Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Youngstown State University Foundation and its many contributors for its successful “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign. The recently completed four-year campaign raised $126.1 million, far exceeding its $100 million goal. That includes more than 32,500 individual gifts, including 40 of $1 million or more. This mammoth sum ensures a brighter tomorrow for the university in its mission in the Mahoning Valley.
ORCHID: To newly sworn-in Poland police Chief Don Lambert. He succeeds longtime Chief Russ Beatty who died recently. Lambert has vast policing experience over three decades — much of it in the village. He’s also been part of investigative teamwork with the
Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force. We wish him the best as he assumes this leadership role.
ONION: To the Ohio Redistricting Commission for failing its assigned mission to develop a 10-year bipartisan set of fair legislative district maps. The commission instead approved four-year state House and Senate district maps. The maps are good for only four years because no commission Democrats voted for them. The maps appear to maintain much Republican favoritism, which helped Ohio win the distinction of among the most gerrymandered states in the union.
ORCHID: To Canfield-based wholesaler Voyager Specialty Coffee and Teas for its large investment in rejuvenation of Youngstown business and industry. The company is investing $250,000 on a former auto parts store and adjacent property on the city’s West Side to relocate its expanding production and distribution center. Space at the new site could lead also
to the opening of a cafe or ice cream shop, company leaders said. The plan puts another
fresh, vibrant face on a deteriorating urban property.
ONION: To Liberty Township residents who placed a profane sign attacking President Joe Biden in their front yard and within sight of a nearby ice cream shop. The message is so foul we cannot publish it here in a family newspaper. Because of free-speech protections, township authorities say there’s little they can do to force removal. We urge township residents to pressure the keeper to use more
sanitized language in their criticisms or remove the sign from community view — especially of children.
ORCHID: To Boardman Board of Education and the ABC (Austintown, Boardman, Canfield) Water and Storm Water Utility District for developing a plan to alleviate flooding for 1,400 township residents. The centerpiece creates a retention pond and park on land where Boardman Market Street Elementary School now sits. The plan could end woes of Boardman homeowners while creating a beautiful natural park complete with trails and a pollinator garden for all to enjoy. Kudos also to Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, who secured $500,000 for the project in the state’s capital budget.
ONION: To those conniving armyworms wreaking havoc on Valley lawns, pastures, hayfields and crops. Eric Barrett from the Ohio State University agricultural office in Canfield said the pests’ heavy infestation likely results from heavy August rains. The evil worms ruin perfectly decent lawns and are as quick as a jackrabbit, traveling up to 500 miles in a
day, Barrett said. At least the malicious moths don’t overstay. They will disappear over the winter.
ORCHID: To Son of the City, a nonprofit youth development organization based in New Castle, Pa., for donating 340 new backpacks to students at Youngstown’s Taft Elementary School this month. The brightly colored attractive gear will help children get their school year started right.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Rick Rowlands of Hubbard for transforming his personal passion for classic trains into a museum of rail cars and steel memorabilia from the Mahoning Valley. The Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation on Hubbard Road has as its star attraction a 1914 stationary steam engine used by the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. Rowlands’ zeal in sharing hais collections with the public helps to preserve a vital cog in the Mahoning Valley’s rich industrial history.
ORCHID: To Campbell City Schools which won the Compass Award from Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, recognizing outstanding contributions to improving Ohioans’ financial literacy. The Campbell school staff been raising the bar on financial management for all students. Coupled with a career exploration program, the practical curriculum serves as a model for other districts in preparing its graduates with invaluable skills too often overlooked in traditional curriculums.
ONION: To Ohio Redistricting Commission for failing to schedule sufficient public hearings throughout the state to gather meaningful representational input on its proposed redrawn state House and Senate district maps approved Thursday. Unlike earlier public hearings that took place at 10 sites, only three hearings are scheduled for the final and arguably more important plan. Of course, this seems common for the Republican-dominant commission, as only a few members bothered to even show up at earlier hearings on drafting the maps.
ORCHID: To dozens of Youngstown police officers honored this week. Chief Carl Davis awarded commendations for going beyond the call of duty — even including saving lives in some instances. The scope and breadth of awards illustrate that the vast majority of Youngstown police — and police elsewhere, for that matter — do represent the finest in public service.
