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Homeless women need bras. This organization is helping them get support.

CLOSE Homeless women need bras. This organization is helping them get support.
Homeless women need bras. This organization is helping them get support.

Dana Marlowe began collecting bras for donation after she lost weight last year. The exercise led to the creation of Support the Girls, a non-profit organization that has since donated thousands of bras and feminine items to women in need. (Aug. 17) AP

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'Support the Girls' founder Dana Marlowe cuts a cake in celebration of the organization's first anniversary on July 21, 2016, in Silver Spring, Md. (Photo: AP)

Dana Marlowe's weight-loss journey led her to a very unexpected place: Helping homeless women and girls in desperate need of something many take for granted.

Bras.

After shedding 35 pounds, she went shopping for some new ones. When Marlowe was getting fitted, she asked the clerk whether it was possible to refurbish her old bras, the same way you can upgrade an old laptop. The sales representative laughed, but then told Marlowe something she never realized.

Homeless women need bras.

So Marlowe, a small-business owner, called a local homeless shelter in Washington, D.C. The shelter said it needed bras and menstrual products. Marlowe said she had never considered the reality of being homeless and not having access to a tampon or a clean bra. So she gathered 16 old bras of her own, went to Costco to pick up pads and tampons and posted on Facebook to see whether she could round up friends to donate with her.

So many friends said yes, she extended the timeline a few times. By the time she dropped off her first donation in October 2015 to Thrive DC, a local service provider for homeless and low-income people, the Maryland mom had more than 1,000 bras and 7,000 menstrual products.

"We were expecting 20 or 30 bras, but she came in with thousands," Alicia Horton, executive director of Thrive DC, said laughing. The bras were in good shape, too, Horton added. "It was incredible."

"I'm just a working mom in the D.C. area doing this," Marlowe said. "It was a supply and demand issue."

The overwhelming response prompted her to start a non-profit: Support the Girls, which has become a passion project with global reach.

Less than two years later, through a network of 46 affiliates that have given to more than 190 charities, Support the Girls has donated more than 95,000 bras and 525,000 feminine care products in the United States and around the world, Marlowe says.

Marlowe has experience running start-ups. She owns her own business — Accessibility Partners — that works to make technology more accessible for people with disabilities. So she took a business-minded approach to her project for homeless women and girls.

After  The Washington Post  ran a story last year about her efforts, Marlowe said she saw hundreds of emails flow in, all asking her similar questions: Where can I donate? Can I send my bras to you? I want to do this in my hometown, how do I start?

With the help of her husband, she built a website to streamline information for those who wanted to get involved. Soon, Support the Girls had local affiliates that collected donations and distributed them to

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Councilwoman who cried 'BS' during Sessions hearing will fight charge

Josh Farley, Kitsap (Wash.) Sun 9:40 p.m. ET March 27, 2017

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies on Capitol Hill

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing for attorney general before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2017.   (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bremerton City Councilwoman Leslie Daugs, arrested in January on a charge of “disrupting Congress,” has been offered a plea deal by federal prosecutors in the nation's capital.

The deal would allow dismissal of the criminal charge if she performs 32 hours of community service in Washington state.

But Daugs isn’t taking it.

“I’m going to fight this,” Daugs said Monday following her arraignment at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse in Washington, D.C. “I feel very optimistic.”

Daugs was arrested by Capitol Police Jan. 31 during Senate confirmation hearings for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, now the country’s attorney general. Daugs said, “This is bull****,” in response to two men who she said were being disruptive by “high-fiving and fist-bumping” in support of Sessions. She was escorted out of the hearing and arrested before being released the same day.

“(Daug’s) behavior disrupted and interfered with the Senate proceedings and the orderly conduct of business,” Metropolitan Police Officer Eric Jeter wrote in the report of her arrest.

The police report chronicling Leslie Daugs' January

The police report chronicling Leslie Daugs' January arrest in Washington, D.C.   (Photo: Contributed photo)

Daugs disagrees that Sessions’ hearing was disrupted by her actions and questions why the behavior of the two men went unnoticed by police.

“I don’t feel I disrupted Congress,” she said. “Nothing in that room stopped.”

The deal offered by prosecutors also would require Daugs to avoid being arrested again in the next four months, take a drug test and stay away from the U.S. Capitol. But Monday, she rejected that offer.

