Pierce Pioneer

Pierce opening for the winter

After a year plus of campuses being closed, there is hope to welcome all students back to in-person teaching. 

An email was sent out to Pierce College staff with updates on current plans for returning to campus and fully reopening no later than winter quarter of 2022. “The full reopening will incorporate lessons learned throughout the pandemic about safety and the needs of students and employees,” Pierce College Chancellor and Presidents stated.

The plan includes a gradual return to campus while the classes remain online during spring term, starting with employees wanting to return to the campus. This would be the start of a larger phased return.

The decision to reopen, made by the governing body of the school, will be in alignment with the guidance of the governor’s office and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health District. The state’s higher education reopening plan, and the COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan, will also help to ensure all safety protocols are met and have a revert-to-remote operation if needed.

Any further updates on plans to return to campus will be given as the evolving situation with the pandemic is monitored. Information on when it is safe for students and services to return to campus will be given to the school’s staff.

The Chancellor and Presidents stated that they are looking forward to and hope for face-to-face interactions soon.

Tips for bad weather

12019 / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo
Trucks in Chicago, Illinois clearing the streets of snow.

Your hands are numb from the freezing cold. You can barely feel your face as the harsh wind cuts across your cheeks as you wait for your car to warm up. As winter approaches, bad weather curses the streets with black ice and racks up electric bills. Here are some tips for how to fight off the cold.

To remove ice from windshields, invest in a de-icer spray or make one by combining two thirds of rubbing alcohol with a third of tap water. Start the car but put the heater on medium, not full blast. As it defrosts, spray the de-icer onto the frozen windshield and let it sit for about a minute before carefully scraping the ice.

Some people buy an ice scraper to scrape away ice as long as it’s used carefully but using a school ID, or a card similar to it, can also work. Do not use metal items to scrape ice. Pouring regular water onto a windshield would also be ineffective as it will only freeze again. One way to reduce ice altogether is to cover it with bedsheets, cardboard, towels, or a tarp overnight.

Once the car is drivable, keep your regular headlights on so other drivers can see you. The lights can help show where black ice is. Black ice is hard to see but tends to be reflective and located on the back roads and bridges.

If you’re brave enough to drive on icy streets, invest in snow chains for your tires. If not, don’t tailgate others and be sure to pump the brakes at a reasonable distance. Sudden movements when braking or turning can be dangerous, so it would be best to avoid that. Slow down when the roads are covered with snow or ice. It’s also important to keep your gas tank filled due to the high usage of gas when the car works to stay warm.

To keep your body warm, wear layers of clothing that are insulated and windproof. Wearing wool is more beneficial during the winter season rather than cotton or denim, which gets wet and cold faster. Keep clothing loose so your circulation doesn’t get cut off. Scarves are also best at protecting your face. 

Carry hand warmers to place into your mittens to trap the heat. For feet, boots are preferable to keep water out, but breathable shoes are not. Toe warmers can be worn with shoes to keep your feet from going numb.

In houses, keep the doors to rooms that aren’t being occupied closed so warm air is not lost through circulation. Cover up the windows at night with curtains or hang a blanket on walls and doors to insulate the heat. Set the temperature to heaters at a medium setting because the higher the temperature, the faster it gets lost to the cold air outside. Space heaters save electricity by focusing heat for the room in use.

There are many other ways to keep warm during the winter season. These are just a few tips to handle the bad weather that may come along.

For information about school emergencies, delays or closure procedures and how to stay up to date, check out this link for more information.

Holidays Around The World

Jill Wellington / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo

Every winter, people decorate their houses with lights, set up Christmas trees, and celebrate the new year with fireworks. Christmas and New Year’s are largely recognized as traditional holidays of the U.S., but what about winter holidays that are celebrated in other countries that we may not know about?

Pashminu Mansukhani / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo


Frida Gabot / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo

St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day

Diwali (Festival of Lights) is a Hindu holiday that occurs in either October or November. Good is celebrated over evil by decorating houses with colorful lights and by gifting others. They also worship the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. Diwali has become recognizable worldwide from India to the United Kingdom, and the vibrant festivals last up to five days.

In Europe, Christian festivals such as St. Nicholas Day and St. Lucia Day are celebrated. On Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day is celebrated similarly to Christmas. Children write letters to Saint Nicholas and he leaves presents for them in the morning. Then, on Dec. 13, St. Lucia Day honors Saint Lucia, a Christian martyr. Children dress in white with the eldest daughter serving coffee and sweets to family members. It is a ceremony of lights and songs, celebrated mostly in Sweden.

