Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To volunteers and mentors with local Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. The organization reports an increase in volunteers, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with male participants. Developmental research shows that having even one caring adult in a child’s life impacts the child dramatically. Bravo to everyone who volunteers precious time to help make a child’s life better.

• ORCHID: To artist Ron Moore of Austintown, who presented a drawing of deceased Girard police Officer Justin Leo to the officer’s parents and to the police department, where it will be displayed permanently. Moore called the portrait his “way of giving back.” “I think the gift of art should impact lives and be a blessing to people.” Leo died in the line of duty when he was shot responding to a domestic call in 2017.

• ONION: Fewer and fewer children are being tested for lead poisoning in Ohio, which could mean more cases of lead poisoning going undetected. The numbers being tested are down about 20 percent, suggesting that some 22,000 Ohio children are going untested, officials said this week. Lead exposure commonly comes from lead-based paint, often used in homes built before 1978; lead dust from adults’ jobs or hobbies; and from toys painted with lead-based paint. If there is any risk of lead, parents must ensure their children are being tested.

• ORCHID: To the Mahoning County Board of Elections and its director Joyce Kale-Pesta for seeking and obtaining a $784,567 grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to help pay for the cost of this election. The money will fund poll worker training and recruitment, personal protection equipment for poll workers and help offset early voting expenses. Aware of budget challenges in the county due to COVID-19, Kale-Pesta sought the grant funds from the nonprofit to support election operations.

• ORCHID: To local boards of elections who have been busy lining up hundreds of extra poll workers for Tuesday’s election, and to the poll workers who have stepped up to help make the process go smoothly. Despite Ohio’s growing COVID-19 numbers, Mahoning and Trumbull election officials say they won’t have a shortage of poll workers Tuesday. Secretary of state Frank LaRose wants county boards to have 150 percent of the usual number of workers this year, to ensure sufficient numbers should someone get sick or not show up.

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To retired staff Sgt. Joseph R. Calabria, 81, of Austintown, a decorated Marine Corps and Vietnam War veteran, honored last week with a Silver Star Award during the 21st annual Ohio Military Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Austintown. He already possesses three Purple Hearts and now has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry and bravery while in Vietnam. Also honored at the event for his service was Navy and Army veteran James E. Smith, also 81, of Ashtabula, who received a Distinguished Flying Cross.

ONION: To the Youngstown mother whose 7-year-old son, according to police, pulled a gun from her purse and fired the weapon inside the Boardman Sam’s Club last week. Luckily there were no serious injuries. Police say the boy grabbed the 9mm handgun when his mother was distracted. He disengaged the weapon’s safety and fired one round. The mother, who since has been charged with child endangering, has a valid carry concealed license.

ORCHID: To Western Reserve Transit Authority for offering free rides for voters, either early or on Election Day. Voters can plan their trips to specific polling stations by logging on to www.WRTAonline.com.

ONION: To people who hang political signs (and other stuff) on utility poles. FirstEnergy this week reminded the public that using utility poles and other electrical equipment to display their signs or notices can be dangerous or even deadly. Electric current can travel through items hung on wires, and it can ground through them. The nails also can injure pole workers. Remember, it’s illegal to post signs on utility poles.

ORCHID: To everyone involved in renaming and dedicating the North State Street, Girard, bridge, as “Purple Heart Veterans Bridge.” It is the 10th Trumbull County bridge renamed to memorialize veterans, but the first in Girard. The effort is important for honoring veterans and giving the community a sense of pride.

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Lordstown Motors Corp. for continuing to go big, this time in selection of a company spokesman. The startup electric truck manufacturer caused some buzz this week when it named college football national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft Joe Burrow as its first brand spokesman. Burrow, the Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback, will help promote the company’s “Work for It” promotional campaign for the Endurance pickup.

ORCHID: To Youngstown State University and the U.S. Air Force for coming together on a $2.2 million contract as part of a $30 million Microelectronics Workforce Development Program to train future engineers. That’s a significant investment as part of an exciting partnership.

ONION: To the man who videotaped a fire at Dollar Tree on Mahoning Avenue so he could, as he said, get “his 30 seconds of fame on social media.” Fire investigators determined the man’s 5-year-old son started the blaze, but neither will be charged. Officials proposed having the boy participate in the fire department’s fire-setter program, but so far, it appears they are not willing. The situation didn’t turn into a tragedy, but still it caused $300,000 in damages. To put it kindly, this teaching moment is being missed.

