The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and when I visit with friends, we tend to compare all the great variety of problems in our lives.  Some problems are yesterday’s news, but others are definitely current and usually “economy” related.

Some problems are virtually unsolvable due to their nature versus ours.  Other problems are beyond our solving but are greatly affecting none the less.  So I suggest a little tactic I have often employed called “boiling it down.”  Here’s an example:  I am heading out the driveway for my walk and I cast my eyes to heaven and say silently to God, “Please don’t let me see any road kill today.  Let me find and save a wooly bear caterpillar.  Let the squirrels make it across the road and please God, no more dead goldfinches.”  These may seem rather incongruous to some readers but let me tell you it is not fun to lose it over a hit-and-run cat, sit on the curb, and cry your eyes out!

At our house, prior to Thanksgiving dinner, I usually say a “grace.”  On occasion, however, I have foisted it onto my son or daughter – for fear of breaking down. Continue reading

Fall is the season where we harvest the fruition of what was planted in Spring and Summer. We gather in the fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, and all the abundance of Fall vegetables. We turn to inward thoughts, our homes, and our families. We take quiet walks to enjoy the coloring of the leaves. We rest more to keep that immune system in tip-top shape. The Days of Thanks (which should actually be every day) are a good time to do a little Fall cleanse of our digestive system in which you might include the juices of beets, celery, carrots, parsley, zucchini and such though always diluted with water, or apple, grape, or pear juices. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

Two sisters, growing up in the same home. They loved one another. It never occurred to either one that the older daughter was somewhat plain and the younger was very attractive. They were tight friends — until one day their father made a decision that hurt them beyond words. On the day of the younger girl’s long-awaited wedding, her dad switched girls, and gave away his older daughter, instead. Can you imagine the disappointment and heartbreak of the younger girl? I’m sure the older girl was nervous and filled with anxiety, hoping her father’s deception wouldn’t be discovered during the wedding. And I can’t imagine the shock Jacob experienced the next morning when he awoke and found Leah beside him instead of Rachel.

Laban, the father, justified his deception by claiming it was not proper to give away a younger daughter in marriage before the older one. He tried to smooth over the whole affair by giving Rachel to Jacob a week later.  I have no idea how Jacob could be fooled, but customs were so different then. This deception is recorded in Genesis 29-30 in your Bible for all to read. Customs may have been different, but the consequences are the same today. Two wives, both sisters, will result in years of tension in the home.

You detect some of this friction when Leah bears sons to Jacob. When her firstborn arrives, she says, “Surely, my husband will love me now.” When her second is born, she says, “The Lord has heard that I am not loved, so He gave me this one.” When her third son was born, she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me.” Sadly, as in many marriages, a woman hopes that a child will improve the marriage. It rarely does. In fact, it magnifies problems. It must have been obvious to Leah that Jacob favored her sister. 

Rachel watched her older sister pump out babies, while she remained childless. Was she happy for her sister? No way! The Bible records that Rachel was “jealous of her sister.” Both sisters also had maids, so each of them suggested that Jacob have children through them, kind of like surrogates. Did that help to ease tensions? Nope.

Finally, Rachel, the one Jacob intended to marry in the first place, became pregnant and bore a son. She named him Joseph. He became his dad’s favorite, over the ten other sons. If you know anything about Joseph, the tensions between the mothers replicated into animosity among the siblings. The brothers hated Joseph for years, and eventually sold him into slavery.

What are some lessons? It’s better to have one wife and concentrate on pleasing her. Step-children will usually get along with one another when their parent and step-parent don’t show any favoritism. Children are never meant to be pawns and bear the responsibility of making things better between parents. Children often respond negatively when there is tension between the parents. But love between husband and wife provides a peaceful atmosphere in which children can thrive.

How are your relationships with your siblings? Are they up-to-date or has some offense or disappointment found fertile ground and grown into years of little or no contact? You’ve probably tried before to mend the wounds. Perhaps you have given up trying. If so, I want to encourage you to try again. Initiate contact. It may call for humility and compassion. It may not restore the level of closeness you once had, but it’s worth another attempt.

Rachel Dawson, Policy Analyst, Cascade Policy Institute

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council regularly assesses the adequacy of our region’s power supply using a loss of load probability (LOLP). This measure informs us that power supply is not adequate if 5% or more modeled simulations show insufficient generating capacity at any time in a given year.

Due to the early closure of Boardman and Centralia 1 coal plants in 2020, the Northwest is projected to not meet this standard by 2021. The probability of a future inadequate load capacity increases to as high as 26% if Wyoming’s Jim Bridger 1 coal plant closes in 2023. To put this in perspective, the loss of load probability was expected to climb to 24% by 2003 after the 2001 energy crisis occurred.

