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Your Morning Matters: Feeling grateful? You should!

Those in need of a Thanksgiving meal this week are finding support from dining halls to the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters — with “Editor Emeritus” Mark Sweetwood.

It’s Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, and as this is our last Morning Matters newsletter until Monday, this is a good opportunity to discuss gratitude. And, for the second consecutive Thanksgiving during a worldwide pandemic, being grateful seems like a lost art.

What's the point? We're more divided than ever. We’re subjected to acts of violence and evil every day on the news. We all yearn for a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving as we had in 2019 without masks, tests, shots and pangs of guilt for brief, carefree moments of human interaction. The pandemic has interrupted our supply chains, led former service employees into new jobs and sent prices aloft as inflation is the new taxation.

And we should be grateful, why?

Well, for one, our friends at One Medical tell us that gratitude is actually good for us: "Research shows grateful people are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner, experiencing more sensitivity and empathy toward others and a decreased desire to seek revenge. And in times of uncertainty or suffering, gratitude can be the thing to get you through to the other side, reminding you that there is good in the world, even when things seem hopeless," Michelle Konstantinovsky writes in a column.

Michelle also quotes studies that linked gratitude to marriage success, higher GPAs, better sleep, fewer chances of sudden death due to congestive heart failure and even lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans. Suddenly that whole gratitude thing sounds pretty amazing. Where do I sign up?

We've all experienced low moments in the past two years. But if you are reading this, and I'm still writing this, guess what? We survived. Pause. Deep breath. We survived. And we all know people who did not survive. And no matter the odd circumstances or new rituals — say, proof of vaccination to join Aunt Minnie's Thanksgiving — we have the opportunity to enjoy what we've got and to be grateful.

I'm grateful for my wife, my family, my friends and all of you. I could NOT have predicted the course my life would take two years ago, but here I am, and here you are. So many of you have taken the step to support Mahoning Matters and its journalistic mission. That completely fills me with gratitude. And I’d be more grateful if you kept us in mind next week during Giving Tuesday.

So, I hope your Thanksgiving is special and truly allows you the chance to pause and give thanks. We are thankful to take a couple of mornings off, and I'll see you back here Monday.

And here are more of the things you need to know about what's happening in the Mahoning Valley:

Those in need of a Thanksgiving meal this week are finding support from dining halls to the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office.

The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley, St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall and the Warren Family Mission are sources of free Thanksgiving dinners for residents. Meanwhile, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Senior Services program, in coordination with the Austintown Senior Center, will provide a Thanksgiving dinner to referred senior citizens. We have the details.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 47,974,891 confirmed cases; 773,581 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. Nov. 23.
  • In Ohio: 1,653,380 confirmed or suspected cases; 26,190 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,696,959 confirmed cases; 33,003 deaths.    
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 34,264 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 25,846 in Trumbull; and 16,107 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 35,813.80, up 194.55 points, or 0.55%.

Other matters

This week in her "An Exclusive Table" column, Eartha Hopkins says it is time to recenter the historical focus on Thanksgiving: "As we continue to push for a more honest accounting of the history of the United States, many have found it increasingly difficult to engage in traditions that boil down to a celebration of the colonization that ultimately had such a profound impact on people of color." Mahoning Matters

Among the Valley entities featured in today's Business Updates are the Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board, Fusillo Catering Inc., Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley, Ohio to Work and the Youngstown Business Incubator. Mahoning Matters

Businesses are encouraged to donate stickers, individually wrapped candles and other items to support Trumbull Career and Technical Center's Holiday Express drive-thru event Dec. 16. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Janet Muntean, chief financial officer and Poland Local School District treasurer, said the district’s five-year forecast shows the district being on track toward its financial goals despite the pandemic. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

The Ohio Controlling Board announced Monday it has approved more than $1 million for dam improvements at the Highlandtown Wildlife Area in Columbiana County. WFMJ

She didn't love those biscuits at Popeye's: A West Myrtle Avenue woman was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and criminal damaging after she was accused of attacking an employee at the South Side eatery. WKBN

Marla Mae Harvey, a Brookfield native, was featured on Food Network’s “Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown.” WKBN

In case you missed it

A 2020 survey found that 78% of people wash or rinse their turkey in an effort to clean it before cooking. This is a major mistake, experts say. Mahoning Matters

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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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