Biggest week ever (for now)

We ran into a period a couple of years back when there was a collision of several big events in the Valley in one week.

Like any good trend, we nicknamed it. It was “the biggest week of the year.”

Then another such week happened a few months later, and we joked that “it’s the biggest week of the year ... again.”

Then another happened.

We’ve been on a good roll in recent years, and this week, we’re amid another “biggest week of the year. ”

Last Saturday’s YSU football game served as a great launch.

A packed crowd, a fierce Mother Nature and a decade of losses versus Northern Iowa set the stage for Coach Wolford’s crew. And they sent the stadium faithful into a frenzy with a last-play stand.

I’m a sporto at heart — first-degree-felony-guilty level.

But I groan with the nonsportos when too much emphasis is placed on sports.

However, it’s tough to ignore the impact of successful athletic performances, and it was evident during some trivia fun at our Vindy Blitz tailgate party before the YSU game.

Reporter Joe Scalzo is a readership favorite, and he was having a trivia competition with tailgate fans: Answer his questions; win some stuff.

He lost count of how many folks who were headed to the game yet could not name the head coach or any starter on offense or defense.

But there they were last Saturday — caught up in the frenzy. That’s the reach sports can have.

The community frenzy shifted to Boardman by last Sunday night as the York/DeBartolo family brought their San Francisco 49ers football team to the Valley for the second year in a row. Designed as a way to save the players some travel wear-and-tear during back-to-back East Coast games, it’s a fan bonanza for the Valley.

Updates from the team’s Boardman dining and YSU campus practices flowed nonstop on Twitter all week.

California and the Valley combined again Wednesday when the fourth season of “Modern Family” debuted with Youngs- towner Ed O’Neill front and center. He’s also the subject of a Rolling Stone magazine interview this month (issue with Bob Dylan on the cover) that is loaded with Valley flavor. The week’s season-opening episode made O’Neill a dad again — at least on TV.

Boeing and McDonnell Douglas are heavyweights of American ingenuity and manufacturing.

And on Thursday, they were in the Valley as part of the grand opening of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute just outside our office doors. A steady drizzle could not dampen the enthusiasm of the Valley’s tech and manufacturing community as 250 people gathered to launch the $70 million venture.

In name, additive manufacturing is a mysterious process — until you see it on display and in practice, as it was Thursday. You then realize that A) It is golden; and B) It is in downtown Youngstown.

The crowning moment of the week, in my opinion, was the homecoming and celebration of Ray Mancini for his book/movie “The Good Son.” The Thursday book-signing in Boardman was complemented by a movie premiere Friday in downtown Youngstown.

About 600 of us filled the small theater inside the DeYor Performing Arts Center to watch the 90-minute documentary.

About all I watch on TV these days are news programs, documentaries and reality programs. And “The Good Son” is about as good as I’ve seen in awhile. Watch for it to gain a global audience.

Lastly and on a smaller and more personal scale, The Vindicator welcomed 20 or so Ohio journalists to YSU for a boot camp of sorts on fracking and the gas industry.

It was a treat to welcome them to the city.

The event was inside the school’s new Williamson School of Business — another shining example of the new Youngstown.

It was great to list off to the journalists the many things that are making Youngstown special at this moment, and this week.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at He blogs, too, on; and tweets at @tfranko.

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