Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Canfield Village Middle School, South Range Elementary School and Seaborn Elementary School in Mineral Ridge, which were chosen among 13 schools in Ohio as Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation is based on overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Every year the U.S. Department of Education celebrates great schools, demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels. We are proud to see three of the recognized schools are located in our Valley.
ONION: To the person whose loose dog recently attacked a postal carrier on Auburndale Avenue, Youngstown, leading to suspension of mail delivery to that home and other residents in the area until the matter is corrected. A U.S. Postal Service official said it is working with the dog’s owner, and delivery will resume “when it is safe for the letter carrier.” Neighbors in the area are right to be angry with the dog’s owner for this disruption. To put it succinctly, keep your dogs restrained.
ORCHID: To Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana, or OCCHA, celebrating 50 years of service in the Mahoning Valley. Early on, OCCHA largely addressed issues and problems faced by area Latino families. Today, the organization focuses on programs and services aimed at improving the quality of economic, cultural, social and educational life for Latino people and others in multicultural communities, including things like English as a Second Language classes, food and clothing programs for needy, and other important assistance programs.
ONION: To whoever was responsible for Tuesday’s bomb threat at Poland Seminary High School that triggered evacuation and lockdown during a police search of the building. It was described by school officials as a “major disruption.” A 13-year-old boy has been charged and is being detained. The good news is the evacuation and sweep of the school was done swiftly and according to plan.
ORCHID: To organizers, volunteers and participants in the Down Syndrome Association of the Valley’s 15th annual Buddy Walk Sunday at Eastwood Field. At least 1,800 people making up some 80 teams participated in the fundraiser walk that generated an incredible $139,074 — well beyond the $125,000 goal.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Poland Township officials for taking steps that soon will enable trustees meetings to be streamed for residents to watch at their leisure. With the new streaming capabilities, Poland Township will join several other local governments that regularly stream meetings, including Struthers City Council, Canfield City Council and Mahoning County commissioners. We applaud all communities that have taken these steps in an effort to create better openness and transparency in local government.
ORCHID: To local funeral home director Dan Becker and his family for making a generous $1 million donation to Youngstown State University to establish the Daniel H. Becker Family Scholarship. The gift also will be recognized with the family’s name now attached to a beautiful and popular fountain and commons area on YSU’s campus.
l ONION: To Mahoning County Engineer Patrick Ginnetti who failed to attend a Boardman Township trustees meeting this week when more than 100 people voiced their anger about ongoing flooding issues. Township trustees and representatives from the ABC Water and Storm District were on hand to listen and try to answer questions; Ginnetti was not. One official told residents Boardman has no hand in replacing sanitary pipes and fixing problems in the sanitary sewer system because it is owned by the county. As county sanitary engineer, Ginnetti should have been there.
ORCHID: To all the organizations and communities, including Austintown, Vienna and others, that hosted 9/11 remembrance events and ceremonies last weekend. It is important that we always honor the lives lost, particularly of so many heroes, and never forget that horrible day.
ORCHID: To Youngstown Catholic Diocese Bishop David Bonnar for his participation in a conference in Rome that will allow him the rare honor of celebrating Mass with Pope Francis on Monday at St. Peter’s Basilica. Undoubtedly, the experience will be uplifting for the bishop, and we are certain he will return home to our Valley to share his experiences and the joyous message that he will receive.
ORCHID: To negotiators on both sides of the table who worked around the clock this week to hammer out a tentative contract and avert a planned walkout of rail workers that could have triggered a dire effect on America’s already fragile supply chain. Now, we encourage union members to ratify the pact, delivering continued predictability for Ohio farmers and manufacturers that need to rely on delivery. The strike could have had a drastic effect on our economy that still is recovering from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orchids and onions
ONION: To Mahoning County Treasurer Dan Yemma, whose county office was found in a recent state audit to be noncompliant on reconciliation of financial records. Now, taxpayers are footing a $71,250 bill for a private accounting firm to review the county books, pinpoint the problems, correct them and prevent it from happening again.