ORCHID: To Walmart, Bimbo Bakeries USA and Tyson Foods, who donated 5,000 pounds of bread and 10,000 pounds of protein to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley through a partnership with Feeding America. The donation equates to 12,500 meals.

ORCHID: To Arin Frondorf, 9, and her brother Adam, 11, who took a moment to vocalize their pleasure at workers setting concrete outside their Campbell home and offering them $1 for their hard work. Also, orchid to A.J. Yash, owner of Yashphalt Co., who rewarded the kids’ generosity with a pizza party and a stretch limo ride after their kind gesture one day earlier.

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To members of the Mahoning County chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, an organization that provides beds to children who do not have them, and the 40 or so people with the Cortland Lions Club, Women of the Moose and Warren Junior Women’s League, for building 24 single beds and 12 bunk beds for local kids who need them. The organization has 700 requests for beds, an unthinkable number definitely inflated due to the viral outbreak, so the good work of these people will go a long way.

ORCHID: To members of the school board of Liberty Local Schools for taking a closer look at pursuing a power plant for the district. The system that would use solar, natural gas and water to provide electricity has the potential to save money for the district, which is forward-thinking when it comes to energy savings. Whether anything comes of the proposal will be seen, but it’s worth examining and fully vetting as a cost-saving measure.

ORCHID: To the Youngstown State University students, YSU art professor Dragana Crnjak and Lit Youngstown for the mural being created on Andrews Avenue. The public art project will be a dynamic, vibrant piece when complete and bring some color to what is otherwise an industrial part of the city.

ONION: To former Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich for even appealing his one-year prison sentence in a public corruption case. Undoubtedly Bozanich, who was seeking probation as punishment for his crimes, was shocked when he was given a year behind bars, but he could have gotten six, so he still benefited. It was a good move for him to stop his appeal of the sentence. He did the crime. Now it’s time for him to do the time.

ORCHID: To the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County that will reopen its main branch to the public Monday under social-distancing protocols. Public libraries provide so many wonderful and needed services in the community so it’s good to see the site again welcoming the public through its doors.

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Lucia Martuccio, of Girard, and Gloria Hayter, of Hanoverton, along with so many other strong, brave women who are breast cancer survivors. Martuccio and Hayter are helping to spread the word about the need for proactive awareness in beating this deadly disease. In an act of bravery, they both spoke recently about what they have learned and what they have accomplished since their diagnoses, as an effort to educate. During breast cancer awareness month, all women — and men — need to be aware and informed on the symptoms.

ORCHID: To members of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra who have found a way, despite COVID-19, to perform in tribute to conductor Randall Craig Fleischer, who died unexpectedly Aug. 19. Pandemic directives on performing arts venues make it unfeasible for the orchestra to perform at usual indoor venues, so instead about a dozen members of the orchestra’s string section will play a free outdoor concert 3 p.m. Sunday in Overture Garden at De-Yor Performing Arts Center, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown. They will stay safe with social distancing and masks. Community members may attend by bringing their lawn chairs, and the performance will be recorded and posted on the orchestra’s social media accounts.

ONION: To everyone involved in the prosecution and adjudicating the case involving a New Middletown man charged with flying an aircraft too low over Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium during a Sept. 28, 2019, YSU football game. We realize COVID-19 has been an issue, but can the wheels of justice really turn this slowly? It’s been more than a year, and now attorneys will debate whether the case is even being considered in the appropriate court. The accused pilot is charged with unsafe operation of an aircraft and inducing panic. Both are misdemeanors.

ORCHID: To the new and quickly growing Lordstown Motors Corp., which was in the national spotlight this week when CEO Steve Burns brought the company’s new all-electric pickup truck, the Endurance, to the South Lawn of the White House. The truck won high praise from President Donald Trump, who called it an “incredible piece of science, technology.” The company already has 40,000 preorders for the truck that represent, barring cancellations or delays, $2 billion in revenue, even though it won’t start production until early 2021.

ORCHID: To Western Star Lodge 21, which last week presented Boardman Local Schools Board of Education with a $5,000 check to assist in funding the district’s technology needs, particularly in dealing with remote learning due to COVID-19. The Boardman lodge has more than 200 members who wanted to help meet the need of connectivity for Boardman families. Close to one-third of Boardman students are learning remotely since the school year began Sept. 14.



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