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Sam Gringlas

Sam Gringlas is a producer for NPR's All Things Considered and is helping cover the 2020 election for the Washington Desk. He's produced and reported with NPR from all over the country, as well as China and the U.S.-Mexico border. He started as an intern at All Things Considered after graduating with a public policy degree from the University of Michigan, where he was news editor at The Michigan Daily. He's a native Michigander.

Wednesday is Valentine's Day, and if you struggled to find just the right words to tell a special someone how you feel, you have options.

There are the classic options: Store-bought superhero valentines or sappy Hallmark cards. Or if you're into something sweet — boxes of pastel-colored candy hearts, emblazoned with messages like "BE MINE," "XOXO" and "HOT STUFF."

But if those candy greetings feel tired, or just aren't striking the right note, Colorado researcher Janelle Shane has some ideas.

Lea esta historia en español.

The day was going to be perfect.

Alex figured he would wake up at 6:30 a.m., help get his little brothers up and off to school and catch the bus by 7. After school, the 14-year-old would do something he had been looking forward to for weeks — play in his first football game.

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