Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the city of Campbell and its police department for working to get new cameras, hardware and software that will allow police body and cruiser cameras to work in sync. The project creates, according to police Chief Pat Kelly, “complete transparency.” City leaders seem serious about their commitment to openness and are putting $58,000 toward the project. Additionally, $30,000 in grant funds went toward body cameras.

ORCHID: To the Ohio Department of Transportation for working tirelessly to ensure a bridge pillar affecting traffic on heavily traveled spans of Mahoning Avenue and Interstate 680 was stabilized after a fiery crash Monday caused significant damage. The bridge has a traffic flow of 9,193 vehicles daily.

ONION: To land owners who either refuse to upkeep their properties or, worse, simply walk away, leaving the mess for someone else to deal with. Boardman Township trustees this week declared two nuisance properties, at 7443 Sierra Madre Trail and 5515 West Blvd. Director of Zoning and Development Kristen Beniston said each address is vacant with rubbish and debris around the property.

ORCHID: To twins Max and Zac Prizant, 25, who have made a cross-country trek from San Francisco to the Valley on foot, all in an effort to both accomplish something great and also give back to the world in some way. The twins, who grew up in Poland, raised funds along the way for Heart to Heart International, an American charity that helps countries around the globe with disaster relief, and now COVID-19 relief.

ORCHID: To the David Bermant Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif., that recently gifted a kinetic art collection valued at $3.4 million to the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. The 98 pieces of artwork now are part of the Butler’s permanent collection. The jewel of the collection, according to Butler Executive Director Louis A. Zona, is an early work by Marcel Duchamp, considered a pioneer in kinetic art.


Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Youngstown officials for moving forward on a logical cooperative project with the Ohio Department of Transportation to demolish the aging and unneeded Crescent Street Bridge. The 78-foot steel girder crosses an abandoned railroad line just west of West Rayen Avenue. Officials called the span a “bridge to nowhere.” Since the rail line is no longer in use, the bridge will be removed and replaced with a roadway that is less costly to maintain. Estimated cost is $947,650, with the state covering all but $207,000, which the city will pay. The whole project makes sense.

• ONION: To scam artists who have been calling local residents claiming to be from the sheriff’s office and pressuring residents to pay money to avoid being jailed on a supposed outstanding arrest warrant. Crooks always seem to find new ways to deceive. If you get a call like this, don’t be fooled! Always independently verify claims from callers before ever sending money.

• ORCHID: To Youngstown City Schools and Trumbull Educational Service Center, which received a portion of $2.6 million in grants through the Collaborative Fund for Educating Remotely and Transforming Schools. As part of the grants that will benefit 107,516 students statewide, Trumbull ESC received $55,400 to establish a new Science, Technology, Education and Math program.

• ONION: To the driver who sheared off a utility pole in Campbell last week, knocking out power, but then bailed out of the vehicle and ran away on foot, leaving the SUV behind.

• ORCHID: To Austintown Rotary for its donation of new coats to 100 needy Austintown students as part of “Operation Warm.” The Rotary found a way to raise funds for the needed outerwear despite the challenges created by the pandemic.


Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for hiring a community support specialist who will help patrons with needs in social service and mental health areas. Jim Young will help people with needs greater than library services; he will link patrons to help with homelessness, addiction, depression and more, according to library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek. Patrons who would like to talk with Young can contact the library at 330-744-8636 or talk with a librarian, who will connect them.

ORCHID: To the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley, which includes the former local Lake to River Chapter in Liberty, for finding a centralized location to best serve residents in its six-county region. The Red Cross is moving its office from Belmont Avenue in Liberty to Canfield Niles Road in Austintown on Monday. There will be no disruption in services. Last year, the local Red Cross that served Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties was renamed and expanded to include Portage, Medina and Summit counties. The move to Austintown matches the mission of the realignment — to better serve the Red Cross’ mission and local communities.

ORCHID: To Michigan-based retailer Meijer, which is building a superstore on U.S. Route 224 in Boardman, for making good on its promise to donate about 20 acres of land behind the project to Boardman Township so it can stay in its natural state. Meijer had bought 40 acres for the project and developed half with the intent to donate the rest to the township. Attached to the donation is a conservancy, meaning it cannot be developed in the future. And to further protect the land from development — keeping it in its natural wetland state — it later could be transferred to the ABC (Austintown, Boardman, Canfield) Stormwater District. Doing so would let the land “continue to thrive,” said Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree.

ONION: To 2020. The unrelenting viral outbreak that struck in mid-March has so far killed more than 330,000 people in the U.S. — fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and co-workers — and sickened millions more. COVID-19 has bludgeoned businesses, sent the economy into a tailspin and caused joblessness to soar. It has taxed the U.S. health care system and health care workers, working tirelessly to save lives.

The year also saw the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The deaths sparked outrage and protests, some violent, in communities nationwide and calls for end to racial injustice. That outcry caused America to examine head-on issues of civil injustice in the black community, a much needed step toward equality.

ORCHID: To the CASTLO Community Improvement Corp. and Redex Industries for donating personal protective equipment kits to safety forces in Campbell, Struthers, Lowellville, Coitsville and Poland, the five CASTLO communities. Redex Industries, a local family-owned business best known for its Udderly Smooth hand cream products, developed the PPE kits to address a need in the community. The kits are small enough to use in patrol cars, but complete enough to meet a range of needs. They include thermometers, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, Udderly Smooth hand cream tubes and masks.


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