Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Youngstown police, Mahoning County Coroner’s Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for reinitiating attempts to solve a 35-year-old death by reconstructing what the face might have looked like from an unidentified skull found Sept. 10, 1987, off Liberty Road near Mount Hope Cemetery on Youngstown’s East Side. We are pleased to see new attempts to solve the mystery and bring closure to a family. If you have information, call the coroner’s office at 330-740-2175.

ORCHID: To the Liberty Local School District for receiving and putting to good use a $379,998 school-based Ohio Department of Education health grant. It will be used for construction on a Quick-Med school health clinic in the former E.J. Blott School kitchen. It will have a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant available to provide treatment. It’s all part of an important effort to help keep students healthy and in the classroom.

ONION: To the Mike Loychik campaign for banning some media from covering this week’s Donald Trump Jr. visit. Trump Jr. was in town stumping for Loychik, R-Bazetta, who’s running for Statehouse re-election. Certainly, when the former president’s son visits, there is public interest. Instead, the campaign closed the event to most media and did not offer an opportunity for a pool reporter to cover. During the event, Trump Jr. bashed the media for its so-called liberal stance. How is the media to communicate the party’s events and stance if its coverage is banned?

ORCHID: To Youngstown City Schools for remembering the school district’s history by listing all district high schools — past and present — on the new artificial turf installed at Rayen Stadium. The beautiful new addition to the field will be unveiled at Monday’s ribbon cutting. Athletics, of course, offer much to students in the way of physical fitness, spirit and belonging, leadership skills and teamwork.

ORCHID: To Mahoning County Public Health and the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board for sponsoring a free community resource event 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at DeBartolo Commons, Southern Park Mall, to observe International Overdose Awareness Day. Its goal is to raise awareness of the overdose epidemic in Mahoning County and to offer resources.

ORCHID: To the Junior League of the Mahoning Valley for bringing together many dogs and their humans at the first Paw-Lapalooza event last weekend at Wean Park in Youngstown. The fun-filled family event fit well the Junior League’s primary tenet of establishing a greater sense of community and its commitment to service.


Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Austintown Township Trustee Monica Deavers for following through on a campaign promise to donate her first year’s salary to various community groups. What an awesome gesture! Her last donation was $2,250 worth of school supplies split among Austintown Elementary, Intermediate and Middle schools. She is considering ways to best help high school students in the district, too. Since January, she also has donated to the Austintown Junior Women’s League, Rotary Club of Austintown, Disabled Veterans Post No. 2, the Austintown Senior Center, Austintown Band Parents, Austintown Historical Society, All About The Pawz and Austintown Farmers Market, Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities, the Austintown Easter egg hunt, Austintown Schools for Teacher Appreciation Week and the kite festival in support of the Leonard Kirtz School playground, Austintown 9/11 Memorial Park and Dick’s gift cards for the U10 Austinown softball team — each one deserving of Deavers’ generosity for the impact they have in the community.

ORCHID: To United Returning Citizens for partnering with the Cleveland School of Cannabis to provide education for returning citizens to enter the fast-growing cannabis industry. The program teaches a variety of skills, from horticulture to extraction and running a dispensary. It also provides job-placement help upon completion. It’s just another example of the good work being done in the community by URC and its staff led by executive director Dionne Dowdy-Lacey. Initially designed exclusively to help people re-enter society after being incarcerated, many of URC’s programs now serve the Greater Mahoning Valley community, from entrepreneurial guidance to programs that empower women to URC Grows, an agriculture-based educational and employment program that provides education, employment and social justice for individuals who have been incarcerated for marijuana-related charges.

ORCHID: To Beyond Expectations Barber College on Glenwood Avenue in Youngstown and to all of the volunteers who provided more than 200 free haircuts to children returning to class in the Youngstown City School District for the new school year. What a fantastic event that not only helped students prepare for the new academic year with sharp new cuts, but helped their parents’ pocketbooks, too, which no doubt are feeling the strain of inflation that has caused everything from rent to food to gas to increase. Every little bit helps, especially nowadays.

Well done!

ONION: To the person or people who stole copper pipes and tools from a home on Lansdowne Boulevard in Youngstown that was being rehabilitated by Habitat for Humanity of the Mahoning Valley. Habitat is a tremendous organization that provides decent, affordable housing for residents in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties. The break-in is especially despicable because it lacks any consideration for the work the organization and its volunteers have done at the site or for the family the home will benefit. The thefts paused the build, but we’re confident Habitat will regroup and finish the home, its second in the Mahoning Valley this year.

ORCHID: And a much-deserved welcome back to the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley’s Regional Center for Success, which is now reopened after a more than two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The center in Boardman, which is expanded now, too, celebrated its return with an open house Wednesday. The association offers a variety of critical resources, support, education, advocacy and opportunities to those with the condition, as well as their families and communities. We, like Deborah Williams, the association’s director of operations, are thrilled for the center’s return and for the resumption of programs.


Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To Cleveland-area developer, Butterfli Holdings 011 LLC, which acquired Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage, Pa. In recent years, the nearby mall has been underutilized, falling into disrepair. Now Hermitage officials and residents are hopeful for a sorely needed transformation to make the mall a “walkable city center with mixed uses and entertainment.” We share that hope.

ONION: To Turning Point Action, an organization planning rallies by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as part of Republican Senate hopeful J.D. Vance’s campaign, including one in the Mahoning Valley next Friday. After a Youngstown location was announced, it came to light that venue already had made clear to promoters that the location was unavailable that day. After scrambling for a day or two, the Metroplex Expo Center in Liberty was announced as the new location. This isn’t the only scheduling snafu for the group. Turning Point also canceled a DeSantis rally Sunday in New Mexico due to “scheduling conflicts,” and changed venues for a Pittsburgh rally next week, in addition to Youngstown’s rally. The mess only serves to confuse Vance and DeSantis supporters.

ORCHID: To the Austintown Little League 10U softball team, which took home the first state championship title for the township since 1980. Township trustees this week recognized the team, which beat Poland 14-2 in the state championship game July 27. Being in one of the younger age brackets, there is no regional tournament, so this state title marked the end of the season for Austintown. Next year, a significant portion of the team will move up to 12U, where they will have the opportunity to compete in regionals if they qualify.

ONION: To activists who react angrily with unreasonable dangerous and illegal acts, triggered by political issues. In Cincinnati this week, a gunman died in a shootout after trying to get inside the FBI office after it appears he posted social media calls to take up arms in the wake of the search at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home. Other officials have warned of increased threats against federal agents following Mar-a-Lago’s search. Indeed, the First Amendment guarantees a right to gather and protest. But violent and illegal actions are not an acceptable way to communicate displeasure.

ORCHID: To the Mahoning Valley Mobile Market, which stopped this week at the Austintown Senior Center, to provide opportunities to buy local, fresh foods. Mobile Market is a partnership between ACTION and Flying High, local groups focusing on social injustices and helping the needy. The services provided by Mobile Market have a big impact on senior citizens and those who need access to fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and other healthy foods. This is particularly important considering Youngstown previously was named a food desert with inadequate access to fresh, nutritious foods.


Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., which renovated, upgraded and ultimately saved a beautiful, 19th century historic home on Old Furnace Road next to Mill Creek Park. It’s the first home motorists see as they ascend the hill from nearby Pioneer Pavilion. The two-story Victorian home is now on the market. Without YNDC’s involvement, the historic home likely would have been lost. Now we hope it will be purchased as a residence by someone who will devote the needed love and care to preserve it well into the future.

ORCHID: To communities including Liberty, Austintown, Vienna and New Middletown, which this week celebrated National Night Out, intended to improve and enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement, while creating a sense of community. The “Nights Out” included family events, displays of first responder equipment and allowed residents and children to get to know local officers in a friendly atmosphere.

ONION: For ongoing violence in Youngstown that has reached at least 14 homicides already this year, including a man whose body was left in a trash bin on Youngstown’s East Side recently. Violence and homicide seem to remain a routine part of life for so many people here. The sadness of that fact is amplified further when a human being and his loved ones are so disrespected that his body is left to decompose as trash in a garbage can in the midsummer heat. Where does it ever end?

ORCHID: To St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital, one of the three large Mercy Health-affiliated health care centers in the Mahoning Valley, that this week marked its 15th anniversary. St. Elizabeth Boardman President Genie Aubel gave credit for the hospital’s success and care to the teams that work there. “We take great pride in having served our community for more than 100 years, including 15 at our location in Boardman,” the president said. Congratulations, and may the health care system experience many more years of good care and success in our region.

ORCHID: To the operators of felony drug courts in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, which are helping to steer some of those facing criminal prosecution on substance abuse-related charges into treatment. Many of these folks need that treatment — not incarceration — to get clean and become productive members of society. The programs are designed to help break away from addiction. Since inception, Mahoning County’s felony drug court has had 714 graduates and 548 who were terminated from it. Only 9 percent of the graduates returned to court facing drug charges, statistics show. Nationally, the recidivism rate is 30 percent.

ONION: To Joanna McCane of Youngstown, who stands accused as the vandal who caused more than $11,000 in damage to the historic Trumbull County Courthouse in November. After she was charged, she defied police and failed to show for court on an unrelated charge. Eventually, she was arrested and freed on bond, but then this week, once again, she failed to show for her court hearing. This is not a joke, and once local law enforcement captures her again, bond must be revoked, keeping her in jail and guaranteeing her court appearance to face these serious charges.



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