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Do you really know what your kid’s doing on that device?

CHICAGO (AP) — Ayrial Miller is clearly annoyed. Her mother is sitting with her on the couch in their Chicago apartment, scrolling through the teen's contacts on social media. "Who's this?" asks Jennea Bivens, aka Mom. It's a friend of a friend, Ayrial says, and they haven't talked in a ...

Kindness is Contagious: Past hurts can make us powerful forces for good

The things that break our hearts are often the things that make us powerful. I am regularly reminding my children and their friends that someday they will have the opportunity to use each hurt to help another human. A dear friend shared the following story with me, and although I was sad for ...

Homegrown Hollywood: Runck returns: Hello, again

Editor’s note: Due to an outpouring of requests in the past month to keep Jessica Runck as a columnist, she’s back! Hello, again. It’s nice to be back. After my last column ran in the paper, so many of you reached out to Forum Communications – and to me – expressing your ...

Google prepping its Duplex bot for a summer rollout

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — When Google first introduced its phone-calling digital concierge Duplex in May, some thought it sounded too human. Others worried that it would secretly record calls with people. The search giant says it has been working to address these concerns. For ...

Turtles can make great pets, but do your homework first

While turtles might seem like the perfect pet — less work than dogs and cats, more interactive than fish ‚Äî there are a few things to keep in mind before buying one. “They are definitely becoming more popular as pets. Some of them are very beautiful and they can be easily purchased ...

What to do if your beloved pet needs a new home

You may be sure you’d never give up a beloved pet. But sometimes life happens, like it happened to Katrina Glover. She and her cats were living the good life in the Bronx, New York, when someone found a cat outside in the harsh winter weather. “A friend said she wanted the cat, so I took ...

A cat is terrorizing this family. Can a cat whisperer help?

Cats are often misunderstood by their owners. This I learned from “cat whisperer” Rachel Geller. I became aware of Geller after my kitten Treats’ behavior suddenly shifted into problematic realms — biting, scratching, random middle-of-the-night attacks. He had become a nuisance at ...

Festive DIY fire starters for July 4th s’mores

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are the essential ingredients for summertime s'mores, but what about wax, alcohol and pinecones? If you're extra impatient to roast marshmallows for those sweet, gooey treats, consider helping things along with homemade fire ...

LGBTQ couples shake up gender norms in wedding industry

Traditional weddings are deeply rooted in gender-based rituals, but the growing LGBTQ wedding industry is reimagining that. Many couples are engaging with centuries of tradition but crafting their own way to the altar. "Structurally, what is required in the wedding planning process is the ...

Kindness is Contagious: Boy serves kindness with a side of chicken

When my son started bringing home information about his sixth-grade graduation, I thought it was cute. There would be a ceremony and a class party and even some donated prizes. Then I found out some of the parents were giving their children gifts to celebrate the milestone. I am all for ...

One good ‘act of Momness’ remembered 40 years later

We can hang onto grudges, slights, insults and snubs for years. But who knew that a single act of kindness could last longer than all of them? My mother is a kind person – the type who quietly sends money when a niece composes a Facebook post about a financial worry – and tells no one ...

Once sidelined, romantic comedies rise again this summer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Summer is always full of action and superhero pics, but this year a once dormant yet utterly adored genre is coming back in a big way: the romantic comedy. After a 2017 without any from a major studio, this summer is proving to be a re-birth for this lost Hollywood staple ...

Wedding wild card: those unpredictable toasts and speeches

Today’s weddings are often planned down to the tiniest detail, sometimes at great expense, to create a truly “perfect” day. But for better or for worse, one random element remains: the speeches and toasts that honored guests stand up and give. Often they’re sweetly, if awkwardly, ...

How to know if your pet will dig a subscription box

The doorbell rings. Your dog barks up a storm as the delivery person drops off a package. But unlike the other times your loyal companion watched as you received a delivery, this time the box is for her. With companies like BarkBox, PupBox and Meowbox, pets now can get their own monthly ...

Kindness is Contagious: Kindness crosses a variety of comfort zones

I’m a pretty outgoing person. There are certainly things that heighten my anxiety, but talking to strangers isn’t one of them. I have to remember that just because my comfort zone covers a four ZIP code-area, not everyone is wired the same way. For some people, making eye contact and ...

Swift’s tale of the sisterhood of the traveling couch

It was love at first sight. I still remember my first glimpse of her, languishing across the room in a beam of sunlight and wearing that perfect shade of citrus green. Her name was Sofia “Comfortsleeper” Davenport, and I knew she would be mine. She was the first piece of furniture I ...

Are old-fashioned road trips trendy again?

Suddenly, old-fashioned road trips are trendy again. Surveys show they're on the rise. Websites, newspapers, magazines and even books are featuring road trips like they're the next big thing — even though they're actually a longstanding American tradition steeped in nostalgia and pop ...

Wellness travel: It’s more than just staying fit on the road

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — It's one thing when hotels open fitness centers, but quite another when fitness centers open hotels. Luxe gym Equinox is opening a hotel in New York's new Hudson Yards neighborhood next year in a move that embodies the evolution of wellness travel. Most hotels ...