Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the hundreds of people, local and nationwide, who dug into their pockets to help a 24-year-old local mother arrested last week in Liberty after she left her two young children alone for several hours in a hotel room while she went to work. A Gofundme account has generated more than $100,000 for the family’s needs. While we don’t condone the woman’s actions, we recognize the outpouring of financial support for this mother who was working to support her family.

ORCHID: To the Canfield Cardinals hockey team for its excellent season that led to a state runner-up Baron Cup tournament trophy this week. Canfield finished second in the conference tournament, and now heads into the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason, where the team is seeded eighth. We wish them all the best, but we know that win or lose, the Cardinals have an excellent season (17-4-3) for which to be very proud!

ONION: To whoever left a puppy in an animal crate outside during freezing temperatures and icy rain on Youngstown’s North Side on Monday night. The crate had the word “free” etched into the side. Really? There are many other appropriate options for pet owners unable to care for their animals. Luckily, this puppy was discovered, and officers turned it over to the Mahoning County Dog Warden.

ORCHID: For the “Little Free Library” that opened recently in the Wean Park promenade near the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre. The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that works to expand book access in communities through volunteer-led book collections in public spaces to promote literacy and reading. The books here were chosen by the Youngstown Rotary Club and Derrick McDowell, the park’s community engagement and inclusion coordinator, to reflect themes related to Black History Month. Great idea!

ORCHID: To Youngstown Catholic Diocese Bishop David Bonnar and all those involved in hosting the White Mass to recognize and bless area health care workers. About 50 were in attendance last Sunday. While the Mass is an annual event, this year’s celebration was especially noteworthy in light of the life-saving work they have been doing on the COVID-19 front lines.


Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Cleveland Browns super fan Ray Prisby of Youngstown for his selection for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Ford Hall of Fans in Canton. Prisby’s home stands as a veritable shrine to the team and its Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, jam-packed with memorabilia and exhibits. The honor won Prisby a well deserved trip to last weekend’s Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. Go Browns! Go Ray!

• ORCHID: To Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney for putting the brakes on plans by Youngstown’s ex-finance director David Bozanich to move to a halfway house next month after serving half of his one-year jail term. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction approved him for transitional control release — a halfway house — but Sweeney denied the move, according to a court entry. Good. Bozanich was convicted of one felony count each of bribery and tampering with records and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful compensation of a public official. In our book, that one-year sentence was already too light.

• ONION: To McGrath Consulting Group Inc. of Illinois, which compiled a $35,000 140-page study for the Western Reserve Joint Fire District that fire officials say contains a number of factual inaccuracies. Fire officials say they’ve compiled a response “to address deficiencies and errors in the report,” including statistics, vehicle information and even population numbers.

• ORCHID: To Gov. Mike DeWine for lifting Ohio’s curfew after the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations have continued to decline. Now it’s up to Ohioans to follow the rules of social distancing and mask wearing to ensure the cases stay low.

• ORCHID: To the McDonough Museum of Art, affiliated with Youngstown State University, for its Black Artists Matter campaign that includes daily posts on its social media accounts, and then compiling those posts for slide shows on its website — ysu.edu/mcdonough- museum. The museum director said about 60 artists have been featured in two months. The posts are short and to the point, usually featuring a photo of the artist as well as an example of his or her work and some details of the creative process. The posts also include a link to seek out more information.


Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County for moving forward with a new strategic plan despite the ongoing pandemic. We are pleased that library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek is pursuing a long-term growth plan with ample (but socially distanced) opportunities for direct community input on wish lists for future projects and initiatives for the robust library system. The open-ended planning process gives library users the input and accountability they deserve for the institution financed in part by their hard-earned tax dollars.

ONION: To those from Walgreens pharmacy handling COVID-19 vaccinations given out recently at five northeastern Ohio nursing homes for their inexcusable problems with improperly storing some of the vaccines. That led to residents at those facilities receiving tainted shots. And although state health officials now say no major ill effects resulted from the error, those patients were left worried and wondering if they should get revaccinated. At a time when anxiety runs high over the coronavirus — especially among seniors — vaccine providers must not run slipshod over proper protocols.

ORCHID: To state Sen. Michael Rulli, R-Salem, for introducing legislation that would create a grant program for electric vehicle charging stations in Ohio. Senate Bill 32 would provide funds as incentives for businesses to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure on and near the state’s major highways. That, of course, would incentivize more consumers to drive electric vehicles. Given the Mahoning Valley’s growing and justified reputation as Voltage Valley, Rulli’s forward-thinking move could stimulate heightened production of electric vehicles and battery cells for such vehicles at the soon-to-open GM/LG Chem and Lordstown Motors plants in Lordstown.

ONION: To the teacher’s aide at Boardman Center Intermediate School who a police report claims stapled a note to the hair of a 10-year-old boy on the autism spectrum last month. It also alleges the teacher’s aide struck the child with the stapler, which caused a red mark with scabbing on his neck. So what triggered this irresponsible, aggressive and reckless behavior? According to the report, it was simply confusion over a water bottle. Boardman school officials said the errant aide has been disciplined. We can only hope that discipline was deservingly severe.

ORCHID: To state Attorney General David Yost for asking Congress to protect Ohioans who had fraudulent unemployment claims filed in their names, shielding them from having to pay taxes on benefits they never received. “Construction workers, daycare providers, service industry workers — the backbone of this state — have worked hard throughout the pandemic. Now the government is going to ask them to pay taxes on money they did not receive — it is not right,” Yost said. The attorney general clearly is right, and congressional leaders should heed his call promptly.

ONION: To the slimy con artists preying on older residents in communities such as Austintown and Howland. Police agencies in those and other Ohio communities report someone or some people are filing for pandemic unemployment claims in other people’s names and then claiming the government funds for their own selfish gain. Taxes on those ill-gotten benefits, however, ultimately will ricochet back to the original victim. One woman whose ID was stolen said, “I don’t trust anyone anymore.” Sad.

ORCHID: To Canfield High School senior Jordan Helmick, 17, for organizing a communitywide virtual 5-K / 1-mile benefit race for ALS Association for research. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a disease in which the nervous system breaks down. There is no cure. Jordan was inspired to rise to the occasion after learning her cousin’s husband was diagnosed with the debilitating disease. Her efforts paid off handsomely with an $800 donation to the ALS Association. Other youth and adults would do well to follow Jordan’s excellent exercise in empathy.



Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

Hosea 10:12 ESV


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