12/31: New Year’s Eve Reflections

By rebecca No comments


  • State-level updates on COVID-19 can be found online in multiple languages at coronavirus.wa.gov.
  • Dialing 311 will get you to the City of Tacoma’s non-emergency information line.
  • The state’s Coronavirus Q&A line is staffed 7 days a week, 6am-10pm, at 1-800-525-0127. For interpreters in other languages, press # when they answer and say your language.
  • You can also text the coronavirus Q&A line at 211-211 in any language.
  • Dialing 211 will connect you to community resources statewide through United Way, and you can also visit wa211.org online.


  • Federal law requires health insurers to waive copays and deductibles for COVID-19 vaccines after Jan 1st, but almost all health insurers in Washington state will be doing so for any customers who received their vaccines this month.
    • So far, the insurance providers who’ve agreed to cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs include Aetna, Cigna,Coordinated Care, Kaiser, Molina, PacificSource, Premera, Providence, Regence, and United.]
    • Washingtonians who still need health insurance can sign up during the state’s open enrollment period lasting through January 15, 2021, at https://WaHealthPlanFinder.org.
  • Health officials are urging people to be on the lookout for signs of suicide risk among youth, since the studies suggest that one in four kids under the age of 18 has had suicidal thoughts since the pandemic began.
    • Many resources are available for adults and youth experiencing distress, as well as those caring for youth
    • The “Washington Listens” support line for managing stress and getting referrals for behavioral health services is 1-833-681-0211.
    • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 800-273-8255 for English, or 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish.
    • The Crisis Text Line provides confidential text access from anywhere in the U.S. to a trained crisis counselor when you Text HEAL to 741741
    • Frontline workers experiencing mental or emotional crisis can text FRONTLINE to 741741
    • Teens can call or text the Teen Link number at 866-833-6546
    • And individuals struggling with substance use or addiction can call or text the WA Recovery Help Line at 366-789-1511
  • As a reminder on this new years eve, indoor Social Gatherings with people from outside your household are prohibited unless all participants have quarantined for fourteen days or have quarantined for the past week and have received a negative COVID-19 test result within the last 48 hrs.
    • These statewide orders are in effect through January 11th
    • Anyone who tests negative still needs to wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from others if gathering indoors OR outdoors.
    • Open windows and doors for fresh air if people from different households are congregating indoors.
    • Keep gatherings to 5 or fewer people you don’t live with and maintain at least 6 feet of distance.
    • Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves instead of potluck-style gatherings to avoid possible viral contamination involved in food sharing.
    • Clean and disinfect any surfaces guests may encounter, and wash hands frequently.
  • There are updates regarding unemployment benefits: all eligible claimants receiving benefits from any unemployment program (except the Training Benefits program) will get an extra $300 per week under new federal legislation.
  • The governor has formally issued an extension of the eviction moratorium, as he’d announced last week.
    • All existing provisions are extended through March 31st, and certain adjustments were added to provide additional support for landlords and property owners.
    • State rental assistance programs now get to incorporate newly approved federal rental assistance funding, with the aim of enabling landlords, property owners, and property managers to initiate an application for rental assistance on behalf of tenants who are behind in rent.
    • Landlords and property owners may communicate with tenants in support of their applications for rental assistance.


  • The Tacoma Pierce County Health Department reported 414 new COVID 19 cases today and 222 cases yesterday.
    • The department also discovered an error in pulling cases from the data management system that resulted in an incorrect report of 370 cases on Dec. 29.
    • This number included a handful of out of county cases.
    • The correct number for Dec. 29 is 209 cases.
    • The department has adjusted cumulative figures accordingly.
    • The County’s average cases per day over the last 2 weeks is 251, and with a 6-day lag to account for data accuracy, the case rate per 100,000 people is 453.
  • Based on data, there is a 24% chance that at least one person would be infected with COVID-19 at a gathering of 20 people in Pierce county.


  • TMAC, or Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective, is seeking gift cards that initial recipients don’t plan on using, in order to redistribute to needy neighbors as direct aid, or to buy supplies for on-the-ground distribution.
  • Cards for groceries, restaurants, electronics and hardware stores are especially sought, and can be dropped off at King’s Books on 2nd and St. Helen’s in Tacoma.