“Leslie believes it is worth the risk,” her attorney, Mark Goldstone, said in an email.

The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Daugs’ next court date is set for June. She noted her attorney also will be filing motions to dismiss the case on various grounds as well.

It is illegal "to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct" on the grounds of the Capitol. Daugs, along with three others, was arrested during the Judiciary Committee's hearing at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Leslie Daugs

Leslie Daugs   (Photo: Contributed photo)

News of her arrest  has divided the Bremerton council . Some members support Daugs and believe she is being singled out; others see it as a distraction that affects the reputation of the City Council.

Daugs, who said she has stepped up her political advocacy since Donald Trump was elected president, had noted in an email to the City Council office before going to D.C. that “you never know if I might get arrested for protesting.” She said the arrest was “not my finest hour” but also believes she’s speaking up, as a woman and a Filipino-American, “for those who do not have a voice.”

Daugs was in D.C. in

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Deal to settle Flint suit to bring $87M for new water lines

USA Today Network Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press Published 7:05 p.m. ET March 27, 2017 | Updated 1 hour ago

CLOSE Deal to settle Flint suit to bring $87M for new water lines
Deal to settle Flint suit to bring $87M for new water lines

A court filing Monday says Flint will replace at least 18,000 lead or galvanized-steel water lines by 2020, and the state will pick up the bill with state and federal money. USA TODAY

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Corrosion and rust line water pipes in Flint, Mich., in this March 2016 photo. (Photo: Courtesy of Min Tang and Kelsey )

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan will allocate $87 million for the City of Flint to identify and replace at least 18,000 unsafe water lines in Flint by 2020 under a proposal to settle a federal lawsuit that also provides the state with a road map to end free distribution of bottled water.

In addition, the proposed settlement requires state officials to pay $895,000 to plaintiffs who brought the 2016 lawsuit to cover their litigation costs.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson will have a hearing at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday to consider the agreement, which was the result of mediation. Lawson is expected to approve the agreement, subject to his oversight of its enforcement.

Concerned Pastors for Social Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Flint resident Melissa Mays won't get the door-to-door delivery of bottled water they had been seeking in recent months.

► Related: Water rights, civil rights converge at Flint rally
► Beyond Flint: Excessive lead levels found in almost 2,000 water systems

But the plaintiffs would get a schedule for water line replacements while the state gets a schedule for weaning the City of Flint off the community resource stations where bottled water, water filters and filter replacement cartridges now are distributed free.

Some — but not all — of the money the state allocates can come from federal government grants.

Flint's drinking water became contaminated with lead in April 2014 when as a short-term cost-cutting measure a state-appointed emergency manager switched the city's drinking water supply from Lake Huron water treated in Detroit to Flint River water treated at the Flint Water Treatment Plant.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has acknowledged a mistake in failing to require the use of corrosion control chemicals as part of the treatment process. The corrosive water allowed lead to leach from from pipes, joints and fixtures, causing a spike in toxic lead levels in the blood of Flint children and older residents.

Flint switched back to Detroit water in October 2015, but some risk remains because of damage to the city's water distribution infrastructure.

CLOSE Deal to settle Flint suit to bring $87M for new water lines
Deal to settle Flint suit to bring $87M for new water lines

The levels of lead in the Michigan city's water are within federal standards, according to a new report. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

Under the proposed settlement:

• Water-line replacement. The city, with state compensation, agrees to determine what water lines running from the street to at least 18,000 households and properties are made of and replace those made of lead or galvanized steel with copper at no cost to the homeowners.

• Timeline for replacement.

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A stranger emailed me a warning about blood clots. Days later, my friend died from one

CLOSE A stranger emailed me a warning about blood clots. Days later, my friend died from one
A stranger emailed me a warning about blood clots. Days later, my friend died from one

On March 1, Todd Robertson emailed me a warning about blood clots. I didn't know him, and I wasn't much interested in Blood Clot Awareness Month. On March 12, a good friend of mine suddenly dropped dead from an undetected blood clot. I reached out to Todd and said I was ready to talk. Kyle Munson/The Register

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Scot Squires, 49, died March 12 near his home in Kansas City, Mo., from an undetected blood clot. (Photo: Special to The Register)

At first, Todd Robertson’s email was just another unsolicited pitch from a stranger asking for a story on a cause that had become his passion.

