The Northwest Connection

A Community Newspaper for the way we live

John R. Charles, Jr. President, Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute has submitted a letter to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requesting that the agency enforce contracts with TriMet for three light rail projects: the Yellow Line, the Green Line, and the Orange Line. Each project received substantial federal funding, which came with contractual obligations to provide minimum levels of service. TriMet has not met those obligations.

For both the Yellow and Green Lines, TriMet is supposed to be providing 8 trains per hour during peak periods. Current service on those lines is 4 trains per hour.

For the Orange Line, TriMet is supposed to be providing 6 trains per peak-hour. Current service provides only 4.6 trains per hour.

All three lines are also traveling at slower speeds than promised, and ridership projections have been missed by large margins.

Under FTA policy, the agency is empowered to demand repayment of federal funding if grant recipients fail to meet the terms of funding contracts. In its letter, Cascade Policy Institute is asking that FTA require TriMet to begin operating light rail lines in accordance with grant agreements within six months or begin paying back the federal funding. Continue reading

I have a collection of Disney figurines – Bambi’s, Thumper’s, Flower’s – all the charming characters given voices to gently teach children about the kindness of life – only hinting occasionally at possible danger. The Disney animals taught us joy, love, and safety, occasionally making us laugh in the bargain. My parents were, I am sure, confounded by my insistence that, yes, animals could talk; and yes, they could teach me about life; and, absolutely, my parents could sit through Bambi ten times! Not to mention, Wind in The Willows, which I called “English Disney.”

When I was a very young girl, and it was time for me to learn about my body and what to expect, Walt Disney came out with a movie called, The Story of Menstruation. Mothers everywhere were relieved that they wouldn’t have to explain it! Blue Birds, Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts were offered showings of the film. I remember my mom saying to my dad, “don’t hold your breath!” And so, I saw the movie with my fellow Blue Birds/Camp Fire girls. Arriving home from work, Daddy couldn’t wait to find out how it went! Mother said rather cryptically, “Go ahead, ask her!” “Oh, daddy,” I spurt forth, “it was the cutest movie! This little girl had this problem and then as she grew up, it wasn’t a problem anymore! And there were all these cute little helpers and I just loved it!” When dad quit laughing, mom said, “she wants to see it again!” Continue reading

Unless you are living in outer space eating entirely chemical food, you no doubt realize that food does not come from grocery stores. Food comes from your beautiful green Earth. Every ounce of food in any grocery store has traveled there using petroleum to get there! The average distance your food has traveled is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles. That’s a lot of gas usage. And doesn’t include the rest of it–like processing, packaging, and refrigeration.

It doesn’t have to be that way if you only use food from your hundred mile radius. Or  better yet, grow your own food in your own backyard, at least some of it. Or forage in your own yard if you are not using cancer-causing chemicals (glyphosphate, otherwise known as Round-Up). Or learn to do without some things. There ARE NO strawberries growing in our area at this time of the year. Soon, though. Continue reading

Ever felt like you’ve sinned too much? Feel too ashamed to face God again and confess the same sin one more time? Think He’s tired of hearing you, rolling His eyes and doubting that you really mean it since you keep repeating the same sin? Feel like giving up? Let me share three verses and thoughts that have helped me with this issue.

1 John 1:9“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and JUST and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

  • I capitalized the word “just” because when we confess our sins to God, He is not only faithful, but He is JUST to forgive us. It’s proper, above-board, for Him to forgive us. You can find no fault with God for doing so. We don’t have to convince Him to do something He is hesitant to do. We don’t have to plead with Him to forgive us. Because of our faith in Christ, God has already JUSTified us, declaring us free from any future judgment for our sin. Jesus took the brunt of God’s judgment against sin when He died on the cross. Therefore, God the Father is justified and willing to forgive all who come to Him and admit their sin.
  • The word “confess” doesn’t mean to cry or promise that we’ll never commit the sin again. It means “to say the same thing.” God is looking for us to agree with Him that what we did was wrong in His sight. He just wants us to admit we were wrong.

Continue reading

Tj Saling Caldwell, Director, Apple of His Eye Charities

“He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:34

Every mission to India we visit an old aged and widow’s home. Pastor Israel, one of our India partners, lovingly cares for these women by providing a home, daily food, blankets, clothing, and fellowship. His mother used to be a part of this ministry before passing away a few years ago. This has become a very special place for us to visit as we have fond memories of his mom and have gotten to know many of the other women. Even with the language barrier, smiles and hugs knit our hearts together.

After greeting everyone through our translator (Pastor Israel’s youngest daughter, Jennifer), I introduced another team member, Jim, to share a message. On the drive here, with nothing prepared, we prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to lead us. I was thankful upon arriving when Jim spoke up and said God had put something on his heart to say.   Jim’s message was powerful as he told the women that their best days are yet to come. How can you say that to a group of women who are bent over with crippled knees and weathered skin; women in the last stage of life who have been through so much and are left alone with no other family then each other? You can say that because they know Jesus! Continue reading

After we buried Grandma in the New Hope Community Church cemetery, my sister Delta and I decided to walk the two miles back to the little crossroads settlement of Peace Valley. It was such a fine day, several of our cousins joined us. Most of them we hadn’t seen in twenty-five years, and some we had never met at all.

