Orchids and onions
• ORCHID: To Youngstown native David Perrico, a 1988 graduate of Chaney High School and 2002 graduate of the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, for landing a gig as leader and arranger for the Las Vegas Raiders house band. Perrico, who also has played among entertainment’s biggest names, attributes his success to teachers at Youngstown City Schools and at Dana, a ringing endorsement of music education he received right here.
• ORCHID: To the Struthers Fire Department for successfully rescuing a kayaker last week from the Mahoning River. About 10 people from the department used a rope to rescue the woman. The incident is a testament to SFD’s lifesaving skills. It’s also a warning to all who take advantage of the revitalized river for recreation to do so with care and caution.
• ORCHID: To Diocese of Youngstown Bishop David Bonnar for permitting the Queen of the Holy Rosary church in Vienna to continue conducting traditional Latin masses despite Pope Francis’ recent order limiting their use in Roman Catholic churches. The Mass dates back centuries. It has a faithful following at Queen of the Holy Rosary. Bonnar’s decision helps to keep the beloved tradition alive.
• ONION: To Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman and Burkman’s lobbying firm for making illegal robocalls that targeted black communities, according to the Federal Communications Commission that slapped the men with a $5.1 million fine. The men allegedly organized 85,000 robocalls falsely warning people in Ohio’s black neighborhoods that information gleaned from mail-in ballots could lead to their arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination. It appears they were designed to suppress votes in the Democrat-leaning demographic statewide.
• ORCHID: To Florida artist Kyle Holbrook for his large community-service mural painted on the wall of the former Park Inn building in Youngstown’s Idora neighborhood on the South Side. The eye-catching brightly colored urban artwork features a giant hand displaying a peace symbol alongside an octagonal traffic sign with the message “Stop gun violence.” As the city’s homicide toll and shootings mount, the in-your-face message of Holbrook’s mural cannot be reinforced enough.
• ORCHID: To the Cafaro Company, one of the largest privately held shopping center developers in the nation that operates the Eastwood Mall Complex, for receiving the Compassionate Business Award from PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The award recognizes the company’s placement of signs at its sites warning shoppers of the dangers of leaving animals or children inside unattended parked cars.
• ORCHID: To the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling last week that convicted murderer Danny Lee Hill should not have his death penalty rescinded based on claims that Hill is mentally disabled. Hill was convicted in the 1985 torture and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife. We agree with Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins that justice was served in the ruling. We hope this ends the 35 years of appeals in this gruesome case, giving the family the closure it deserves.
• ONION: To Cleveland Browns cornerback Troy Hill and New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard for throwing punches at each other after a joint practice session last week in Cleveland. Hill and Shepard were part of a group of players mingling after the session when tempers flared. Such actions reflect poorly on players who instead should serve as positive role models.
• ORCHID: To Window World and its Moran family owners for donating $250,000 to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. The generous gift from the longtime Valley business will fund completion of the Beeghly Campus emergency department expansion. Construction of the major addition to the growing hospital is expected to begin this fall. The gift serves as a shining example of a Mahoning Valley business investing in the Mahoning Valley’s future.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Austintown artist Ron Moore, who this week unveiled his latest work dedicated to the Canfield Police Department. Moore, who draws despite his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, said he’s committed to dedicating a special piece of artwork to a different local police department every year to thank officers for their “unwavering dedication to protecting the citizens and visitors.” The incredible works of art are not offered for sale, and while the large framed piece is donated to the department, smaller copies of it are printed and given to the officers and dispatchers.
ORCHID: To creators and organizers of Camp FRIEND, taking place this week, in which activities and events specially are designed for children and teenagers with autism. Camp FRIEND, which stands for Finding Rewards in Every New Day, is offered in collaboration with the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley and the Jewish Community Center, where the camp is being held. More than 30 children and teens from the tricounty area attended.
ONION: To nursing home workers who apparently are risking spread of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable population. Statistics released this week show that while the overall number of COVID-19 cases at Mahoning Valley nursing homes and assisted-living facilities remains relatively low, staff COVID-19 cases outnumber patient cases. Mahoning County reported eight COVID-19 cases at six facilities this week — all of them staff cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health dashboard. Nursing home employees must ensure they take every appropriate and available precaution to ensure they are COVID-19 free in order to eliminate any unnecessary risk to the people for whom they care.
ORCHID: To law enforcement officers Pete DeAngelo of Liberty and Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mike Taylor for taking on a hobby that might leave others squeamish, but is necessary to help track and educate people about a threatened population of rattlesnakes. On numerous occasions the men have paired up to travel to central Pennsylvania in search of rattlesnakes. They chart data that is submitted to state biologists who help the reptiles. The effort educates and increases conservation efforts of the rattlers.
ORCHID: To organizers for the American Cancer Society’s 15th annual Cattle Baron’s Ball held last week at the Lake Club in Poland. The ball raises tens of thousands of dollars to fund the fight against cancer. This year’s event recognized both 2021 and 2020 honorees including medical honorees, cancer survivors and sponsors, as last year’s event was virtual, not live, due to COVID-19. It’s a wonderful annual event for a excellent cause.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Youngstown city officials for swearing in five new police officers this week. The new hires bring staffing on the force to 138, plus more hires are planned. The growth spurt is needed as a strong police presence on the streets is one of the best tools for fighting Youngstown’s insidiously high violent-crime rate.
