known as “vaccine envy.” It’s ...Read more


James Lileks: How to know Netflix is on to you

Health / Lifestyles /

Netflix is "cracking down" on password sharing. If you give your account details out to other people, they're going to let you know that they know. Which of the following do you think Netflix will do?

1. Switch you to the DVD plan, which sends you strange silvery discs that supposedly contain movies, but how do I access them? Do I tape it to ...Read more


Erika Ettin: How risky is a little kissy?

Health / Lifestyles /

There’s no question that COVID has changed the way we live and date. The only socializing we’re used to is social media and social distancing, and when someone is talking about a shot, they’re probably referring to the vaccine rather than an alcoholic beverage. But now that more and more people are eligible to get the vaccine, what does ...Read more


Online fitness classes go mainstream

Health / Lifestyles /

Last spring, when fitness clubs were ordered to close because of the pandemic, they started offering online classes as an option to their exercise-deprived clients. It was supposed to be a temporary fix, but it has become a long-term change in the way — and the places — that people work out.

Clubs are ramping up their online offerings to ...Read more