This crisis was due in part to an unexpected decrease in hydroelectric power. It seems that utilities in the region have not learned their lesson, as they plan on replacing the coal plants with even more unreliable wind power and costly storage systems.

Advocates for these plants’ early closures must demonstrate that doing so will not damage grid reliability or increase ratepayers’ power bills. So far, they have not met that test.

Rachel Dawson is a Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Reindeer at the Oregon Zoo. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham.

Zoo welcomes Cookie and Ginger, a pair of flightless but furry Siberian reindeer

 Let the reindeer games begin! Two furry reindeer arrived at the Oregon Zoo earlier this week, and are making themselves right at home.

For video of the pair, visit:

“Reindeer are amazing animals, and of course this is the perfect time of year to introduce them to our visitors,” said zoo director Dr. Don Moore, who has decades of experience working with the species. “Most people know about reindeer because of their connection to Santa Claus, which is a lot of fun, but we’re especially excited to share some lesser-known facts, like the way their hooves click when they walk.” Continue reading

TO:                 Dean of Extraterrestrial Studies, Galactic University

FROM:           Undercover Agent, Planet Earth

SUBJECT:      Native Customs and Rituals

Honored Superior:

The vast emptiness of space, coupled with technical difficulties and “sunspot” activity affecting dozens of stars between your system and the one I am occupying, have delayed by ten years (this system’s quaint designation for solar cycles) my response to your queries concerning this planet’s obsession with climate cycles.

It is my duty to inform you of a massive religious convocation that takes place on this planet every year. Perhaps the most notable event was almost exactly ten years ago in a principality known as Copen-Hagen, focusing on variations of the degree of molecular activity in the atmosphere of this place. Continue reading

Helen Maguire

Hobos, Source: Wikipedia

As many of our readers know, Frank (my 100% Irish husband) worked for over 40 years as a professional musician – working from coast-to-coast, and also in the Arizona desert. One of the ditties we’ve heard him sing over the years went something like this: “I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler, I’m a long way from home. If you don’t like me, then leave me alone. I’ll eat when I’m hungry, and I’ll drink when I’m dry. And, if moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll live ‘til I die.”

That reminded me of the article I’ve been writing for this month’s Northwest Connection about hobos.

 King of the Road” is another popular song Frank used to sing. It was written and originally recorded in November 1964 by country singer Roger Miller. The lyrics tell of the day-to-day life of a vagabond hobo who, despite being poor (a “man of means by no means”), revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously or possibly cynically as the “king of the road.”

With the end of the American Civil War in the 1860s, many discharged veterans returning home began hopping freight trains. Others looking for work on the American frontier followed the railways west aboard freight trains in the late 19th century. Continue reading

Marlon Furtado

Telephone scams. A common one informs you that you’ve won a big prize. All you have to do to get it is to make a small payment on your credit card. After the person realizes they’ve been scammed, they admit, “I should never have fallen for it. I thought it sounded too good to be true.”

A friend told me of a different scam call that he recently received. The caller told him that his oldest grandson had been arrested for DUII while on a business trip. He needed $10,000 to bail him out of jail, and he didn’t want his wife to find out. This wasn’t too-good-to-be-true. It was too-bad-to-be-true. After a little investigation, my friend found out that his grandson had been home with his family the entire time. Continue reading

The English poet Steve Turner once observed, “History repeats itself. It has to. No one is listening.” I think this applies very well to American history.

The average American today is grossly ignorant of our history and we fall prey too often to those cutting us off from that history – for whatever reason. Here is a case in point.

In an obscure display in the state of Washington, liberals are melting down over the presence of flat steel depictions of guns – guns held by silhouettes of Revolutionary War Minute Men.

This display is in Port Angeles, and the centerpiece is a replica of the Liberty Bell. The display is guarded by a fence that has a design which depicts two Revolutionary-era soldiers holding their rifles. Continue reading

Masai giraffe Buttercup at the Oregon Zoo. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham.

With big crowds expected, zoo urges visitors to take MAX and avoid parking hassle

Visitors are invited to enjoy a free day at the Oregon Zoo on Saturday, Nov. 16.

“Periodically, the zoo hosts a free day as a thank you to the community,” said Dr. Don Moore, zoo director. “This is a great time of year to see the animals. We have a full day of activities scheduled, and we hope everyone who comes through the gates on Saturday is inspired to help create a better future for wildlife.”

Zoo hours Saturday are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities taking place include the following: Continue reading

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