Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the local Jewish Community Center for seeking and being granted an Emergency Pandemic Child Care license by the state. This allows the center to begin accepting applications for immediate placement of children of parents who still are required to work outside the home during this pandemic. That was quick thinking and action by the Jewish Community Center, an organization known for providing vital services to our community.

ORCHID: To Mercy Health for suspending all COVID-19-related patient statements and bills to help manage impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The decision applies to all points of care within the Mercy Health system, from hospitals in Warren, Boardman and Youngstown to primary care offices in the Mahoning Valley and flu clinics in the region. Mercy Health operates St. Joseph Warren Hospital in Warren, St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital in Youngstown and St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital in Boardman, and multiple primary care offices and flu clinics in the two-county region.

ONION: To phone scammers already trying to take advantage of the elderly with new threats and scares related to the coronavirus pandemic. Seniors, please beware! Don’t give money or your personal information to anyone over the phone during this crisis.

ORCHID: To Canfield police Officers Tim Lamping and Steve Garstka, who are reading books via social media streams to Canfield students during the COVID-19 school closures. The two work as school resource officers with the Canfield Local School District.

ORCHID: To Austintown resident and clinical counselor Sarah Thompson for organizing volunteer shoppers to bring groceries to elderly and immuno-compromised neighbors who should not or cannot leave their houses, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is humble and says it is only a “common sense” thing to do. “How we respond is really going to determine how bad this gets,” she said. Amen.


Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To the Youngstown City Schools for making a real effort to see that food is provided for students while they are away from school. Bagged breakfasts and lunches will be offered at 35 locations across the city.

• ONION: To the hoarders who have bought more than they need of sanitation products, paper products and food staples.

• ORCHID: To the grocery and other stores who have put limits on the products so more people have a chance at purchasing necessities.

• ONION: To those responsible for the last minute off, on-again, then off-again Ohio Primary election. The right answer was arrived at but in a very wrong way. A lot of public officials have egg on their faces for being asleep at the switch when a decision should have been made sooner.

• ORCHID: To the Jane Lamb Foundation for the $25,000 gift for funding to directly benefit children in the Success After 6 program of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

• ORCHID: To whoever is in charge of gas prices. Good job!

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Mahoning County Board of Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta, for her forward thinking that enabled her to obtain 140 bottles of 32-ounce hand sanitizer weeks ago — enough to place two bottles at each of the county’s 70 polling locations. She also has 100 rubber gloves for each location and numerous large containers of disinfectant wipes to clean the voting equipment. Kale-Pesta said she ordered the items weeks ago, when coronavirus discussions were in the early stages. “I don’t want voters to panic and not vote. I want them to be comfortable knowing the area will be as clean and safe as much as we can,” she said. Bravo!

ONION: To Canfield council members, who owe it to constituents and employees to clarify exactly why they voted to hire an outside firm with human resources qualifications at taxpayer expense to conduct an independent investigation regarding public employees. Council members have been tight lipped on why they made that decision, and now public records obtained by The Vindicator indicate at least one councilman believes no one is being investigated. Someone needs to come clean on exactly what’s going on.

ORCHID: To Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Carla Baldwin, who took time to speak this week about the importance of goals and leaving positive legacies to a group of students, parents, guardians and staff at Taft Elementary School on Youngstown’s South Side. The motivational talk was part of United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s Young Women’s Mentorship program, and was held to recognize Women’s History Month. The judge is a wonderful role model for these girls and young women, and we are pleased to see her sharing her outlook.

ONION: To the landlords in Girard who, according to the mayor, often do ‘mass cleanouts’ of properties after tenants move out, leaving everything on the grass strip by the curb, regardless of when the trash pickup is. The debris often sits there for days and ends up costing the taxpayers money in terms of manpower and roll off trash receptacles to remove the junk.

ORCHID: To Travis Pownell, 42, of Youngstown, who at age 17 had saved the life of a Marine Corps veteran choking in the restaurant where Pownell worked. The incident happened 25 years ago, and the two were reunited this week. Orchid also to Raymond Hanzes, now 87, of Newton Falls, the choking victim who never forgot the life-saving gesture. The moment had an enormous impact on both of them. After Hanzes sent Pownell a thank-you note and some cash back then, Pownell treasured the note for 25 years. In fact, he carried it with him when he reunited with Hanzes.



“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 17:3 NKJV

Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To the Choffin Career Center and its construction-technology program students who built a new broadcast production studio for its journalism program. The state-of-the-art student-controlled studio will help students learn skills in news writing, broadcasting, video production, lighting and others.

• ORCHID: To Mary P. Pappas of Boardman, who passed away March 2 after a 35-year battle with cancer. Mary spent a tremendous amount of time during her struggle with the dreaded disease encouraging others through her hospital ministry and public speaking. She also authored a book, “Courage, Hope and Healing,” which told of her inspirational Christian journey as a fighter of cancer.

• ONION: To Youngstown city leaders for already approving a $5 million increase on a project to improve downtown streets. The project was initially estimated to cost $26 million with $10.85 coming from a federal grant. But after some design work was done, Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works, said the cost now could increase to $31 million, and a state loan is needed for the extra $5 million. The project has barely begun and the cost is already going up. Let’s hope it grows no further.

• ORCHID: To Mahoning County Domestic Relations Judge Beth A. Smith for launching the county’s first judicial automated text messaging service in order to send “friendly reminders” about upcoming hearings, parenting classes or other events. (Yes, one would think people would remember such important events. It’s unfortunate that reminders are needed, but if that’s what it takes to get people to honor their commitments, then so be it.)

• ORCHID: To the hundreds of readers who have attended “Meet The Vindicator” meetings in recent weeks and shared their compliments and suggestions. We especially appreciate those who have told us they enjoy reading these Orchids and Onions!


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