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Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Anthony D’Apolito, who was honored earlier this month by the National Association of Social Workers as the Ohio Region 4 Elected Official of the Year. The award honored the judge’s work with the Veterans Felony Honor Court, which works to rehabilitate military veterans charged with crimes by providing counseling, mentoring, supervision and mental health services.

ORCHID: To outgoing Poland Township police Chief Brian Goodin for his service to the township, including the last 17 years at the helm. Goodin will retire in January after serving the township admirably. Orchid also to incoming chief, former detective Greg Wilson, who took the oath of office this week. He came to the township department in 1997. We appreciate service to the community by all good public servants. We wish Chief Goodin an enjoyable retirement, and we welcome Chief Wilson as the department’s new leader.

ONION: To those responsible for privately owned dams if they fall short on proper care and maintenance to ensure safety. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost this week filed legal action, for instance, attempting to force repairs to the Coalburg Lake Dam located on Little Yankee run in Hubbard Township. Yost and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources are concerned that the structure’s failure would result in a significant loss of life, homes or businesses downstream. Indeed, private dams provide beautiful settings, but if not properly maintained, they represent serious risk.

ORCHID: To Youngstown City Schools CEO Justin Jennings, who announced this week that he intends to donate a $10,000 bonus he received from the state Academic Distress Commission to workers in the school district. The bonus is being divided among district school bus drivers, bus aides and food service workers.

ORCHID: To our first responders who are seeing continued upticks in the services they must provide, yet who still manage to do it well. Girard Fire Department, for instance, reported handling 2,000 calls this year for the first time. Ten years ago, it handled half that amount at 907 calls. Officials attribute the increase to things like an aging population. No matter what the cause, we applaud these first responders for continuing to do their jobs with professionalism.

ONION: To the Ohio Department of Health, which again reported “manual reporting errors at two laboratories,” resulting in 7,699 COVID-19 case undercount in Ohio since March. Previous COVID-19 tabulation or reporting errors included failure by ODH to report more than one in every four Ohio COVID-19 deaths and other incomplete case data last year. ODH website also has had numerous issues causing COVID-19 data reporting delays.

ORCHID: To those involved with even more economic development related to the $2.3 billion Ultium Cells plant being built in Lordstown. Recently, a company with ties to LG Energy Solution — building the Lordstown factory in a partnership with General Motors — purchased for $160,000 a downtown Niles office building to be used as test space for automation equipment for the Ultium Cells plant. The company will renovate the space and employ nine workers there. It’s just one more example of the far-reaching effect the new plant is having on our Valley.

ORCHID: To Western Reserve Transit Authority and some elected leaders in Trumbull County attempting to provide complete information about public transportation needs and services. Township and municipal leaders are invited to a meeting 6:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center to discuss WRTA’s transportation proposal. Indeed, views differ on local public transit needs, so education is critical before making this important decision.

ORCHID: To the Stephen Foster Chorus, which had been giving amazing performances for 75 years. Sadly, the group sung its final note in a Christmas show last week, due to dwindling membership. At one time, the chorus had as many as 30 members. Now, however, it was down to just eight active members. Thank you for the commitment and beautiful harmony throughout the years.

editorial@vindy.com

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the Youngstown Police Department for its proactive stance in reducing retail thefts in the city over the coming weeks, especially since such crimes always tend to increase around the holidays. Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, police Chief Carl Davis and other officials unveiled a plan this week, warning thieves that police are watching — sometimes in plain clothes. Officers, hoping to keep the city safe, will make extra checks on businesses throughout December. The plan will be aggressive against thieves and provide an important service to city businesses and to honest shoppers who suffer when profits walk out the door.

ONION: To trespassers who have been opening farm gates, freeing livestock from their enclosures around the area. The Mahoning County Farm Bureau said a string of such incidents has occurred recently, including two on Nov. 30 in Milton and Jackson townships. The scofflaw might have thought it funny, but the recent event resulted in the death of three horses and a foal, along with injury to a teen driver who struck two horses. Also, a 6-year-old girl was injured in a separate accident in Milton Township after a car struck a horse near Jackson-Milton Middle School. Now a reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Call 330-456-4889 or email mahoning@ofbf.org to share information.

