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Colorado Springs Woman Operates Popular Little Free Pantry on Westside



Hailey Radvillas started a Little Free Pantry on the west side of Colorado Springs to help her neighborhood in a direct way. The pantry, outside her home, is part of a network of Little Free Pantries across the U.S.

Skyler Ballard, The Gazette

A tinier than tiny house stands on Hailey Radvillas’ front lawn on the west side of Colorado Springs.

Her Pikes Peak Little Free Pantry, with its gabled roof and giraffe-pattern paint job of blue, green, purple and magenta, and plexiglass doors that open to reveal two shelves, is part of a network of Little Free Pantries across the U.S. She’s registered on the website

The addition to her yard grew out of feeling hopeless as she watched the pandemic rage on, and friends and co-workers lose loved ones and jobs, while civil unrest filled our collective consciousness.

“I was learning more about mutual aid and people helping each other, and not getting into the business or government side of things,” Radvillas said. “The need is real. Mutual aid is the biggest thing we, as Americans, have control over and can help each other with. I’m not going to give because I feel bad. I’m going to help because I might need help and we’re stronger together.”

Inspired by the Denver Community Fridges and The Love Fridge Chicago projects, which offer refrigerators filled with packaged and store-prepared meals and fresh produce, Radvillas began her own mutual aid project at the end of January. She put a set of drawers from a thrift store in front of her house at 516 W. Pikes Peak Ave., across from Western Omelette, hoping to take advantage of her location — close to downtown and two major trails, which see a lot of foot traffic. She filled the drawers with shelf-stable food and toiletry items, and watched it take root. Her plan worked — nowadays, people come and go almost on the daily, leaving and taking donations.

Matthew, a 68-year-old homeless man, rolled his two bikes up to Radvillas’ house on a hot September afternoon. He hopes her husband, who started fixing bikes for free this year, can help him out. He’s no stranger to the pantry; it’s a handy source of food and other needed items, as he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“They save me from starving,” Matthew said. “They take good care of people, children and dogs.”

Today the pantry’s two shelves are somewhat bare. There are packages of pasta, cans of tomato sauce and a cardboard box full of individual servings of sunflower seed butter. Menstrual pads perch in a corner. A heavy duty drink cooler filled with fresh, cold water rests on the sidewalk, next to another cooler and several large plastic storage bins, all donated by community members.

People come and go all day and night. Some give — they drop off food (though Radvillas doesn’t accept fresh meat, dairy or eggs); toiletries, such as deodorant, diapers, tissues, hand sanitizer, toothpaste and toothbrushes; clothing — men’s clothing is most popular, as men make up the bulk of the homeless population; dog food and pet food; and other household goods. One woman left a computer monitor, DVD player and VCR, which quickly disappeared. Others receive, taking what they need. There are no limits on what people can take. The rules at this little pantry are there are no rules.

“That’s the beauty of this. If you need it, take it,” Radvillas said. “Nobody’s going to police you. There are no cameras. We’re not looking out there. With food banks you have to give your name and possibly your address. We want to exist in a place where there are no requirements besides the fact you’re hungry or you need something.”

Word spread quickly after Radvillas put out the initial set of drawers. She created Instagram and Facebook accounts (@pikespeakpantry,, then decided to upgrade. She and her husband revamped a cabinet they bought from ReStore, making sure it could withstand any weather conditions, and hired Colorado Springs artist Lizigns to paint it.

Other organizations have taken notice. Cerberus Brewing Co., located nearby on West Colorado Avenue, offered patrons $1 off their beer for donated items. Chelle Tomasik, coordinator for the Manitou Springs Food Pantry, which is run through St. Andrews Episcopal Church, packs up surplus food once a month for Radvillas to pick up.

“It’s really important,” said Tomasik about Pikes Peak Little Free Pantry. “We need our villages. What she’s doing on her own, it’s phenomenal.”

As a Lasagna Love volunteer, Cathy Whitworth drops off pans of homemade lasagna and other meals at the pantry twice a month. The national nonprofit was started at the beginning of the pandemic. Anybody can go online to to sign up for a free, homemade and hand-delivered lasagna.

“It takes a lot to maintain that,” said Whitworth about the pantry. “To keep it clean and looking good. It’s a wonderful thing. Anybody can donate however they want to. It doesn’t have to be a lot. It can just be a few things, but that’s how you get it to people.”

