It’s Saturday, the week of elections, and … well… besides seeing lots of Shovelers on the lake near us, I think ...

some people may need some chocolate:

(NEXSTAR) — “I sure could go for some chocolate right now.”

If you’ve said something similar lately, especially as the pandemic continues, you’re not alone.

Americans have given free rein to their sweet tooth since the pandemic started, according to findings by NCsolutions, a leading advertising effectiveness company.

From Feb. 24 through Sept. 30, considered the pandemic buying period in the study, spending on confections, baked goods and baking supplies was 9% higher when compared to the same period in 2019, NCsolutions found.

“Though Americans joked about needing even more chocolate as COVID-19 upended routines, the data support the lighthearted commentary,” the company said in a statement.

Between March 11 and March 21, which NCSolutions defined as the “extreme-buying phase,” consumers spent 26% more on chocolate candy specifically. Over the entire pandemic period, spending on the sweet treat continued to be 4% higher than in 2019.

In addition to chocolate, the category of confections, baked goods and baking supplies includes non-chocolate candy, desserts, baking mixes, candy, cookies, frozen baked goods, ice cream, marshmallows, pie crusts and mixes, pie fillings, puddings and gelatins, snack cakes and sugar itself.

“Traditionally, spending on sweets during this time of year rises. Sweets such as chocolate, cakes and pies are a significant element of holiday celebrations, starting with Halloween and continuing through New Year’s Day,” NCSolutions CEO Linda Dupree said in a statement. “This annual trend, coupled with the pandemic-driven sustained interest in cooking and baking, indicates that consumer enthusiasm for the category will remain strong.”

or a shorter work day:

With the world adjusting to post-pandemic life, everyone’s talking about the “new normal.” But what does that mean when it comes to how we work?

Coronavirus has forced us into a massive social experiment. More people than ever are working from home, using tools like Zoom to connect, and adjusting to not being in an office.

Yet once we get over the practical hurdles of the “new normal” there’s a deeper question to answer: How should the typical workday look when there’s no need for commutes, 9-to-5 schedules, and open-plan offices?

After looking through data, trends, and surveys from around the world (both before and during the pandemic), one thing became clear: The “new normal” workday should be much shorter.

Thanks Ray.

Baby Yoda pumpkin creation:

DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Now in her 32nd year of creating giant celebrity pumpkins, artist Jeanette Paras of Dublin, Ohio. decided to venture this Halloween to a galaxy far, far away.

On her pumpkin porch this year is “Baby YodaKin,” based on Baby Yoda, or The Child, from the Star Wars show The Mandalorian.

Paras steered away from spotlighting political figures during an election year. She said that Baby Yoda, like the wise Jedi master Yoda, represents tranquility in a world roiled by a pandemic and seemingly endless bad news.

“I want people to look at Baby YodaKin, smile, appreciate his cuteness and enjoy a moment away from everything going on in the world today,” Paras said in a news release. ”To me, Baby YodaKin represents the mental-health break we need.”

From orphan to…

ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) — With the help of his coach, an unmatched determination and the time to test limits during stay-at-home orders earlier this year, Angola High School junior, Izaiah Steury has emerged as one of the nation’s best high school distance runners.

“The angle we took was, the more miles he could put in March through July, the better he’s going to have a peak for state for cross-country,” Coach Peterson said.

“(Coach) told me if you push yourself, you can really do something great and I followed his plan and it seems to be working so I’m really excited to see where that’s going to go,” Steury said.

Steury named MileSplit National Runner of the Week, USA’s Track and Field Runner of the Month for August and even broke national records for times at races. What Steury’s been able to accomplish just in his third-year of high school is remarkable.

“The accolades, it’s hard to keep up with, and the times, he just keeps breaking school records every time he goes out there it seems like,” Coach Peterson said.

“I mean it’s awesome, I’m happy I’m doing great, but I’m not satisfied, I just want to do better and improve,” Steury said.

While Steury might reap the benefits of the sport he loves now, his story begins in Ethiopia with a childhood of one hardship after another.

“When my mother was still alive, it was great, really awesome, I was treated with the best and respect, but after that everything did change,” Steury said.

Born in a small countryside village in Ethiopia, Steury’s biological dad left him at birth and his mom died unexpectedly which left him without a family in search of a place to call home, so he tried to live with his stepfather.

“I wasn’t very respected, because I wasn’t his own child, and so I was nothing basically,” Steury said.

From foster to family

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WNCN) — An Ohio man has gone from single foster dad to father of five.

Robert Carter, who grew up in foster care himself, knows what it’s like to be separated from siblings. He went into foster care at age 12, when his mother, who struggled with alcoholism, couldn’t care for her children. He didn’t see some of his younger siblings for years.

Once he was emancipated, Carter was granted custody of a younger sister and guardianship of a younger brother.

His memories motivated him to change the path of a family of siblings by adopting all five of them so that they wouldn’t be separated.

Carter began by fostering three boys. Then he, the boys and their other siblings’ — two girls — came together to see each other for the first time in six months. The children and foster parents were all in tears, according to Hamilton County JFS Adoption & Foster Care Recruitment.

Carter told the adoption agency in an interview that he had already been thinking about adopting them all, but this moment sealed the deal for him.

“I understand how they feel,” he said. “I understand what they went through, so it really touched me. I was already thinking about adopting all of the kids, but when I saw them crying, I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to take all five to keep them together.’”

Just a little late, but it got there!

Even after putting his glasses on, Ron Sargent wondered whether what he was looking at was accurate.

The brown box handed to him by his mail carrier on Oct. 9 was addressed to Gayer’s Saddlery, the company where he’d worked in the 1970s in Laurel, Md., then purchased in 1995.

But what really made him do a double-take was the $3 postage and the postmark on the front: Aug. 22, 1979.

“I couldn’t believe it — it only took the post office 41 years to deliver it,” said Sargent, 61, who renamed the leather repair shop Outback Leather when he bought out the previous owner.

Send it back!

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — A huge, invasive species of jellyfish was spotted off the coast of South Carolina in Murrells Inlet, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

The Australian spotted jellyfish can form “‘blooms that gobble up fish and shellfish eggs and damage boats and fishing gear,” the SCDNR said. A member of the public recently spotted one in Murrells Inlet, and other recent sightings were made in North Carolina.

SCDNR said the jellyfish can reach the size of a beach ball and can easily be identified by its spotted appearance.

SCDNR warned anyone spending time on the water to be on the lookout for this species and report sightings online to help federal researchers keep tabs.