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WRITER: Brenda J. Linert

I’m not tougher than the flu, after all

It was one month ago today that I sat on the exam table in my family physician’s office for my annual checkup. Clacking away on the computer keyboard, the doc entered her notes, then paused and glanced up at me. “Do you want a flu shot, today?” she asked. :No,” I responded. “I never get one. I just don’t like putting unnecessary chemicals in my body.” She kind of chuckled. ...

Trip down memory lane and glance at future

As I wrap up the final week of 2019, like most folks, I’m reflecting on the ups and downs of the past year here and looking forward to what 2020 will bring in the world of news. In keeping with tradition, our newsroom this year has picked what we view as the biggest local news stories of the year. We have been revisiting and updating those big stories and sharing them with our readers as the clock ticks down ...

The strange happenings, history of Dec. 19

I meet weekly with Rick Muccio, the freelance artist who creates local editorial page cartoons for this newspaper. He drops by about once a week to pitch cartoon ideas he has for possible use on these pages. While we don’t always agree on political topics of the day, I enjoy chatting with Rick because he always is well-versed on national politics and news of the day. And he has a much better memory than ...

Big money and big egos equally problematic

Presidential candidates spent a combined $2,495,740,931 in the 2016 race to the White House, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-partisan, independent, non-profit research group that tracks money spent in U.S. politics. It sounds like a ridiculous amount of money, but incredibly, that’s not the highest amount ever. Even when adjusted for inflation, 2016 presidential race spending totals come in third ...

Ohio auditor creates ratings for openness

“Central to the founding principle of self-governance is the ability of the public to participate; to create a partnership among the citizens of a community, some of whom have come forward in elective roles,” Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber started out a bulletin he released in recent weeks. “Transparency in governing makes those who serve more accountable to their fellow citizens and also fosters the ...

Happy holiday from Cranberry to Turkey Town

Several times each year I pass by Cranberry Township, Pa., usually as I’m exiting the Pennsylvania Turnpike heading to Pittsburgh, clad in black and gold, “Terrible Towel” in tow. It’s a silly name for a township, I often have thought. So I chuckled last week at its mention on a media release sent to my newsroom from the U.S. Census Bureau titled, “Fun Facts About Thanksgiving From Turkey, Texas, to ...

Officers’ legacies are helping area students

A dozen or so college students gathered last week for a lovely luncheon in a room inside Kilcawley Center on the campus of Youngstown State University. Most were accompanied by their parents. Also attending were university officials, including President Jim Tressel, along with other special guests. And there were several uniformed police officers. At first glance, the makeup of the crowd might have appeared ...

TSO dazzles crowd at Covelli

YOUNGSTOWN — It’s been doing this for 21 years now, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra proved to packed houses Friday it still has much more to offer fans — and even as some of the group’s founding members age, they have not missed a beat. More than two dozen new and seasoned musicians, including 10 vocalists, two keyboardists, guitarists, percussion and seven other stringed performers who joined Friday’s ...

Mark Veterans Day with respect, reverence

I was perusing syndicated editorial cartoons late last week in search of one to publish Monday to mark Veterans Day. I needed one that depicted the importance and reverence of the holiday — one that showed respect and heartfelt appreciation for those who served our nation selflessly. As I clicked open the images in a computer file, I came across a cartoon that I contemplated only for a moment, before ...

High court case answers some questions

I sometimes hear from readers wanting our newspaper to get involved in their attempts to obtain public records, especially when they believe a public agency is unresponsive to their request. Indeed, journalists generally have more experience at seeking public records. However, I’m not an attorney who can dole out legal advice, and frankly, we don’t usually get involved in individual readers’ attempts ...