NEWS GLEAMS: Gun Return Program Legislation, Free At-Home COVID Tests, & More

curated by Emerald Editors

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

This week’s News Gleams focuses on key issues on everyone’s minds lately: gun safety, police accountability, the environment, and COVID-19. These Gleams are focused on emergent solutions, small community victories, opportunities for us to connect better with one another, and, importantly, a reminder on how you can get free COVID-19 tests mailed to you.

—Vee Hua, interim managing editor for the South Seattle Emerald

✨Gleaming This Week✨

King County Council Introduces Legislation for Permanent Gun and Ammo Return Program

On Tuesday, June 7, the King County Council introduced a proposal to create a permanent voluntary safe firearm and ammunition return program. Sponsored by Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Joe McDermott, and Girmay Zahilay, the measure would enable any person to take an unwanted firearm, or ammunition, to any precinct office or storefront operated by the King County Sheriff’s Office, including in the 10 contract cities where it provides police services.

According to the most recent data available, the number of overall shooting victims in King County was up 70%, and the number of shooting fatalities was up 54% over the four-year average from 2017 through 2020.

King County has a record of implementing successful programs and policies to increase gun safety, including a gun buyback program coordinated by King County and the City of Seattle in 2013. At that event, 716 firearms were safely surrendered to law enforcement.

Learn more about King County’s current gun violence programs on Public Health – Seattle & King County’s gun violence prevention webpage.

The King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight Issues Annual Report Which Certifies 99 Complaint Investigations

In its just-released 2021 annual report, the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) certified 99 complaint investigations, reviewed 346 classifications for complaint investigations, and wrote findings for three complaint investigations. It also issued its first in-house systemic review on the fatal shooting of Anthony Chilcott by plainclothes Sheriff’s Office detectives and concluded:

“OLEO’s review found that the tactical decisions and actions made throughout the incident repeatedly forced a confrontation, unnecessarily escalated the situation, and endangered Anthony Chilcott, the detectives themselves, and nearby third parties. OLEO also found that some Sheriff’s Office policies allow for individual discretion without departmental clarity, specificity, or internal accountability mechanisms to determine whether decision-making during an incident is sound.”

The report was presented Tuesday, June 7, before the King County Council’s Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee. A full PDF of the report is available to download.

Silhouette of male-presenting youth reading a book against a sunset.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program Gives Out Its 4 Millionth Book at Concord Elementary School

On Friday, June 3, in the South Park neighborhood, Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program gave out its 4 millionth book to a student in the cafeteria at Concord Elementary School. The event was part of Page Ahead’s “Book Up Summer” meant to build the home libraries and learning environments of students in Title One schools in southwest and southeast Seattle. Concord educators brought their K-2 students into the cafeteria where Concord’s mascot, Aventura the Puma, entertained them while their classmates received 12 books they’d previously chosen at a book fair.

Hong-Ni Do, administrator for the Satterberg Literacy Initiative for Seattle Public Schools, has teamed up with Page Ahead during the pandemic to plan these events. Do mentioned they have also begun a similar effort to get books in the hands of third through fifth graders at Seattle’s Early Literacy Priority Schools. She said these efforts are, “a very unique grant and partnership between the Satterberg Foundation and Seattle Public Schools.”

South King County Environmental Symposium Showcases Local Nonprofits and Community Groups

On June 18, a one-day conference hosted by the Port of Seattle will feature the work of regional nonprofits and community groups working to organize and improve the environment in south King County. Free registration includes breakfast and lunch, with opportunities for networking and learning about funding sources, such as the South King County Community Impact Fund and other regional grant programs.

Panel presentations will include topics such as: Cultivation and Cultural Belonging; Community Stewardship and Youth Activism; and Green Jobs for a Just Transition. The event will be hosted from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Highline College in Des Moines, and a virtual participation option is also available. Register for free on the Port of Seattle events webpage.

Illustration depicting a woman wearing a red T-shirt and blue surgical face mask standing next to a large white COVID-19 rapid test. The test results depict a COVID-19 positive result. Blue coronavirus illustrations pepper the background..
Illustration by Blueastro/

Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests Are Still Available!

The Say Yes! COVID Test website offers free COVID-19 tests statewide. The federal program offers 8 free tests, and the state’s program provides 2 free COVID-19 tests per month. Find out if you’re eligible for free at-home COVID-19 tests at

Editors’ Note: This article was updated on 06/09/2022 to correct the name of the foundation that is partnered with Seattle Public Schools to help distribute books to students. The Emerald apologizes for the error.

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