Anza Trail NPS / Flickr / Courtesy Photo

Las Posadas

Micheal / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo


Over in Latin America, the Mexican holiday Las Posadas occurs from Dec. 16 to Dec. 24. People parade the streets singing Christmas carols and holding candles. Communities are brought closer with dinner and parties. After dinner, members of the community take turns hitting a piñata which represents the seven deadly sins. Each night is a party until Christmas day.

Hanukkah (Chanukah), a historical Jewish holiday, begins Dec. 22 to Dec. 30. In Israel, they celebrate a victory won in battle over the Jewish Temple years ago. Also referred to as “Festival of Lights,” a menorah is lit every night for eight nights in a row. To thank God, blessings and the Hallel prayer are spoken. Children play with dreidels and are given money as presents for good behavior.

Thinkstock / Courtesy Photo


stock luong / Pixabay / Courtesy Photo

New Year's

Kwanzaa takes place Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 and is widely celebrated by African Americans and African culture. The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) has each principle observed for each day. These values contribute to the progress and hard work that people of African heritage have had to go through. Red, black, and green clothing are worn to symbolize the efforts for social change of the past and the future.

New Year’s is observed diversely around the world with some events on different days. On Dec. 31, Japan calls it “Omisoka” where cleaning one’s home and self is important as they enter the new year. In Denmark, citizens smash plates and jump off chairs to bring good fortune. On Feb. 8, both the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) and Korean New Year (Seollal) brings family reunions and hosts parades. During the Chinese New Year, family members give out money in red envelopes to symbolize good luck.

International winter holidays may not appear to be as prevalent in the U.S. but they’re still joyfully celebrated elsewhere. It’s an opportunity for families to truly take a break from their busy schedules to spend time together. Whether holidays are celebrated religiously or culturally, individuals can end the past year on a good note and look forward to the start of a new year worldwide.

Winter Clothing Drive



January 3-19.
Please donate new or gently used winter clothing: hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, or vests.
All items are donated to the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

Cure those winter blues

Mariah Foley
Staff Writer

Not many people know what it means when people talk about “SAD.” SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and is a form of depression that affects thousands of people, specifically during wintertime. The medical term for SAD is ‘light deficiency’, because the long winter nights and decreased light intake in a person’s body has a visible, life-changing effect.

Seasonal depression affects about 10% of the population in Seattle alone, and although it affects everyone, it is more detectable in women, says professor David Avery from University of Washington School of Medicine.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, like other forms of depression, can result in bipolar disorder and even suicide. However, the usual effects of SAD are weight gain, grumpy or sluggish behavior, and lack of motivation.

The best-known way to treat SAD is light therapy, during which one exposes oneself to a “light box” for about a half hour every morning, to stimulate the sunrise. Light therapy increases melatonin production, which is the hormone that allows the body to create circadian rhythms, also known as a sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin supplements are also prescribed to treat light deficiency.

Tryptophan supplements are also used in treating patients with SAD. This drug increases serotonin production. Although it cannot cure light deficiency, it is still used because it makes people feel happier.

For those without the funds or access to medical treatment, there are many simple and even fun ways to improve those ‘Winter Blues’.

1. Stimulate Sunlight

Since SAD is prevalent in gloomy, dark places, take a vacation to a sunny place. Although it might empty your wallet, you could be surprised how a short trip could reset your biological clock, making you more energized and ready to take on the rain.

When there is no way to get your hands on a light box or funds to go to a sunny place, there are still ways to stimulate sunlight to the body and increase melatonin production, such as spending time in a tanning bed. Even though tanning beds get a bad rap, as long as you wear UV-safe tanning lotion and limit your time, you can be surprised at the improvement in your mood.

1.Make your environment brighter

Even if it is overcast, spending time outside can still get your body the light it needs. Those who are depressed in the wintertime should spend more time in daylight, especially in the morning. Take the window seat.

Filling your home with light colors can help you maintain a positive outlook and mood. Opening a window, painting a bedroom, or even wearing bright colors can improve seasonal depression.

1.Keep a schedule and watch your diet

Because of SAD, and decrease in melatonin, the body has a hard time recognizing when it should be tired, hungry, or active. People with SAD tend to crave carbs. A way to maintain a healthy diet and keep your tummy full is to eat more protein and vegetables.

Caffeine and alcohol may seem like a good way to put some pep in your step, but they can make someone with Seasonal Attentive Disorder too on edge and deepen their depression.  A healthier alternative to caffeine and alcohol are herbal teas, which can still supply a person with energy, without the negative affects.

4. Stimulate your body

Exercising more often can stimulate endorphin production, making a person less likely to be depressed, whether it is seasonal or not. Much like exercising, laughter also stimulates endorphins in the brain, which will make a person feel happier.

Even if you do not exhibit the telltale signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder, you can still prevent the winter blues and stay healthy by working a healthy amount of sunlight and exercise into your schedule.

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