The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Sarah Popovich

TJ Saling Caldwell, Director, Apple of His Eye Charity and India widow

As an introvert and homeschooling mom, I have an extraordinarily high threshold for isolation. I’ve been known to say my dream vacation is actually staying home for a week while my husband and children escape to some exotic locale, though if I’m completely honest I could probably go longer than seven days without them.

Or so I thought.

This world-wide pandemic and accompanying quarantine has me a little twitchy today, and I’m still surrounded by family. I’ve been on social media more than usual, avoiding the news while simultaneously seeking updates concerning the welfare of friends and family.

These are strange times, unlike anything most of us have ever seen, and many are suffering despite their lack of symptoms, because God created us for community.

Luckily most of us still have it in digital form, the hope and positivity radiating from our devices is encouraging. Those of us with faith know God brings great blessing out of turbulent times, and this situation is no different. He is bigger, stronger, and remains in control.

The lessons we carry down the road with us from living in this present moment are sure to be spectacular, many of us are already learning things about ourselves and about this world that we never knew. Continue reading


Marlon Furtado

Have you ever been upset with yourself for giving into temptation … again? Have you ever assumed that if you were just more disciplined, you could be victorious? Feel you need to try harder or be more regimented to keep your routines? How many times have you heard it said that if you want to be more spiritual, just read your Bible and pray more, as though that was the solution for everything?

Now, discipline is valued in the Bible. Routines and to-do lists can be helpful. Reading your Bible and praying are definitely good. But NONE of these four, in themselves, is the key to growing in your love-relationship with God. The New Testament book of Galatians was written to clarify this.

Some people like to live by rules and lists. They do better when they can check off items they have accomplished. I’m not saying this is bad. It’s just not the way to live the Christian life. On the other hand, some people just “wing it.” They are undisciplined and could use a few more lists of things to guide their life. Whether you like lists and routines or not is not the issue. Continue reading

International Christian Relief Organization Responds at the Epicenter of the Coronavirus in the U.S.

Today, Samaritan’s Purse deployed its Emergency Field Hospital to New York City, New York, where the local medical infrastructure is severely overwhelmed. In cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New York state officials, and local hospital authorities, Samaritan’s Purse will open a 68-bed field hospital, specially designed as a respiratory care unit. This response comes one week after Samaritan’s Purse opened an identical unit in Cremona, Italy-making it an unprecedented medical response for the N.C.-based organization as two Emergency Field Hospitals are run simultaneously.

An advance team arrived in New York on March 27 to begin assessments and site preparation. The Emergency Field Hospital is being trucked from North Carolina on four Samaritan’s Purse tractor-trailers. Once it arrives on-site, it will be built and operational in roughly 48 hours. This convoy’s arrival will be followed with doctors, nurses, lab technicians, water and sanitation experts, and other support staff.

“People are dying from the coronavirus, hospitals are out of beds, and the medical staff are overwhelmed,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are deploying our Emergency Field Hospital to New York to help carry this burden. This is what Samaritan’s Purse does-we respond in the middle of crises to help people in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for our teams and for everyone around the world affected by the virus.”
The United States now has the largest outbreak of COVID-19 with nearly half of these cases in New York state. Thousands of new cases are reported each day.

Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

The system is facing a $30 billion shortfall—radical reform is needed

Coronavirus has hit the economy hard. Nearly all the stock market gains from the past two or three years have been wiped out. While it’s painful for investors and retirees, it’s likely to fuel the third major PERS crisis since the dot-com bust.

PERS, the public employee retirement system, has two major sources of funds: investment returns and employer contributions. PERS investments are managed by the state treasurer, under guidance from the Oregon Investment Council. “Employers” are state and local governments whose employees are PERS members.

PERS charges these employers a rate equal to some percent of their payroll to fund the costs of their employees’ anticipated retirement benefits. Currently, the average rate is approximately 25% of payroll. For example, for a city employee with a salary of $60,000 a year, the city must pay an additional $15,000 to PERS.

One of the many factors that affect the employer rate is the unfunded actuarial liability, or UAL. The UAL is an estimate of how much money would be needed to pay off all existing beneficiaries if the system were liquidated. Think of it this way: If you sold everything you owned—house, car, checking, savings, retirement—would you have enough to pay everyone you owe? If you don’t, you have unfunded liabilities. Continue reading

Alyssa Ahlgren

Worry, hysteria, and panic-buying have ensued as the days of uncertainty during COVID-19 continue. The contagion rate, mortality rate, a potential vaccine, and other details of the virus may be in question, but one thing is for sure — partisan politics is alive and well.