  • There are numerous free COVID-19 testing sites in our region:
    • For King County locations visit KingCounty.gov.
    • For Pierce County locations, visit TPCHD.org/covidtest.
    • There’s no mobile testing Today or tomorrow, but the department will be back this weekend offering free testing on Saturday, Jan 2nd at the Fraternal Order of Eagles building in Orting and at Journey Church in Tacoma.
    • No ID is required, tests are free and open to anyone, and most testing runs 10am-3pm, but check TPCHD.org for specifics
    • Results are available in 3-7 days
    • Bonus: Some COVID test sites are also doing free adult flu shots too!
  • A new program even arranges for a test to be delivered to you if you have mobility issues or trouble getting to a test site.
  • Cheney Stadium is partnering with Discovery Health to offer COVID-19 testing Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Feb. 28.


With 2020 nearly behind us, I find myself reflecting on KTQA’s exciting accomplishments, but also the curve balls that coronavirus tossed our way this year.

  • Even with these challenges, we held its first community engagement event in February at Blackfleet, where I was so pleased to meet so many of you! We’d aimed to host another community event right when the first set of closures and stay-home orders went into effect.
  • Hopefully, we’ve used radio to uplift and entertain isolated neighbors through the thick of the stay-at-home orders and beyond
  • And even though its was only my and Sam’s fingers on buttons, I was so privileged to have been able to engage community members through the Daily Briefing, where throughout the spring and summer we heard from more than 90 different people and organizations:
    • from writers like Marissa Meyer and Brent Hartinger,
    • activists like Erin Sarvis and Marilyn Kimmerling
    • poets like Bethany B.Lyte Montgomery and Richard Wakefield
    • Musical groups like The Tacoma Refugee Choir and Guilded Lilly
    • Artists like Mindy Barker and Jasmine Iona Brown
    • Health and wellness specialists like Antonia Hernandez and Robert Demko
    • Owners of unique Tacoma businesses like Tinkertopia and Catfeinated
    • Service orgs like Sound Outreach and Eloise’s Cooking Pot
    • Community partners Hilltop Action Coalition, VT Radio Universal, and Latinx En Accion
    • Public servants like Kristin Ang, Connie Ladenberg, and T’wina Nobles
    • And Cultural institutions like our zoos, libraries, museums, schools, hospitals, festivals-gone-virtual, trails, parks, and public spaces..
  • Thanks to the generosity of community members, Sam and several friends were able to refurbish and gift laptops and tablets to kids in need when school buildings shut down
  • And perhaps most excitingly: we secured our broadcast studio location right in the heart of Hilltop!!
    • It is accessible via bus lines and the forthcoming extended light rail, and we can’t wait till it’s safe to open it to the community!
    • Sam’s been documenting the studio build with a video series–his youtube channel is Waveform Orchard if you want to see how that’s coming along.

We’ve got two major openings for volunteers in the first part of 2021. So, if you’re looking to start something in the new year–maybe, make a resolution of sorts to serve more, be involved more, connect more–Here’s your chance!

  1. Content Committee opportunities:
  2. Advise on 1st quarter 2021 program schedule (1-2 hrs/week)
  3. Preview & select new shows (1-10 hrs/week)
  4. Advise and generate content for the website and social media (1-2 hrs/week)
  5. Finance Committee opportunities:
  6. Assist and/or lead fundraising (1-6 hrs/week)
  7. Recruit underwriters and sponsors (1-6 hrs/week)
  8. Research and apply for grants (1-6 hrs/week)

To continue keeping us all safe, volunteering will be remote–for now.

Tacoma needs and deserves more than just two people’s time, attention, and skills to grow KTQA into the community radio station you know it can be. I can’t count the number of times Sam has lamented to me that “KTQA can’t just be the Sam & Becky show!”–and it was never intended to be.

We’re already starting to hear from folks interested in doing a regular show and we’re so eager to get you going! To get involved at any level, you can email info@ktqa.org, call/text us at (253) 330-8821, or go to ktqa.org/contact.