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Your Morning Matters: A more perfect union

The last official weekend of summer 2021 will feature much to do throughout the Valley.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, and on this day in 1787, a group of patriots gathered in Philadelphia to sign the U.S. Constitution. Thus, Constitution Day was born.

You hear "the Constitution" bandied about these days, as well as "patriot." The amazing thing is that, of course, the perfect and imperfect alike have used the terms as both a shield and sword over the past couple of hundred years. And no one knew the limits of perfection better than founding father, and imperfect human, Benjamin Franklin. He was 81 at the time of the signing and wrote a speech to be used as a motion for the delegates to begin the signing. Too frail to read it, he asked James Wilson to do the honors. The words were perfect.

“I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them,” Franklin had written. “I doubt too whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better constitution. For when you assemble a number of men to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?” 

Such perfect wisdom. With that, 38 of the 41 men signed the document declaring, "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Three men did not sign: Elbridge Gerry, George Mason and Edmund Randolph. Gerry and Mason didn't sign because the Constitution did not contain a Bill of Rights. That would come two years later. Randolph argued the final document did not contain enough checks and balances. That debate continues today as new generations seek their own “more perfect union.” Let us at least embrace Franklin’s wisdom and admit that while we may not approve of certain concepts now, that does not mean we won’t evolve and approve of them later. 

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back here Monday!

Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

The last official weekend of summer 2021 will feature much to do throughout the Valley. From Judas Priest celebrating 50 years of heavy metal at the Covelli Centre on Friday to Justin Hayward performing Saturday at Robins Theatre to Silly Science at OH WOW! on Sunday — there is a plethora of excitement in this week's edition of Weekend Matters.

And don't forget, whenever you are out and about and you want to find out what's happening right now, our now-legendary events calendar has all of the details from swap meets to bulb sales to car shows.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 41,782,147 confirmed cases; 669,988 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 9 p.m. Sept. 16.
  • In Ohio: 1,327,614 confirmed or suspected cases; 21,265 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,365,049 confirmed cases; 28,768 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 26,145 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 19,165 in Trumbull; and 11,164 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,751.32, down 63.07 points, or 0.18%.

Other matters

Inspired by attending Monday's Mahoning County “Opening of Court” ceremony, attorney David Betras shares some history of his career and his law firm as he declares, "I am, to the very core of my being, an attorney." Mahoning Matters

Among the Valley entities in the spotlight in today's Business Updates are the Mahoning County Bar Association, CASTLO Community Improvement Corporation and Natalie Rink Makeup & Skincare. Mahoning Matters

Unvaccinated Americans who become hospitalized are costing the U.S health care system billions of dollars, according to a new report. The actual amount may shock you. Mahoning Matters

South Range Local School District is now mandating that students and staff must wear masks when in groups that are closer than the recommended 3-foot minimum distance. WFMJ

State troopers say they’re seeing a dangerous and deadly trend in Trumbull County — too many drivers and passengers are impaired and not buckled up. WKBN

Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries has hiring events today and Saturday as it looks to add 40 employees. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said he plans to provide options related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and avoid the passage of $1,000 bonuses to city employees for getting vaccinated at the next City Council meeting Oct. 6. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

COVID-19 and the flu — both illnesses that attack the respiratory system but are caused by different viruses — are expected to spread simultaneously beginning this fall. How do symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu compare? We have some answers. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“I’m happy with the Valley’s districts. Can’t say the same for the others.”

David Helmick, on the Ohio Redistricting Commission approving new district boundaries purely along party lines.

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

Event of the day

Heavy metal band Judas Priest will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Covelli Centre, 229 E. Front St., Youngstown. Tickets, ranging in price from $48.75 to $102.75 plus fees, can be purchased at and the Southwoods Health Box Office inside the Covelli Centre.

To see what else is going on around the Mahoning Valley, check out Mahoning Matters’ event calendar here, or click the Events tab on the top menu at

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Mark Sweetwood

About the Author: Mark Sweetwood

Mark Sweetwood has spent 39 years working in the local news business. For more than a decade, he served as managing editor of The Vindicator. He also teaches journalism at YSU.
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