ONION: To the Ohio Parole Board for ignoring the sage advice of the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office by approving the release of Floyd Davis, 59, of Youngstown, convicted of torturing and murdering Joseph DeLisio in 1977. Prosecutors pleaded with the board to keep Davis in prison, saying he still represents a danger. Their plea apparently fell on deaf ears.
ORCHID: To the family of Melina Michelle Edenfield and, posthumously, to Melina for helping to establish a foundation in Melina’s name that’s raised more than $300,000 to research and treat diffuse midline gliomas, a pediatric brain tumor that took Melina’s life at age 4. The family recently sponsored a benefit called “Choose Joy,” a remark the youngster urged others to follow during her illness. Her family vows Melina’s spirit will live on to improve the lives of others with DMG.
ONION: To Weathersfield police officer David Blosser III for being found guilty of falsification before a notary public regarding a fraudulent application for a duplicate motor-vehicle title. Though the misdemeanor sounds minor, the conviction puts a permanent stain on the high standard of integrity the public deserves from law enforcement officers.
ORCHID: To Thomas Groth of Canfield and his wife, the late Brenda Groth, for providing the resources to open a new Senior Feline Living Community at the Trumbull County Animal Welfare League. The center, which consists of two 216-square-foot rooms, is equipped with various amenities including perches, ramped walkways, toys and feeding troughs suitable for older cats. It serves as a fitting legacy for Mrs. Groth’s compassion toward cats.
ONION: To Cuyahoga County Court for meting out vastly disparate sentences for similar crimes. A black woman who was convicted of stealing $42,000 from a local school received 18 months in prison. In contrast, a white woman convicted of stealing $450,000 from a village government received slap-on-the-wrist probation. That and other seemingly racist disparities in Ohio criminal justice make a strong case for a uniform statewide sentencing database that Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly is advocating.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Youngstown CityScape for purchasing the former Briel’s greenhouse and flower shop on the West Side with plans to reopen it. The city beautification organization has succeeded over the years in improving the aesthetics of the downtown and its corridors. We’re hoping this new endeavor will cultivate even more success toward that noble mission.
ONION: To Gov. Mike DeWine for implementing a new set of incentives in an effort to drive up the COVID-19 vaccination rate in the state. Last week, the governor announced a plan to give any state worker a $100 cash award for receiving the vaccine and a $25 award to their spouses. As we noted during the Vax-A-Million lottery, which failed miserably to achieve its goal, such incentives do little to spur massive increases in vaccination rates and waste taxpayer dollars.
ORCHID: To the Lee and Bonnie Burdman and Richard and Susan Sokolov families for gifting Youngstown State University significant sums of money to strengthen academic programming. The Burdmans gift of $250,000 will create a fellowship for the James P. Tressel Institute for Leadership and Teamwork, and the Sokolovs’ undisclosed dollar donation is to establish the Sokolov Honors College that will enhance programs and services of that burgeoning YSU school.
ORCHID: To Youngstown native Jaidyn Triplett for landing a regular role in Paramount+ streaming service’s reboot of the television comedy series “iCarly.” The casting testifies to her talents as an actor that stretch far beyond her 10 years. Credit some of that acumen to all in her family, which collectively has more than 200 commercial acting credits to its name.
ORCHID: To Disabled American Veterans Youngstown Chapter 2 for its stellar work in meeting the needs of veterans throughout the Mahoning Valley through its aggressive fundraising events. The chapter routinely provides groceries and supplies to dozens of needy veterans and is now working on financing a new roof for another vet.
ONION: To the overwhelming majority of parents in the Youngstown City School District who failed to attend a critical public forum on the future of their children’s school system. A public meeting took place Tuesday night at Choffin Career and Technical Center to solicit public comments on the district’s plan to draft an improvement plan to wrest it free of state control. Given the high levels of criticism toward the CEO / Academic Distress Commission oversight of the district, the low level of turnout was pathetic. Only five people showed. Let’s hope for stronger turnout at similar forums later this month.
ORCHID: To Chuck Whitman, head of CTW Development Corp., for making a $40,000 gift to the Boardman Boosters club for expansion of Spartan Stadium near the high school. To date, more than $3 million has been raised for numerous improvements at one of the largest and most state-of-the-art high school athletic complexes in the region.
ORCHID: To Canfield-based Farmers National Bank for being named the top-performing bank in Ohio by Bank Director Magazine, a well-known national publication among financial professionals. Farmers outperformed all other banks in the state in such categories as profitability, capital adequacy and asset quality. With its acquisition of Cortland Bancorp Inc., we look for the Valley-based financial institution to enhance its already superlative standing.
ORCHID: To Girard pharmacist Paul Nuzzi for his more than three decades of professional service to city residents. Nuzzi has witnessed countless changes in the pharmaceutical industry over those years, but one constant has been his one-on-one personal service to his customers. Nuzzi has well earned his newfound life as a retiree.