PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

Successful Micro-loan Program Expands to WA

May 1, 2009

Seattle, WA – Mercy Corps is known primarily as an international humanitarian aid organization, but it also has a division that helps folks in the Northwest start and grow small businesses. A loan program for new small businesses has been successful enough in Oregon that it’s expanding into Washington. Mercy Corps Northwest helps entrepreneurs, at any stage of business development, who want to work for themselves, but who haven’t been able to get credit from traditional sources. The program is a combination of loans and business training.

Anthony Gromko, the Washington lending manager, says loans have been given to home-based childcare providers, craftsmen, food vendors and small farmers, like the one he describes.

"With a small loan, he was able to take that money and plant his cucumber crop; hire individuals from the local community to help harvest; and sell those cucumbers to a local cannery, to make pickles."

Gromko says the goal is to grow the economy by coaching new businesses and helping their owners become self-sufficient. He says he has noticed certain characteristics of those who succeed.

"Having the motivation, the time, the energy – being willing to personally invest significant time and money into starting up their business. That requires discipline and keeping yourself accountable."

The loan amounts range from $500 to $50,000; the average is about $10,000. Gromko says there are very specific things the money can, and cannot, be used for. Details can be found on the group’s Web site, at Since the program began eight years ago in Oregon, loans have been made to almost 200 small businesses there, totaling $1.5 million.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA