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BUSINESS UPDATES | Ashley Fox joins Houck Agency as content specialist

Also among today's business updates: Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County; Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; The Youngstown Foundation; Rotary Club of Youngstown; and AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

YOUNGSTOWN — Houck Agency, 25 E. Boardman St., has hired Ashley Fox as content specialist.

Fox’s role with Houck Agency will include copywriting, media relations and client service.

Fox previously worked at The Vindicator and Tribune Chronicle. Before that, she wrote for newspapers in Medina, Ohio, and Polson, Mont., the latter of which she also oversaw social media and assisted with copy editing. She also has marketing and management experience.

“Ashley’s writing, reporting and interviewing skills will transition well into the copywriting, content marketing and media relations work we do, which are not only our greatest strengths but the fastest-growing segments of our business,” Jim Houck, president, said in a news release.

Fox graduated from Chaney High School and obtained her bachelor’s degree in 2009 in telecommunications with a minor in journalism from Youngstown State University. 

“Working with Houck Agency will allow me to apply years of honed communication skills to best serve our clients,” Fox said. “It’s always been a goal to work in the city where I grew up, and being based downtown as Youngstown continues to transform is a dream come true.”

PLYMC names new board president and vice president

YOUNGSTOWN — Carole Weimer and Thomas Frost have been chosen as the new president and vice president, respectively, for the board of trustees of the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County

Weimer was vice president of the board and was elected president after David Ritchie, longtime board president, died July 9. Frost was elected to fill the vice president’s vacant seat. Weimer and Frost will fill the unexpired officer terms until January 2022, when an election will take place at the board’s annual meeting.   

“We will all miss Dr. Ritchie and the wonderful leadership that he provided to this organization,” Weimer said in a news release. “So it is with a heavy heart that I step into this role. As incoming board president, I am committed to helping the library continue the good work that it does in this community.” 

Weimer joined the board in 2015 and was elected vice president in 2018.

“It’s an honor to serve on this library board,” said Frost, who joined the board in 2011. “Taking on a leadership role following a person like Dr. Ritchie, and being elevated due to his death, is very humbling and somber. However, we will carry on.”  

Library Director and CEO Aimee Fifarek said Weimer and Frost “have served the board well during their tenure” and are “worthy successors to Dr. Ritchie’s legacy.”

Regional chamber, foundation launch new Lunch & Learn Series

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and The Youngstown Foundation are launching a new Lunch & Learn Series to provoke thought and community discussion on some of the most important topics for the Mahoning Valley.

“This series will provide an opportunity for the nonprofit industry and minority-owned businesses to share in the richness of the regional chamber’s networking and professional services,” Lynnette Forde, president of The Youngstown Foundation, said in a news release. “Nonprofit corporations play a critical role in the health and vibrancy of our community and thus deserve greater philanthropic attention and support.”

The monthly series will include topics that focus on public health, opportunities for minority business enterprises, the role of philanthropy in economic development and more.

The first program, “Arts & Culture: Driving Our Economy,” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 17 at the DeYor Performing Arts Center, 260 W. Federal St. A panel discussion will include

Angela Meleca, executive director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, and Dan Katona, deputy director of the Ohio Arts Council, among others, who will discuss the role arts and culture institutions play in — and the direct impact they have on — driving the state’s and Valley’s economies. 

The luncheon is open to the public, and the cost is $10 per person. To register, click here.

“It is important in every community for philanthropy and business to forge new relationships so that together we can increase economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for everyone,” Guy Coviello, president and CEO of the regional chamber, said.

For more information, contact Kim Calvert at or 330-744-2131, ext. 1235.

Regional Chamber Foundation director to speak at Rotary meeting

YOUNGSTOWN —  Mike McGiffin, the new director of the Regional Chamber Foundation, will speak at the Rotary Club of Youngstown luncheon meeting today at the Wick Park Pavilion, 260 Park Ave.

Lunch will begin at noon, and McGiffin’s presentation will begin at 12:30 p.m.

McGiffin, of Poland, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the foundation, which supports economic development projects in the Mahoning Valley.

McGiffin has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in education, both from Youngstown State University. He most recently was contracted by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit as project manager, guiding its OnRamp to Remote Learning initiative — the education agency’s response to the challenges and constraints that COVID-19 placed on its 42 school districts. He also was the chief strategy officer at Stambaugh Auditorium and director of Events and Special Projects for the city of Youngtown.

Gasoline prices increase 12 cents in Northeast Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN — The average price for gasoline across Northeast Ohio is 12 cents higher this week at $3.08 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

The average price for unleaded self-service gasoline in the Youngstown area is $3.04 per gallon.

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