Radvillas and her husband, Cully Radvillas, moved to the Springs from Chicago, in 2012, and now have a 4-year-old son. They both work at home, thanks to the pandemic, which has made running the pantry easier as they can keep tabs on refilling food and water. The new project doesn’t always go smoothly, of course, though the issues are few. There are folks who visit who aren’t in a great state of mind, due to addictions and mental illnesses. And there was the time they came home to find somebody had tried to rip the doors off the pantry. But somebody else had tried to fix the damaged door, and left them a note, along with the broken piece, on their porch.

“That’s the spirit,” Hailey said. “It’s all of us coming together to help each other.”

Part of her intention is to lessen the fear people have of each other, and to encourage people to treat each other with more open-heartedness.

“There will always be people who steal and have addictions, but it’s few and far between,” she said. “People just want to be heard and acknowledged as human beings.”

As for the future, Hailey harbors no desire to turn the pantry into an LLC or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

“God no, I don’t want to do that,” she said. “I don’t want there to be any red tape. I don’t want there to be anyone telling me what to do, or telling people coming here what to do. It should just be about people being there for each other.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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Antibodies Help Control Harmful Forms of Intestinal Fungi



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Antibodies protection against harmful forms of fungi in the intestine can be disrupted in some patients with Crohn’s disease, a condition caused by chronic inflammation of the intestine, according to a new study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine. ..

Previous studies have shown that the immune system plays an important role in maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria.The new study was published on November 22nd Nature microbiology, Senior author Iliyan Iliev, associate professor of immunology in medicine, and his team investigated whether it could also play a role in the management of intestinal fungi.

Unlike bacteria, fungi can change shape depending on environmental conditions, and certain forms are harmful to humans. In particular, a type of fungus called Candida albicans changes from a non-pathogenic yeast type to a type that produces hyphae that can invade tissues and cause damage.

Researchers have found that antibodies secreted in the intestine help control the etiology of candida albicans in healthy people, disabling this protective mechanism in people with Crohn’s disease and harmful overgrowth of pathogenic fungi. I have discovered that it can cause. Candida albicans intestinal excess is associated with inflammatory bowel disease and several other conditions that directly or indirectly affect the gastrointestinal tract.

“Anti-intestinal antibodies are involved in maintaining certain intestinal fungi, such as Candida albicans, in a benign, so-called symbiotic form,” said Iriev, a scientist at the Zil Roberts Institute for Inflammatory Intestines. I found that. ” Weil Cornell Medical illness. “This process is interrupted in patients with Crohn’s disease.”

In their experiments, researchers found that an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (slgA) in the feces of healthy mice selectively binds to the form of C. albicans in hyphae and stops its spread. discovered. They also found that these antibodies also bind to the hyphae of healthy human feces.

“These antibodies preferentially bind to the hyphae,” said Itai Delon, a PhD student in the lab. Specifically, they bind to sites on the hyphae and produce the virulence factors that these fungi use to harm host tissues. However, the antibody does not preferentially bind to harmless yeast. This suggests that antibodies may help the body maintain a healthy balance of intestinal fungi by preventing the inheritance of harmful forms of fungi.

Researchers also found that patients with Crohn’s disease, who develop severe inflammation of the colon and small intestine, have higher levels of antifungal antibodies in their blood compared to healthy adults. However, these antibodies do not appear to be secreted at high levels in the intestine to counter Candida albicans hyphae. Samples from the colon of these patients reveal an excess of fungi with hyphae.

“Impairment of this regulatory mechanism in mice and patients with Crohn’s disease can contribute to increased hyphal growth in the intestine,” Iriev said.

When researchers added antifungal antibodies to human cells grown in culture with C. albicans, the fungi produced fewer hyphae.

“These antifungal antibodies appear to have some degree of” disarmament “in the hyphae,” Delon said.

The result is that the therapeutic search for antifungal antibodies can be C. It suggests that it may be a way to help patients who develop overgrowth of albicans. Not all patients with this inflammatory bowel disease have overgrowth of this type of fungus, but some may be an important cause of the disease, Iriev said.

“The intestinal fungi in the gut, especially the Candida albicans community, form our immunity,” Iriev said. “We are developing these antibodies and they appear to play a protective role in certain situations.”