We picked our way along the edge of the dirt road as we got reacquainted. Approaching the town, I said I’d like to stop at Otis Williams’ store and take care of some old business with Otis. One of my cousins, who had never left Peace Valley, said, “Oh, you haven’t heard: Otis died eight years ago.”

Startled, I asked, “Then who owns the store now?” This was news that might change my whole plan of attack.

“His wife Mildred. You remember Mildred, don’t you?”

“Sure, nice looking lady in her late twenties?”

“Well, no, she’s almost sixty now, but she still runs the store, every day.”

Our cousins walked past the store on the gravel road that ran through the Continue reading

Eco darling natural gas gives way to wind, solar and battery electricity – and slave labor

When Berkeley, California last year became the first U.S. city to ban the installation of natural gas lines to new homes, Mayor Jesse Arreguín proudly stated, “We are committed to the Paris Agreement and must take immediate action in order to reach our climate action goals. It’s not radical. It’s necessary.”

Phasing out natural gas-fired electric power generation by 2030 is bedrock dogma in the Green New Deal. In fact, it’s become an unholy crusade. So it should be no surprise that climate alarmists would jump at the chance to ban new natural gas lines. Many other cities in California have already followed Berkeley’s lead, as has Bellingham, Washington. More gas bans are in the offing nationwide.  Connecticut lawmakers actually want a law that would pressure insurers to stop insuring homes that have gas appliances or heating systems!!

But Takoma Park, Maryland, which proudly bills itself as “the Berkeley of the East,” wants to go even further. City officials have proposed to ban “all gas appliances, close fossil fuel pipelines, and move gasoline stations that do not convert to electric charging stations outside city limits by 2045.” The Takoma Park proposal also mandates all-LED lighting by 2022 for all buildings, including single-family homes. Composting would also become mandatory. Continue reading

Porcupine, Nolina, meets the harbor seals in Steller Cove at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo / photo by Kathy Street

Spiky senior citizen Nolina, an African crested porcupine, stays fit with daily walks

Looking for some fitness pointers? Look no further than Nolina, the African crested porcupine with the admirable workout routine. At nearly 16 years old, Nolina is known for her daily power walks around the Oregon Zoo, which keep her looking sharp and feeling fit in her golden years.

To see a video of this morning routine, go to

Earlier this year, the normally spry Nolina began to show signs of aging, moving more slowly and taking her time getting up in the morning. To help keep her healthy and active, vet staff recommended a brisk daily walk. Nolina’s care staff noticed a change almost immediately.

“She’s very energetic these days,” said keeper Kristina Smith, who has cared for the porcupine since her arrival here in 2011. “Our walks are a great way to get Nolina out and moving, and they give her new things to see and smell.” Continue reading

Alina and Checkmate

“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands.”—Bob Dylan.

“I told my mom I was going to runaway and join the circus . . . and then I did,” said Alina Stasik, with a laugh, explaining her life-long love affair with horses and performing. The Washington State Horse Expo, March 6–8, 2020, at the Clark County Event Center, Ridgefield, WA, will feature beautiful horses, nationally ranked horse trainers, an Equine Marketplace, kid concentric activities—and Alina with her horse Bubba, a professional theatrical circus performing duo.

According to Alina, the first time she saw tricks performed on a horse as a young girl she knew then and there exactly what she was going to do when she grew up. She started western trick and stunt riding at the age of seven in her hometown of Golden, Colorado, where she trained at the Red Top Ranch under Karen Vold, Linda Scholtz, and Mellissa Pfaff. She went pro at the age of fourteen, performing in rodeos across the country. At the age of 17, she ran away to join the circus and changed to the more traditional form of trick riding known as Cossack with stops along the way performing with the world famous Cavalia Odysseo tour where she blended awe-inspiring equestrian arts with amazing acrobatic feats. Continue reading

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

When President Trump responded to criticism about his use of Twitter, he said “I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.” That struck me as very true.
The President owes his success to his ability to speak directly and informally to the American people, without the heavy filter of the news media. Those who long for the good old days where American Presidents were very formal do not realize how much power that ceded to an unelected media that thinks of itself as the Fourth Estate, claiming vital importance in a free society.

I have been appalled that so many of those I once respected in the media have defected to the Dark Side, spewing little more than political propaganda, disguised as expert commentary or even “balanced journalism.” Yet what we have witnessed may be simply ‘business as usual’ in the mainstream media that we finally recognize as heavily biased journalism, supporting an out-of-control identity politics and government domination of everything including science.

My awakening came on election night 2016 when Donald Trump won the Presidency. The journalists I had long admired were despondent and even crying at the outcome, while I could not stop cheering. I knew that Trump would be transformative, because few septuagenarians would undertake such a monumental job unless they intended to make a big difference. Trump has certainly pleased those of us who voted for him. In fact, he has done much better than I expected he would, in the face of non-stop attacks. Continue reading

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