Valley residents resolve to do better in 2012

By Elise Franco


Dan and Betsy Pecchia made a joint resolution this year — one that will benefit their relationship.

The Canfield couple plans to go on more dates together in 2012, something Dan said tends to go by the wayside after 27 years of marriage.

And to show he was serious, he said he even incorporated the resolution into part of his wife’s Christmas gift.

“I got her a day planner with dates marked and gift cards attached for the first few places,” he said. “We’ve been married almost 27 years but have had too few dates in the past eight to 10.

“Time to re-engineer the calendar.”

Dan Pecchia isn’t the only one looking forward to changes in the new year, however.

Ed Port of Austintown has been through many himself in 2011 and is sure to experience more in 2012.

Port, who has Neurofibromatosis Type 2, underwent the first of at least three surgeries in June to remove large tumors that obscured much of the left side of his face.

Port traveled to Chicago where renowned plastic surgeon Dr. McKay McKinnon performed the first and most extensive surgery in June and a second in October. He expects at least one more surgery to remove all of the tumors and rebuild his features.

The 41-year-old said his resolution for this year is to make peace with family members he’s lost touch with, especially his brother Matthew.

“I want to try to reconnect, especially with my one brother who is upset with me,” he said. “I want to fix things there.”

Port said he hopes others will work toward the same goal.

“I do have one wish for other people; If they have family or friends they’ve had arguments with, fix those bridges,” he said. “Life is too short to hold a grudge.”

Cynthia Anderson, president of Youngstown State University, has a similar resolution involving having a more positive attitude.

“My intention is to focus on the many positives in life,” she said in an email to The Vindicator. “In my personal and professional life, ... I think it is easy to fall into a rut of negativity, and that can blind you to the many wonderful things happening all around you.”

David Betras, Mahoning County Democratic party chairman, said he’s given up his usual resolution to lose weight in favor of one he’s more likely to keep.

This year, Betras said he wants to become a kinder version of himself.

“I get that sometimes I can be over the top, and I let my passion get the best of me,” he said. “I want to be a kinder, gentler Dave Betras.”

Sebastian Rucci, owner of the Go Go Girls Cabaret in Austintown, said he hopes the new year brings him less notoriety.

Rucci’s been in and out of the county and state and federal courts for several years with cases involving the club.

“For me, I hope 2012 will be a lot better than 2011 with all the political hoopla around this town,” he said. “Personally, I hope for a lot less visibility in the newspaper and less time spent in the courts.”

Rucci said he also wants to see the Mahoning Valley continue to bounce back this year.

“It looks like 2012 could be a lot better with all the talk of gas and oil coming in around here,” he said.

For Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone, 2012 will be about moving the city forward.

“I know that 2012 looks brighter than ever for our city, schools, government and families,” he said. “My sincere hope is for expansion and growth of our economy, both locally and nationally.”

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