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Your Morning Matters: How will history tell our story?

Reporter Justin Dennis has a recap of the past week in COVID-19 news.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, and the global pandemic is likely to be the basis of books and movies for a generation. So much to unpack. So much to tell. So much to learn.

I came across this: "... America was in the grip of the most fearful epidemic it had ever witnessed. The dread [outbreak] that had ravaged the belligerent countries ... reached American shores. ... Pleasures were abandoned — even the most ordinary social amenities were almost foregone. Schools, social gathering places, theaters, even churches for the first time in our history, were closed ... and burials became a dread routine with witnesses to the ceremonies limited in each instance to the immediate family."

What a grime picture that paints. And all of us witnessed much, if not all of those circumstances. More: "Fighting this dread disease was a Herculean work in which not only doctors, nurses and hospital authorities but clergymen, teachers, housewives and boys and girls helped. ... Large industrial companies in the Mahoning Valley expended many thousands of dollars in providing hospitals and medical attendance for their employees."

You probably could guess from the language, that this is NOT the telling of our recent history. This is from "History of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, Volume 1" by Joseph Green Butler that was published in 1921 discussing the 1918-1919 outbreak of the influenza epidemic.

This line caught my eye: "In meeting the influenza epidemic, Youngstown gave an almost unparalleled example of its ability to meet an emergency." And I thought to myself, "One hundred years from now, how will people look back at what WE did during the COVID-19 pandemic?" Did we meet the emergency? Did we run from it? Did we help and care for others? Or were we solely focused on ourselves?

We can say or think or do whatever we want, but in the end, we won't write our own story. History will have the final word. We can only influence history. So what have you done so that others can write about our own "Herculean" efforts to meet the emergency?

If the answer is, "Not much!" might I suggest we make today count!

Here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

Gov. Mike DeWine last week unveiled a new coronavirus vaccine lottery aimed at Ohioans age 12 to 25, more than half of whom have not yet gotten the shot. But it remains to be seen whether the new “Vax-2-School” initiative will have a lasting impact.

DeWine last week credited the state’s previous “Vax-a-Million” lottery, announced in mid-May, with starting about 130,000 new vaccinations in the state. But by the time the last winner was drawn in late June, the state’s vaccination rate was nearing its all-time low. Reporter Justin Dennis has a recap of the past week in COVID-19 news.

Other matters

What's in a name? From Oscar Mayer to Dr. Pepper to Mr. Clean, there are a lot of famous names hanging around Liz Dreier's household. She shares "Who’s living in my pantry?" this week. Mahoning Matters

Among the Valley entities featured in today's Business Updates are Kravitz Deli, Dearing Compressor and Pump Co., Boardman Steel and Next Level Fitness Academy. Mahoning Matters

Hydrogen peroxide might have been a hallmark of childhood injuries, but is it effective in treating COVID-19, like some social media posts claim? We fact-check this flawed belief. Mahoning Matters

Mill Creek MetroParks’ effort to use eminent domain to acquire land for a bike and hike trail has led to many filings involving the property of Michael and Barbara Cameron. The MetroParks paid for an appraisal that indicated the fair market value of the land is $37,650; the appraisal the Camerons paid for values the land at $249,080. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Students and staff at West Branch Local Schools will be masking up again today after 34 cases of COVID-19 among the student body have been confirmed. WKBN

Niles Troop 31 is celebrating 100 years of serving the Niles community. The troop completed 300 hours of community service and has had 76 scouts move on to the Eagle Scouts. WFMJ

Shares of Lordstown Motors Corp. have climbed more than 37% over the past 30 days, as the electric vehicle manufacturer prepares the limited launch of its Endurance pickup truck. The company's stock closed at $7.57 on Friday, up 1.8%. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Movers and Makers

Don Ritenour, owner of YoFresh, aims to provide fresh, quality food to the Mahoning Valley through a meal subscription and delivery service emphasizing an “eat good, feel good, do good” mission through community outreach and collaboration. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“What does it matter when you have a lifetime appointment?”

Randy Smearman, on a Gallup poll that found that approval of the job the U.S. Supreme Court is doing reached a new low while disapproval reached a new high.

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

Shock rocker Alice Cooper and former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley will perform at 7:30 p.m. at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, 201 S. Phelps St., Youngstown. Tickets, ranging in price from $39.50 to $125 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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