Do you know an administrative assistant that has handled the chaos of COVID-19 brilliantly? Nominate them for the “Handling Crisis Brilliantly” award.
We are all facing this unprecedented time together. It can be difficult to know what to do and where to turn and yet brilliant assistants everywhere are figuring it out. Let’s show our appreciation and recognize them by submitting a nomination today.
The Information Management team with Hanford Site contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) recently received the 2020 Project of the Year Award from the Columbia River Basin chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI). Selected by an independent evaluation team, MSA was recognized for their work on the Hanford Datacenter Modernization & Closure project, led by project manager Dennis Rains.
Todd Eckman, vice president of Information Management for MSA, accepted the award on behalf of the team. “There is a great amount of pride in receiving this award, especially because of the level of teamwork and collaboration it required. This project increased efficiency and will save the Department of Energy – and taxpayers – up to two million dollars over the next ten years.”
As the site services provider, MSA manages Hanford’s computer network, including a primary and a backup datacenter. This project included the closure of an old datacenter, which was replaced with a new, more efficient and smaller center, which was moved off-site. Partners included both Benton and Franklin County Public Utility Districts, the Northwest Open Access Network and the Department of Energy.
During the awards ceremony, Eckman gave a brief presentation on the project and described it in a way that is easy for many to understand. “A datacenter is like a brain – it’s where all the processing and storage of information happens. Like your brain, a datacenter runs an entire network. When you’re moving a datacenter from one location to another, it’s like having your brain taken out and moved to another body and still expecting it to work exactly as it had before. Every single computer and device on our network is connected to the datacenter and we had to ensure there was no lapse in service and that everything was reconnected to work the same as before.”
The Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation is teaming up with local restaurants to provide patients with a meal during this difficult time. They are partnering with some of the restaurants and chefs who participated in our DINE OUT event in Fall 2019 for DINE IN - Cancer Crushing COVID-19 Care.
Starting last week, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation began accepting donations online to send cancer patients a meal from one of our local cancer crushing restaurants. Donations go to support our patients and our wonderful local businesses. Donations can be made at https://tccancer.z2systems.com/np/clients/tccancer/survey.jsp?surveyId=2&
Weekly, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation will announce which restaurant or chef we are partnering with on Facebook.
This week, patients will receive lasagnas from Chef Kyle Thornhill of Tsunami Catering. Chef Kyle is the amazing chef from our Cancer Crushing Cuisine Cooking Series. In addition, Chef Kyle also has a catering company where you can order meals for your family to take home and enjoy out of Red Mountain Kitchen at https://www.tsunamicatering.com/.
Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) invites readers of all ages to stay engaged with the library and books during its Spring Reading Challenge, which begins online today. Participants can start the challenge by registering at midcolumbialibraries.org/spring-reading-challenge-2020. Everyone who registers will be entered in a weekly drawing for one of several Amazon digital gift cards.
MCL closed its 12 branches and Bookmobile from March 17 through April 24 to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19); however, cardholders can enjoy 24/7 access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming video, and more on the library website, midcolumbialibraries.org.
There are two ways to participate in the reading challenge. Readers can play Book Bingo, track their reading or listening time in a reading log, or do both for more chances to win a Kindle or Apple AirPods.
One fun way to earn a bingo square is to watch an online storytime. MCL now hosts Facebook Live Storytime With Ms. Haley each Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 am on its Facebook page.
The Spring Reading Challenge is just one of the many ways new and existing customers can connect with their library during this difficult time. MCL offers an instant digital library card available through the one-tap reading app, Libby, and is adding more eBooks and eAudiobooks regularly to keep up with demand. Families with children can find a curated list of online educational resources to support reading and learning on the website.
Prosser Memorial Health is committed to providing a safe, healing, patient-centered care environment. In response to COVID-19 and the growing need for care, Prosser Memorial Health is opening a dedicated Respiratory | COVID-19 Care Clinic in Prosser.
The Prosser Memorial Health Respiratory | COVID-19 Care Clinic will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm at 713 Memorial Street in Prosser. Patients with a fever of 100 degrees or higher and or cough and cold symptoms, should call our Respiratory | COVID-19 Care Clinic at 509-788-6030 to schedule an appointment. We are asking patients to remain in their car for evaluation when they arrive at the clinic.