The major immune fungus of the intestine against infection

For more information:
Jordan Hindson, Intestinal Mycoviota Modulates Immunity mediated by Antifungal Antibodies, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41575-021-00439-z

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Cornell University

Quote: Antibodies help control harmful forms of enteric fungi obtained on November 30, 2021 from https: // ( November 30, 2021)

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Researchers Are Developing Fast, Accurate Tests to Detect Viruses Like SARS-COV-2



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Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a device that detects viruses such as SARS-COV-2 in the body more accurately and as quickly as the rapid detection tests commonly used today.

Optical sensors use nanotechnology to accurately identify viruses in seconds. Blood sample..Researchers say the device can tell if someone has it with 95% accuracy virusSignificant improvements to the current rapid testing, which experts warn, may be less accurate. Testing for the virus is important for early treatment and prevention of the spread of the virus.

The results are detailed in a new study in the journal Nano letter..

Researchers tested the device with a sample of dengue virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that causes dengue fever and poses a threat to people in the tropics. However, this technology can be easily adapted to detect other viruses such as SARS-COV-2, says Debashis Chanda, a professor at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, co-author of the study. ..

“High-sensitivity optical sensors, along with the rapid manufacturing approach used in this task, can transform this promising technology with a high degree of specificity and accuracy for detection of any virus, including SARS-COV-2 and its mutations. I promise, “says Chanda. “Here we have demonstrated a reliable technique that combines a genetic code such as PCR with an optical system on a chip to accurately detect the virus directly from the blood.”

This device closely matches the accuracy of gold standard PCR-based tests, but with near-instantaneous results rather than days of reception. Its accuracy is significantly improved over the current rapid antigen test warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is inaccurate if the viral load is low or if the test instructions are not followed correctly. Results may occur.

The device works with a gold nanoscale pattern that reflects the virus’s signature that is set to detect on blood samples. Different viruses can be detected by using different DNA sequences that selectively target a particular virus.

The key to device performance is the ability to detect viruses directly from blood samples without the need for sample preparation or purification. This speeds up testing and improves accuracy.

“Most of the biosensor demonstrations in the literature use buffers as a test matrix to contain targeted analytes,” says Chanda. “But these approaches are not practical in real-world applications. Complex body fluids containing target biomarkers, such as blood, are the main cause of sensing, while at the same time the main cause of protein contamination leading to sensor failure. Because it is the cause. “

Researchers have confirmed the effectiveness of the device in multiple tests using different viral concentration levels and solution environments, including the presence of non-target viral biomarkers.

Abraham Vazquez Guardard, a postdoc at Northwestern University who was the lead author of the study and worked as a postdoctoral student in Chanda’s lab, said he was excited about the possibility.

“There was a previous demonstration of optical biosensing with human serum, but it requires offline complex and dedicated sample preparation by skilled personnel. This is a product not available in regular point of care applications.” Vazquez-Guardado says. “This study demonstrates for the first time an integrated device that separates plasma from blood and detects target viruses without pretreatment, with potential for practical use in the near future.”

According to Chanda, the next step in the study will include adapting the device to detect more viruses.

Portable, Affordable, Accurate, Fast: Team Invents New COVID-19 Test

For more information:
Abraham Vazquez-Guardado et al., DNA-modified plasmon sensor for detecting viral biomarkers directly from blood, Nano letter (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acs.nanolett.1c01609

Quote: The researchers obtained SARS-COV-2 (2021, November 29, 2021) from https: // on November 29, 2021. ) Develop fast and accurate tests to detect viruses like. sars-cov-.html

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

Researchers are developing fast, accurate tests to detect viruses like SARS-COV-2

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Drivers to Face Traffic Delays This Week on I-25 Near Colorado Springs



A paving project on Interstate 25 south of Colorado Springs will delay traffic during the next several days, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release.

The paving project, which includes filling potholes with asphalt and making road repairs between Santa Fe Boulevard and South Academy Boulevard near Fort Carson, will reduce traffic to a single lane during daytime hours (9 a.m.-3 p.m.), with a speed limit of 55 mph, Tuesday through Thursday, the agency said.

Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes during the maintenance period and those who drive through the construction zone are advised to slow down, allow extra space between vehicles and build in extra travel time. Fines will be doubled in the work zones, the release said.

1 killed in Pueblo County crash

The maintenance is a facet of a larger project designed to improve safety around military facilities in the Pikes Peak Region, the release said.

For more traffic information visit

Colorado Springs weather: Record-breaking temps possible Monday, throughout week

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