ORCHID: To organizers and participants in the 16th annual Patriots Day celebration hosted this week at an Austintown business where 13 veterans from Trumbull and Mahoning counties and a few from outside the region were honored for their service and sacrifice. Organizer and Marine veteran Ken Jakubec said he plans the event because “these stories need to be told.” We agree.
ONION: To Canfield City Council for declining to accept immediately the voluntary resignation of city Manager Wade Calhoun, who was under investigation for city code of conduct violations. Instead council made an unorthodox and, frankly, ridiculous decision to keep Calhoun on paid administrative leave for more than a month until Oct. 23, so they could call on his expertise and knowledge if needed during the transition. So, in the meantime, taxpayers will pay Calhoun’s salary of more than $110,000 per year, while he remains on leave out of the office.
ORCHID: To local law enforcement and drug task forces that sought and were rewarded with funds from the state to help in their fight to disrupt the drug trade and promote substance-abuse awareness, prevention and recovery. The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and the TAG Drug Task Force each has been awarded $20,000 and Columbiana County Drug Task Force was awarded more than $31,000. Almost $2.3 million is being distributed statewide.
ONION: To Mahoning County criminal defendant Clarence Williams and Mahoning County court officials who apparently fell short in ensuring Williams was not at a crime scene during a planned visit there by a jury hearing his case. Jurors traveled this week to the Southern Boulevard crime scene where some spotted the defendant, who was at the scene. As a result, the case was declared a mistrial, wasting everyone’s time, tax dollars and, worst of all, delaying justice. Common Pleas Judge Anthony D’Apolito immediately accepted responsibility, acknowledging it’s the court’s duty to keep defendants away during jury views.
Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To all the organizers — especially Covelli Enterprises — along with the many donors, volunteers and, of course, the 10,000 participants for this year’s Panerathon last Sunday in downtown Youngstown. Since its inception, the event has raised an incredible $3.5 million, including roughly $467,000 this year. Funds all stay local and are used to benefit the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley, in support of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center in St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.
ORCHID: To Youngstown State University Police Department for scheduling three active shooter training sessions, on Sept. 7, Oct. 5 and Nov. 9 in Kilcawley Center during the fall semester to better prepare students, faculty and staff for potentially life-threatening situations. It’s sad that we must host these types of trainings, but that is our reality. YSU’s proactive efforts are correct and admirable.
ONION: To car thieves who apparently are devoting extra time and efforts to their crimes in the city. Youngstown Police Department said motor vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles in the city and in nearby jurisdictions are on the rise. The thefts especially have been affecting late-model Hyundais and Kias. Onion also to those who post irresponsible videos on social media showing how to start the car quickly without a key. Don’t be a victim! Lock your car and don’t leave spare keys, money or other ID in the vehicle, police say.
ORCHID: To Youngstown State University graduate and Poland native Sara O’Kane, 26, who is involved in an effort to build a bridge in Rwanda. The bridge will benefit 1,900 residents of the Cyarera village that navigate the dangerous, sometimes deadly, Mwogo River. O’Kane is among five people representing Houston construction company Traylor Bros. Inc., where she works as a civil engineer. Bravo for her education, skills and dedication to solving serious problems around the world.
ORCHID: To Eric D. Garrett Sr., founder and director at Beyond Expectations Barber College in Youngstown, for understanding that barber shops often are the epicenter of political discussion in a community, and using that to inspire “Styling for Democracy,” which encourages businesses to register people to vote and help recruit poll workers. Secretary of State Frank LaRose visited the barber college this week to help promote the program.
ORCHID: To the Youngstown Foundation and Kusalaba Family fund, for donating $1 million to the Canfield Fair Board this week to underwrite Phase 2 of the new Junior Fair event center. Bravo also goes to the fair board for asking for needed financial help. The funds will help pay for construction of additional space to the west end of the facility, including offices and restrooms.