Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To YSU Penguin football players who demonstrated the meaning of teamwork. Two Penguin offensive linemen on Nov. 23 carried fifth-year senior quarterback Nathan Mays, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9, onto the field where he took a snap for the final play of the game. With the help of his teammates and an OK from his coach, Mays was able to finish his college career under center — rather than on the back of a golf cart. The move was a true demonstration of class among the team and coaches.

• ORCHID: To those involved in landing a Youngstown-focused $30 million U.S. Army program called “AMNOW” that will use additive manufacturing technologies in its supply chain. AMNOW represents a substantial opportunity for economic growth among local small- and medium-sized companies. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, a big advocate of emerging 3-D manufacturing technology, was correct when he said the program represents “a long-term investment into a long-term strategy that has positioned us in the Mahoning Valley — this is our future.”

• ONION: To the state plan that allows failing school districts to be designated as “challenged,” allowing new community schools to open in the district, thereby taking funds from the public schools. We see that as not only punishing the school districts for shortcomings, but ultimately hurting the students who still attend those schools. Mahoning County districts identified as challenged are Youngstown, Springfield and Sebring, based on the state report card data. There are 220 school districts across Ohio designated as challenged, representing more than a third of the state’s districts.

• ORCHID: To Liberty Board of Education members intending to ask voters for about half the amount they are now paying for a permanent improvement levy to fund new buses, roofs and parking lot repairs. Members of the board this week said they wanted to give taxpayers a break, and so they plan to reduce a 4.2-mill levy to 2.5 mills. We always are pleased to see government officials realize they should not ask voters for more than they need.

• ORCHID: To all those involved in planning and honoring longtime Youngstown-area artist Al Bright at a memorial service Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art. The artist died Oct. 28 at age 79. Bright taught art at Youngstown State University for more than 40 years and was known internationally for his artwork, which has been featured locally at many locations including the Butler. More than 250 people gathered for the memorial celebration.

Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Western Reserve Transit Authority for its plans to use some of the $2 million awarded to it by the Ohio Department of Transportation to provide free transportation for certain populations in a health care initiative. Those to be served include pregnant women, new mothers or others who need a ride to a job or to a substance-abuse treatment facility.

• ORCHID: To Cpl. Leo H. Connelly Jr. of Boardman who has spent decades ensuring the public is well educated about veterans and their service to the nation. Cpl. Connelly was honored last week at a veterans appreciation event held at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. During the event he said this: “I hope to educate people. Don’t take freedom for granted; it’s an expensive price we paid.”

• ONION: To Hubbard Township trustees who are discussing dissolution of the police department, but would not permit discussions on the topic at a public meeting. Trustees refused at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the issue with the large number of residents who turned out. Instead, they said they would not comment until negotiations wrap up next week. No matter what happens, trustees must allow the public to ask questions and be informed of the process.

• ORCHID: To the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities for its plans to renovate and right-size a portion of the Leonard Kirtz School. The 70,000-square-foot structure was built to hold many more disabled students than the 70 or 80 it now serves. We are glad to see a thoughtful process and plans to operate efficiently.

• ORCHID: To Youngstown State University and IBM for their launch of YSU’s Workforce Accelerator program that positions students and others be trained through apprenticeship programs with local companies in fields such as software engineering, data science, analytics, cybersecurity and main-frame systems administration. This wonderful program is designed to help fill the skills gaps that exist in the marketplace, especially when companies need employees with varying levels of technical experience.

Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To the Youngstown Board of Education and city Mayor Jamael Tito Brown for reaching an agreement without further contentious and expensive litigation. If approved by a visiting judge, the agreement will allow a temporary restraining order to delay naming a new school board until April. The move seems like a logical way to allow the Ohio Supreme Court time to explore and rule on whether the 2015 Ohio law enabling replacement of the elected school board with one selected by Youngstown’s mayor is constitutional.

• ORCHID: To the Mahoning County Juvenile Court Community Advisory Board for organizing this week’s 16th annual Stay in School poster contest for middle school students. “Because there is a clear correlation between truancy and delinquency, this contest is designed to make both children and parents better aware of the necessity of staying in school,” Mahoning Judge Theresa Dellick said.

• ONION: To the vehicle owner who called Austintown police to Compass West apartment complex last week to unlock a vehicle that had a child inside. But when the door was opened, officers said they found a “strong odor of marijuana,” several bags of marijuana and a scale inside. The suspect ran away.

• ORCHID: To two Mahoning County military veterans, Richard T. Baldwin, 65, and J. Lori Stone, 73, who were introduced this week as among the newest inductees into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. Baldwin is a retired Youngstown police officer, who is both an Army and Marine Corps veteran. Stone is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

• ORCHID: To Austintown Local Schools — and many other area school districts — holding school events in recognition of our area’s veterans. These events go far in saluting those who have served and in reminding our young people the importance of honoring and thanking our veterans.

Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To the 15 immigrants who this week raised their right hands in Mahoning County and swore the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S., making them American citizens. The new citizens from all around the world celebrated the event with friends, family and new fellow Americans. What a wonderful way to pledge allegiance to their new nation.

• ORCHID: To those who opened their homes and hearts to children in need. This week, Mahoning County Probate Court Judge Robert Rusu Jr. and his staff helped bring attention to the matter by hosting this year’s annual event in recognition of National Adoption Month. Also taking part in the event was Mahoning County Children Services. National Adoption Day helps to raise awareness of the more than 125,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the U.S.

• ONION: To motorists that have been picking up the pace on Interstate 680 now that Youngstown police have stopped using hand-held speed cameras. While we don’t endorse use of the cameras, we also don’t endorse speeding like it’s the Indy 500. Use common sense!

• ORCHID: To Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, elected officials, residents and businesses playing an active role in helping to develop a plan to improve the Belmont Avenue Corridor in Liberty Township and heading into Youngstown. Steps to seek input from those who live near or frequently travel the busy roadway are key in reaching important goals including increased accessibility of existing transportation and emphasized multi-modal transportation options, support of ongoing and future economic development that will contribute to a vibrant community and offer solutions for transportation issues along the corridor.

• ORCHID: To the Mahoning County Dog Pound and Healthy Hearts and Paws Project of Brookfield for their alert response and involvement in getting a dog stolen nearly a year ago from a Brookfield yard returned this week to his owner, who never stopped looking.