It was just another pitch, that is, until I was headed to my friend Scot’s funeral over the weekend in Kansas City.

Robertson wrote to me March 1, the start of Blood Clot Awareness Month. He even added bold text for emphasis.

“I'm asking for a story,” he pleaded. “A story not about me, but about the awareness that is needed. Too many people are dying. If you were to walk up to anyone on the street and ask them what a pulmonary embolism was … or asked about blood clots in general, they would be clueless.”

Journalists receive these sorts of messages every day. One of the first rules of badgering us to pay attention is that we don’t tend to be stirred by a themed month or an awareness campaign. We crave a unique character and a timely, compelling hook driven by news. And, yes, conflict does help.

Todd Robertson nearly died from a blood clot and now

Todd Robertson nearly died from a blood clot and now has dedicated his life to raising awareness for what he considers to be an under-recognized silent killer. His advocacy includes a Des Moines support group and bike team.   (Photo: Special to The Register)

Robertson, 53, went on to explain that little more than a month before writing me he had been lucky to survive a pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot that had passed through his heart and lodged in his lung but didn’t kill him.

I was sympathetic but ultimately unmoved. I replied with a nice note — a gentle letdown that becomes something of an art form if you stick around long enough in this business.

“I’m glad that you’re doing OK, and that you’re getting the word out,” I wrote. “I don’t really target anything to awareness months.”

Less than two weeks later, I was blindsided by my timely, compelling and utterly horrible hook.

A good friend of mine since our college days, Scot Squires , keeled over and died from the very same thing: an undetected blood clot. While on a walk with his 12-year-old daughter.

After the initial shock, my mind reeled back to Robertson’s email. I felt guilty for having given him short shrift. It seemed as if the universe was compelling me to write what I should have written in the first days of March.

“I just had a forty-something friend in K.C. die of a blood

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What does 'sex positive' mean? Your questions, answered

couple in bed

Sex positivity means owning your sexuality. (Getty Images)

Sex positive. It’s a term that’s been adopted and broadcast by celebrities, feminists and activists alike over the past few years. Joining the ranks are Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Ilana Glazer, to name just a few of the celebrities opening up dialogue about sex.

But sex positivity isn’t just another buzzword to look up on Urban Dictionary. It’s a framework that counselors, medical professionals and universities are using to educate and talk with young people about issues relating to sexuality and sexual health.

What is sex positivity? And what does it mean to be “sex positive”?

sex positive definition

(Graphic: Sophia Tulp)

Carl Olsen, a program coordinator in Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center , says sex positivity is a philosophy — an outlook on interpersonal relationships.

He said the term “sex positive” can be interpreted in different ways. For most, it involves having positive attitudes about sex and feeling comfortable with one’s own sexual identity and with the sexual behaviors of others, and destigmatizing sex.

“Most of our programming lands in the area of consent and prevention,” Olsen told USA TODAY College. “Most of the students here have had zero sex ed or abstinence-only [sex education], and that can lead to uncomfortable situations talking about sex. … We are just absolutely cool with however many sexual partners you have had, however many times you’ve had sex or if you’ve had zero sex at all — as long as it is all done consensually.”

Overall, Olsen says sex positivity is about establishing healthy relationships.

Yana Mazurkevich, an Ithaca College junior and activist, went viral last year for her photo series “Dear Brock Turner.” Since then, Mazurkevich has advocated for sexual assault prevention and awareness. Mazurkevich says she assumes the label of sex positive. To her, sex positivity is putting away shame or feelings of embarrassment in order to learn more about healthy sex.

“It allows you to open yourself up to facts, to educate yourself and pass that along to other people,” Mazurkevich says. “Getting yourself out of your comfort zone and learning how to talk about sex is the most vital thing so that you can be comfortable to open your mouth and not be too scared to do anything or say how you feel.”

What are the common myths or misconceptions regarding sex positivity?

Contrary to what some believe, Olsen said that sex positivity is not about having lots of sex.

At its core is the idea of consent and owning your own sexuality in the most comfortable way possible. For some people this means having lots of sex. But for other people it might mean abstaining — and that’s okay.

In current U.S. culture, and often in the college setting, Olsen said women are shamed for wanting and having pleasure from sex. The “virgin vs. slut dichotomy,” as he calls it, dictates that women can only fall into one category or the other, with stigma attached to both.

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