NEWS GLEAMS | President Biden to Cancel Student Loan Debt, WA State Book Award Finalists

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

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

🖋️Letter From the Editor🖋️

Today’s big announcement coming from the White House is that the Biden administration plans to cancel a significant amount of student debts nationally, as well as extend the current moratorium on payments for a final time.

Locally, a number of sites around South King County will be offering free dental care services for youth and adults, Bloodworks Northwest is in desperate need of blood donations, and an extensive list of excellent books can be found in the list of Washington State Book Award finalists! Full disclosure: One nomination includes Readying to Rise: Essays by South Seattle Emerald founder and publisher Marcus Harrison Green.

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

✨Gleaming This Week✨

President Biden Set to Cancel Student Loan Debt

In March 2020, Congress instituted a student loan payment pause in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was extended twice by former President Donald Trump and has since been extended four times by President Joe Biden, with the current extension set to expire on Aug. 31.

According to reporting by Politico, the Biden administration has announced today that it is “canceling up to $10,000 of student debt for millions of people and up to $20,000 of debt for low- and middle-income borrowers who previously received a Pell grant. The loan relief will be limited to borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year or families earning less than $250,000. In addition, the White House plans to extend the moratorium on monthly payments and interest for a ‘final time’ through Dec. 31.”

The decision is likely to face legal challenges from those who to not believe Biden has the authority to cancel student debts. In anticipation, Education Department officials have released a five-page legal memorandum and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has released a 25-page memo; both offer explanations around why the Biden administration does have the authority.

Photo depicting a medical team in blue scrubs standing in front of a red mobile dental care van.
Mobile dental clinic in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Medical Teams International.)

Free Emergency Dental Services Are Available by Appointment

On Thursday, Aug. 25, Medical Teams International and the Sumner Community Food Bank are partnering to provide free, emergency dental services to kids and families during the first of their monthly Free Dental Days. This clinic will feature dental screenings for children, emergency dental care for adults, dental care kits, and many more insurance and dental care resources. The event takes place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Sign-ups for urgent adult dental care are now closed, but spots are still available for children. If you would like to get on the wait list for future events, please email or visit the Sumner Food Bank website for more information.

Other upcoming services include:

Bloodworks Northwest Issues Urgent Appeal to Donors During Emergency Shortage of Blood

Bloodworks Northwest has issued an urgent need for blood donations heading into Labor Day weekend, which is a period that typically experiences high patient usage. Bloodworks Northwest expresses that a safe and reliable blood supply requires 1,000 donors a day of all blood types. Presently, only 40% of the necessary donors have booked appointments, leaving a gap of 3,600 open appointments between now and Labor Day.

“We’re operating on less than a single day supply of O positive and O negative blood – the types most needed in trauma situations,” said their Co-chief Medical Officer Dr. Kirsten Alcorn.

Bloodworks also has perks for people who donate this summer. They can enter to win monthly music giveaways, and donors who sign up to receive emails can receive gift card promotions.

Information about who can donate and where is available at or 800-398-7888. Find their list of donor centers, including a new donor center in Renton, and pop-up blood drive locations online.

Photo depicting stacks of the books that are finalists for the 2022 Washington State Book Award.
Photo courtesy of The Seattle Public Library.

2022 Washington State Book Award Finalists Announced by the Washington Center for the Book and the Seattle Public Library

The Washington Center for the Book and The Seattle Public Library have selected 39 finalists in eight categories for the 2022 Washington State Book Awards (WSBA) for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. This is the 56th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.

Finalists for books in the adults categories are listed below, for the categories of Biography/Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and General Nonfiction. Finalists for adult books in Poetry, and finalists for all youth categories can be seen on SPL’s Shelf Talk Blog. A winner in each category will be announced on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022.

2022 WSBA Finalists: Books for Adults Categories

  • Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism by Elsa Sjunneson, of Seattle (S&S/Simon Element)
  • Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life by Carol Smith, of Seattle (Harry N. Abrams)
  • Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging by Anne Liu Kellor, of Seattle (She Writes Press)
  • The Other Mothers: Two Women’s Journey to Find the Family That Was Always Theirs by Jennifer Berney, of Olympia (Sourcebooks)
Creative Nonfiction
  • The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with recipes) by Kate Lebo, of Spokane (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Readying to Rise: Essays by Marcus Harrison Green, of Skyway/South Seattle (Vertvolta Press)
  • Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, of West Seattle (Little, Brown Spark)
  • We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration written by Frank Abe of Seattle and Tamiko Nimura of Tacoma; artwork by Ross Ishikawa of Seattle and Matt Sasaki of Edmonds (Chin Music Press)
  • White Magic: Essays by Elissa Washuta, enrolled member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe (Tin House Books)
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, of Seattle (Berkley)
  • Legends of the North Cascades by Jonathan Evison, of Bainbridge Island (Algonquin Books)
  • On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu, of Western Washington (Erewhon)
  • One Two Three by Laurie Frankel, of Seattle (Henry Holt and Company)
  • What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins, of Port Townsend (Riverhead Books)
General Nonfiction
  • Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: The Niim̕ipuu Campaign to Repatriate Their Exploited Heritage by Trevor James Bond, of Pullman (Washington State University Press)
  • Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown, of Redmond (Viking)
  • Fear No Man: Don James, the ʼ91 Huskies, and the Seven-year Quest for A National Football Championship by Mike Gastineau, of Whidbey Island (University of Washington Press)
  • Murder at the Mission: A Frontier Killing, Its Legacy of Lies, and the Taking of the American West by Blaine Harden, of Seattle (Penguin Books)
  • Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home written by Lynda Mapes, of Seattle (Braided River and The Seattle Times)
  • Skid Road: on the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City by Josephine Ensign, of Seattle (Johns Hopkins University Press)

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