Gone are the days where a national emergency unified the country. Gone are the days where we are able to unite as Americans rather than along party lines in a time of despair. Present are the days where every action taken is twisted into a political punch towards the other side of the aisle. Present are the days where legislation to combat a threat is taken advantage of to sneak in ancillary policy agendas. Present are the days where tragic events are viewed as political opportunities rather than a team effort for the people.

It’s true, we live in an exacerbated time of divisiveness. We’ve seen the divisiveness prevail through shootings, deaths, and national crises. It took a global viral infection to show us that this divide is rooted deeper than we might have anticipated; deep enough to stand strong as our countrymen and those around the world fall ill. Continue reading

American citizens, Holly and her son Phoenix, held under Martial Law in Cusco, Peru

Husband and friends appeal to Congress, State Department and White House

Holly Cook and her 11-year old son, Phoenix, from Oregon City, OR. have been confined in Cusco, Peru since March 12, 2020. Soon after their arrival, Martial Law was implemented by the Peruvian Government halting all travel not only out of the country but within its own borders.

Family and friends are appealing to media outlets to shine a light on this situation and put pressure on the U.S. government for help.

“I am extremely worried about the safety and well-being of my wife and son since Peru declared martial law. Since then, I have been on the phone non-stop trying to get the attention of Congressmen and other politicians to get them home safely. I am appealing to the media outlets for help and to get the word out.”, said husband Mark Walsh.

Cook and her son have been holed up in their hotel room with the threat of arrest, little food and questionable sanitary conditions. Continue reading

Michael Farris, CEO of ADF

On March 24th, I was one of 35 conservative leaders that Vice President Mike Pence briefed on COVID-19.

I was very encouraged by what I heard, and I think you will be too. The Vice President first reviewed the actions that President Trump has taken thus far to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

  1. President Trump stopped travel from China in late January and then Italy and South Korea. Even though he was advised that these were unprecedented actions, he decisively imposed them based on sound medical counsel in order to help slow the spread of the virus here in the U.S.
  2. While the President has the authority to direct American industry to make critical supplies by the force of law, he has instead simply asked American business leaders to help. And they have done so enthusiastically and effectively.
  3. The President has stripped away regulatory red tape that had prevented the redeployment of industrial masks for medical uses. The masks are safe and effective, but bureaucracy was keeping these resources from being redirected efficiently. Safety and common sense prevailed.

We are halfway through the 15 days designed to slow the spread. We should all be committed to doing our part for the remainder of the 15 days by continuing to follow the recommendations of the White House.

While the exact timetable remains uncertain, the Vice President emphasized that we would be getting back to business in weeks, not months. Continue reading

President Trump, who is doing everything he can to fight the coronavirus, called for a Day of Prayer recently. He proclaimed, “We are a country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these.”

But David Hogg, a Parkland shooting survivor, tweeted: “Don’t let this administration address COVID-19 like our national gun violence. [Expletive] a National day of prayer, we need immediate comprehensive action.”

U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, famous for her declaration to “impeach the [expletive]” even retweeted Hogg’s message. Dr. William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, notes: Tlaib, as a U.S. Representative, should be censured for her “obscene assault on people of faith.” Continue reading

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

Businesses across Oregon are laying off employees and shuttering their doors, triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak and Kate Brown’s executive order requiring social distancing and closing specified businesses. Unemployment claims jumped by around 3,200% in Oregon last week and unemployment could reach 20% in the coming months.

Due to the outbreak and increased statewide demand, the state is relaxing requirements for some occupations. For example, the state will be expediting the licensing process for daycare providers and will “waive, suspend or amend existing administrative rules pertaining to child care while allowing for emergency child care to be established.”

Easing the burden and costs of licensing for daycare workers is a good first step, but the state can go farther to help more Oregonians access jobs they otherwise would be locked out of due to costly fees and lengthy processes. Oregon has the 8th most burdensome licensing laws in the nation and licenses 69 of 102 lower-income occupations identified by the Institute for Justice. Continue reading

Bryan Fischer

Hope for the coronavirus is here. We don’t have to wait for it. We don’t have to wait for a year and a half to get a vaccine developed and tested. There is an inexpensive, readily available drug which has already cured its first coronavirus patient. It is cheap, effective, and available today.

The drug, choloroquine (or hydroxycholoroquine), has been used to treat malaria since 1944. It can safely be used with patients of all ages, including children. Scientists in China and South Korea began testing it on patients diagnosed with coronavirus, and discovered that it is something of a wonder drug in dealing with this disease.

China’s daily rate of new infections has dropped virtually to zero, and the entire world looks at South Korea as a model of how to respond to this virus. Perhaps the use of choloroquine has something to do with that.

South Korea has never resorted to the “incarceration in place” edicts that are keeping the American people imprisoned in their own homes while criminals are released from jail so they won’t catch the virus from other inmates. Continue reading

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