6/29: Erin Guinup, Love Letters Project

By sam No comments

Erin Guinup returns to tell us about the latest initiative of the Tacoma Refugee Choir–The Love Letters Project–including how you can participate in sending electronic messages of support and hope for refugees, right from your home!

Interview begins at 9:55.


  • The Governor and the Secretary of Health have paused any counties moving to Phase 4 due to the increase in COVID-19 activity across the state, and significant rebounds in COVID-19 activity in several other states.
    • The governor’s office and the state health department will be spending the next few weeks assessing the need for a modified approach for moving beyond Phase 3.
    • Eight counties were eligible to move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 before the pause.
  • The Washington State Health Care Authority is reminding residents that a program called Washington Listens is available for anyone experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19.
    • A phone line is staffed with non-clinical support specialists who are trained to give information and connection to community resources in a caller’s area.
    • The program is anonymous and no identifying information is retained.
    • The “Washington Listens” toll-free number is 1-833-681-0211
  • The State Parks and Rec Commission has issued guidance in advance of the Independence Day holiday weekend:
    • To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, State Parks urges residents to keep distance from others, practice good hygiene, use face coverings, limit party sizes, stay close to home, bring supplies like hand sanitizer and toilet paper, and have alternate plans in case parks are too crowded.
    • The Commission notes that many communities adjacent to state parks are in Phase 1 or 2, and smaller counties may have difficulty serving an influx of visitors, so fueling up and grocery shopping before leaving home will help ease the burden on these communities.
  • Tuesday, June 30 is the last day businesses can apply for federal Paycheck Protection Program loans through the Small Business Administration.


  • WorkSource and Clover Park Technical College have partnered up to offer GED Completion classes, completely online to ensure social distancing.
    • Interested individuals should email either Felicia.Dennis@cptc.edu or Beth.Salavea@cptc.edu to learn more or to get started.
  • If your organization or business is still in need of Personal Protective Equipment, call the Pierce County’s Emergency Operations Center at (253) 798-7470 and ask for the Logistics section.
    • The County is providing PPE, at no cost, to behavioral health providers, and other nonprofits and businesses in Pierce County.


  • Tacoma Public Schools’ summer meal programs began today.
    • Grab ‘n Go curbside meals with breakfast and lunch are available 10am to noon, Monday through Thursday, at 7 middle school locations.
    • Grocery boxes will also be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at Baker, First Creek and Giaudrone Middle Schools on Thursdays from 10am to Noon
    • Several other community sites will distribute food as well, including Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, MetroParks Tacoma, the Boys & Girls Club, and several community churches.
    • More info can be had by calling 253-571-1000 or online at TacomaSchools.org.
  • Tacoma’s City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, June 30th at 5pm.
    • Due to COVID, comments are accepted ONLY in writing, and ONLY until 4:00pm Tuesday. Email comments to cityclerk@cityoftacoma.org
    • The meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online via the City’s Facebook Live channel and at tvtacoma.com.
  • The City is also developing its next annual budget, and is soliciting community feedback for how funds should be allocated.
    • There are multiple surveys found at CityOfTacoma.org/BudgetDevelopment based on City Council priorities which include: safety, racial equity & anti-racism, jobs, housing, access, engagement, and health.
    • Surveys are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Khmer.
  • The Pacific Seas and the South Pacific Aquariums at Point Defiance Zoo will reopen July 1st.
    • All guests, including zoo members, will need to reserve a timed ticket online at pdza.org for entry, as tickets will not be available at the zoo’s front gate.
    • Visitors are expected to follow all signage and maintain distance from other visitors.
  • The Tacoma Rainiers will livestream a fireworks show using drones and a variety of camera angles via Facebook Live this Friday, July 3rd, at 9:45pm.
    • The parking lot will be closed to the public due to coronavirus health protocol, and those in the area of Cheney Stadium are encouraged to practice physical distancing if gathering to watch in-person nearby.


  • There are numerous free testing sites in our region:
  • For Pierce County locations, visit TPCHD.org/covidtest.
  • Patients can also call their health providers for tests.
  • In general, patients should arrive at testing sites wearing face coverings and expect the process to take about 15 minutes.
  • Some of the testing sites offer rapid test results, while others have a 48-hr turnaround time.
  • The state’s COVID-19 situation report noted that increase case counts in Pierce county is not tied to a large testing volume change, suggesting that the upward trends are “connected to increasing transmission across the Puget Sound area.” Individuals who have been in large gatherings are encouraged to get tested, even if they aren’t feeling sick.