Patients are asked to separate themselves from other people in their home, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash their hands for 20 seconds often. Practice social distancing of 6 feet apart from others. For those with respiratory distress who need to come to the Emergency Department, we ask that you call ahead at 509-786-6662 so that we may prepare a room for you. The Prosser Memorial Health Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To better serve the community, Prosser Memorial Health has also launched a dedicated COVID-19 resource page on our website at prosserhealth.org. The webpage has helpful links and phone numbers, community resources, videos, COVID-19 precautions, and mental health and wellness tips. The information is available in both English and Spanish with new content added as available. We have also added a COVID-19 self-assessment tool from the CDC on the website home page. For those with questions about the COVID-19 virus, when to stay home, when to see your primary care provider, and when to come to the Emergency Department, you can email us at email@example.com and one of our healthcare professionals will get back to you.
The Tri-Cities Airport remains open and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. The airport is considered an essential service provider, and will continue to support the community. However, there are a few recommendations and changes to operations that airport users should be aware of before coming to the airport:
Flight schedules are currently normal. While the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced air travel demand across the globe, the Tri-Cities Airport has not been informed of any schedule changes to its current flight offerings. One-off flight delays and cancellations still occur, and travelers should stay in contact with their airline regarding specific itineraries. The Tri-Cities Airport does anticipate that there will be schedule changes soon; when informed by the airline(s), the airport will share the information on Facebook and its website, flytricities.com. Passengers are encouraged to confirm their flight with their airline before arriving at the airport.
Do the Five. For those who still need to travel, please keep in mind the World Health Organization’s “Do the Five” when coming to the airport:
Greet passengers on the curb. When picking up someone from the airport, please use the cell phone lot and have the passenger call you when they arrive and have their bags. You can then pick them up on the curb. If you need to come into the airport, we ask that only one person comes in to meet the passenger and to also keep The Five in mind.
Bring full-size hand sanitizers. The TSA is now permitting travelers to bring hand-sanitizer bottles up to 12 ounces through the security checkpoint. These bottles will be screened separately, which may add time to the security experience. All other liquids will still need to be 3.4 ounces or less.
Dining options are still available. The airport’s concessionaires are providing grab-and-go food options for travelers, and the airport store remains open and selling snacks, bottled drinks, and other items.
Airport staff remains vigilant. The Tri-Cities Airport has increased its cleaning of high-touch areas and the deep-cleaning of restrooms. Airport leadership will continue to revise its operations and policies as directed by public health organizations. The airport will also keep the community informed about travel updates as they occur.
For additional details on how the Tri-Cities Airport is responding to COVID-19, please visit our website.
Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) has extended due dates on physical materials and other time-sensitive account services as well as augmented its digital collection and curated online resources for families. MCL closed its 12 branches and Bookmobile from March 17 through April 24 to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We continue to support and serve customers in a variety of ways,” says Kyle Cox, executive director and chief librarian. “We want to reassure customers even though they cannot physically visit their library right now, their accounts are safe and, for those who can access us digitally, we have many great resources to keep you engaged, reading, and learning. This is not a permanent state: we are actively investigating ways to expand access to our library in a way that is responsible to customers and staff, and responsive to the demands of this pandemic.”
Due dates on physical materials have been extended to April 27. Customers will not be charged fees for lost items before that date. All external drop boxes are closed; customers are strongly encouraged not to leave materials in drop boxes. Any requested items held will remain on hold through April 27. And, all recently expired and soon to expire library cards have been extended to May 1.
MCL has increased purchases for its digital collection to keep up with demand, including adding more than 4,000 always available titles. Thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and more are at midcolumbialibraries.org/ebooks.
Cardholders can stream movies, TV shows, world cinema, and much more through Kanopy. MCL will soon temporarily increase the credit limit in Kanopy from five to 10 per month for the duration of the closure period. Parents and children can also enjoy unlimited access to high-quality kids content through Kanopy Kids. More information is at midcolumbialibraries.org/streaming-video.