ORCHID: To Mahoning County Board of Elections member Mark Munroe for 30 years of service on the board. Munroe announced this week his upcoming retirement. He also has led the county’s Republican Party for decades, serving as chairman for years. We commend Munroe for overseeing many initiatives to make voting easier and more secure for hundreds of thousands of residents.
ONION: To hackers attempting to access FirstEnergy customers’ online accounts. The suspicious activity became so widespread the electric company that operates as Ohio Edison in the Mahoning Valley disabled customer accounts and is requiring all to reset passwords. The maliciousness is causing inconveniences for many customers. Still, we commend FirstEnergy for acting proactively and appropriately to avoid letting the activities multiply out of control.
ORCHID: To the Medici Museum of Art for completing an expansion of its Howland gallery. The $1.6 million project doubles the number of galleries at the East Market Street museum and increases its storage and classrooms. It also helps the museum better nurture its larger outreach mission of offering art classes to children and adults, public lectures, musical performances and health and wellness events. Medici is quickly making a name for itself as a jewel among the Valley’s strongest cultural assets.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Annie Hall of Youngstown for her decades of unselfish giving to the city’s needy. She has served as lead organizer of community food and clothing giveaways as part of the East Side Crime Watch group. She also works with the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence in efforts to quell the rise in violent crime in Youngstown. At 89, she’s a veritable “Energizer Bunny,” showing no sign of slowing. She serves as an exemplary role model for all who care about the future of our city and its residents.
ORCHID: To Trumbull County 911 Center dispatcher Katelyn Bower for likely saving the life of fellow dispatcher Shana Murphy while on duty recently at the center. Murphy choked on a piece of food, and Bower responded rapidly using the Heimlich maneuver twice to free Murphy’s passageway. Like most heroes and heroines, Bower brushed aside the valor of her act by saying it was just part of her job. Still, she deserves praise for quick thinking and skillful life-saving actions.
ONION: To Youngstown’s police patrol union for considering hiring former Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich as consultant in its negotiations with the city administration on a new contract. Bozanich, many will recall, cast a deep stain on the city’s image with his conviction and imprisonment on a variety of bribery and corruption charges. We concur with city Law Director Jeff Limbian who called his consideration for the job “shocking,” particularly because his criminal activity emanated from employment with the city.
ORCHID: To the Comfort Inn in Liberty for partnering with the Mental Health and Recovery boards of Mahoning and Trumbull counties, the Ohio Hotels and Lodging Association and others to install a “Naloxbox” in a hotel common area to help victims of drug overdoses. Police agencies say hotels are notorious sites of illegal drug activity and overdoses. This new tool will provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone to potentially save lives.
ORCHID: To U.S. Department of Education for assisting students victimized by the sudden closing of ITT Technical Institute campuses, including one in Austintown. The institute abruptly closed several years ago. The department said the college engaged in widespread misrepresentations and malfeasance. The $1.1 billion the Department of Education is releasing will resolve loan liabilities for thousands of students.
ONION: To operators and many unruly patrons of The Social, a bar on West Commerce Street in downtown Youngstown that city police have called a nuisance. According to police, over the past six months, multiple reports of underage serving of alcohol, disorderly conduct, drug possession, guns and weapons and assaults have emanated from the downtown bar. Now, a temporary restraining order closing the bar has been extended until a Nov. 30 hearing. Such criminal activity in the heart of the city damages efforts to revitalize downtown’s commercial and residential resurgence.
ORCHID: To the New Lease on Life Pet Adoption Agency in Struthers for providing a group of puppies for Youngstown State University students to cuddle and play with during Welcome Week activities to start the fall semester at the university. No doubt the furry little Fifis and Fidos helped ease stress of the daunting college experience for many, particularly freshmen, this week.
ORCHID: To the Oakhill Collaborative, a Youngstown-based social service agency, for broadening internet access among lower-income Mahoning County residents. Under the direction of Patrick Kerrigan, the collaborative will use $115,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to provide discounts for those without internet service providers, particularly in inner-city Youngstown. OC also will provide training for maximum effectiveness at its computer training center.