ORCHID: To Liberty Township trustees and township attorney Cherry Poteet for being proactive in negotiating with safety forces labor unions to remove bureaucracy in hiring by eliminating the township’s civil service requirements. At a time when departments are facing increasingly competitive hiring challenges brought on by shortages of police officers, firefighters and paramedics, the civil service testing process can be time-consuming and expensive. Using Ohio guidelines, Poteet worked with township employee unions to eliminate the civil service requirement while still ensuring hiring standards for police and firefighters will not decrease.

ONION: To the Youngstown City School District for closing schools again on Friday, this time to allow district employees time to get their COVID-19 vaccinations or booster shots. Many other local school districts coordinated similar vaccination clinics and opportunities to help get employees protected against COVID-19 — but they did it on a weekend or other previously scheduled day off so classes were not interrupted. With Youngstown City Schools already struggling mightily with academic success, we’d think administrators would be looking harder to find ways to keep students in the classroom.

ORCHID: To those involved in bringing

$3 million in Ohio BUILDS water infrastructure grant money to Weathersfield Township. The project, funded by state pandemic relief funds, will improve low water pressure in Mineral Ridge. The grant comes from $250 million allocated for water and sewer infrastructure grants to Ohio communities, funding 183 projects. Here, an elevated water storage tank and a booster pump station will be constructed. Gov. Mike DeWine visited the area this week to discuss the grant, which will help defray costs to area ratepayers.

ONION: To everyone involved in the lead-based paint fiasco at a Youngstown home and day care. The property owner says the home at 356 E. Judson Ave., determined in 2017 to have numerous lead hazards, was supposed to be vacant. But it wasn’t, even though the Ohio Department of Health ordered the home vacated in 2019 and 2020. A resident has been living there and operating a day care there since April. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services records indicate the facility was approved to provide child home care for up to six children at a time. It’s unclear if the location was specified and / or inspected. Now the department of health is suing the property owner. The kids and parents in need of child care will suffer the most from this dangerous situation that never should have gotten to this point.

editorial@vindy.com

Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To an observant passerby and to the Youngstown police officer whose attentiveness and quick thinking helped to apprehend a suspect in last week’s bank robbery of First National Bank downtown. An officer was called this week to an area of the city because someone had spotted the silver Cadillac believed to have been used in the bank robbery. The officer spotted the vehicle, followed it and executed the stop, making an arrest. That’s great cooperation and good police work.

ORCHID: To Youngstown’s Beatitude House, a ministry of the Ursuline Sisters Mission, that is collecting gifts for families this holiday season. Beautitude House is seeking to make the holidays brighter for the needy through community donations. Also being sought are items like gloves, scarves, purses, slippers and dish towels. Call 330-744-3147 with questions or for more information on how to donate.

ONION: To the vandal who thought it was a good idea to wail rocks through the windows of the historic Trumbull County Courthouse overnight last weekend. The courthouse stands as a representation of America’s justice system and all that is right with the scales of justice. Unfortunately, disrespectful people abound everywhere. Now, the taxpayers will foot the bill for the unconscionable acts through insurance costs. Once the criminal is caught and prosecuted, we hope he or she receives a severe sentence and is ordered to pay for the damage.

ORCHID: To organizers of the downtown Youngstown event and display this week to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases. World AIDS Day was Wednesday, intended to encourage people to fight and end HIV, to support those living with the disease and their families and to honor people who have died from AIDS-related diseases. Wednesday, 80 red ribbons were exhibited on Central Square — each

representing 10 people in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties who have the disease.

ORCHID: To Canfield city for continuing its leaf pickup program for as long as leaves are piled along city streets. The popular program allows residents to rake leaves to the curb, without the need for bagging and disposal, where they are sucked up in vacuum trucks by city crews and transported to be mulched and recycled. The program is beneficial all around.

ORCHID: To the Western Reserve Transit Authority for this month putting the spotlight on some 18 charity organizations that “Light Up the Valley” all year long with the Holiday Lights campaign. All through December, signs highlighting these organizations will appear on the back of selected WRTA buses serving Mahoning and Trumbull counties. The transit authority encourages all Valley residents to support these charitable organizations and the good work they do. Bravo!

editorial@vindy.com

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