MCL has compiled a list of online resources to support families with children home from school. These include the children's digital collection, resources in Spanish, world learning databases, and much more. More information is available at midcolumbialibraries.org/family-resources.
Ben Franklin Transit to Discontinue Fare Collection, Move to Rear-Door Boarding on Buses, Effective March 18
Ben Franklin Transit (BFT) continues to keep up to date on the latest developments in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In response to the ever-changing situation, BFT is taking additional measures to protect the health and safety of our employees and our community.
BFT continues to work around the clock to support the Tri-Cities region and slow the spread of COVID-19. Today, BFT General Manager Gloria Boyce, with support from the BFT Board of Directors, advised her team to implement two new measures to strike an appropriate balance of protection for BFT’s front-line employees and their families, our customers, and the surrounding community.
Effective March 18, 2020, in addition to precautions that began last week, Ben Franklin Transit will take the following new measures:
1. Discontinue fare collection for bus, Dial-A-Ride, and General Demand services until April 11, 2020. This date will be reviewed as it gets closer to determine whether an extension is prudent. Customers with March passes will be able to use them through the end of April, and April passes will not be available for purchase until the date for return to normal fare collection is confirmed.
2. Close the front doors of the bus. Riders will enter and exit the buses using the rear entrance only to maintain proper social distancing for drivers. Once onboard, riders are asked to maintain a six-foot distance between themselves and the driver and stagger seating to maintain that same distance from other passengers. PLEASE NOTE: Customers who require ramp assistance to board will be notified by the driver that another vehicle will be immediately dispatched to their location for pickup.
Although there will be no charge for the services noted during this unprecedented time, we ask that the public please strongly consider limiting non-essential trips by any method of transportation to minimize contact with others.
We will continue to provide regular service levels to our community at this time and will notify customers via social media, our website, and other means as appropriate if there are any other changes in service. For the most up-to-date bus schedules we recommend that riders download and use the Transit app, or check MyRide.BFT.org.
To protect our passengers and drivers, BFT will continue daily disinfection procedures in all our vehicles and facilities. Our top priorities are to continue service and to keep our employees and customers healthy and safe. We appreciate the public working with us to make this possible.
IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, DO NOT TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Call your healthcare provider before you leave your home and follow their guidance.
The most effective way to prevent the spread of disease are things we can all do ourselves. We strongly encourage everyone to follow these recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control:
BFT will continue to monitor COVID-19-related developments and take appropriate action using guidance from public health authorities.
SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Washington Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Washington small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Jay Inslee on March 13, 2020.
The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Whitman and Yakima counties in Washington; Benewah, Latah and Nez Perce counties in Idaho; and Gilliam, Hood River, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla and Wasco counties in Oregon.
“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Washington small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.
SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.
“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.
“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.
Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020.
For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.
For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.
Heritage University is taking precautions to protect the health of its students, faculty and staff, their family members as well as the community beyond campus. Today Heritage President Dr. Andrew Sund announced protocols that follow closely the guidelines of the Yakima Health District, the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control, to minimize the spread of the virus.
The first will be to extend Spring Break for undergraduate students through Sunday, March 22, 2020. There will be no classes the week beginning March 16, 2020. “During this time, we expect faculty and students to prepare to continue their programs using available online platforms, making other arrangements for distance learning or other mechanisms that maintain social distancing protocols,” said Dr. Sund.
Sund said beginning March 23, 2020, Heritage will deliver almost all instruction online for a two-week period through April 5, 2020. “Instructors will communicate with students electronically on how to obtain study materials, turn in assignments, and participate in a remote instruction environment,” he said.
Dr. Sund also announced all events taking place on campus between March 13, 2020, and April 30, 2020 will either be canceled or postponed. Decisions will be made whether to hold events scheduled for after April 30 as changing conditions warrant.
As a point of social responsibility, Dr. is strongly discouraging Heritage community members from traveling or attending events with large numbers of individuals. “We are taking these measures so that we may minimize the spread of the virus.”
For more information, contact Davidson Mance, media relations coordinator at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@heritage.edu.
Email your press release and a photo to Austin Regimbal, Marketing & Communications Director. Press releases are posted in their entirety. This is a free benefit for members of the Tri-City Regional Chamber.