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Your Morning Matters: It's a long way down the Holiday Road

Health officials and pediatricians speaking to reporters Wednesday reiterated the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for students and their parents.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, July 22, 2021, and one of my last official acts Wednesday was to put the finishing touches on my last Morning Matters newsletter intro for a while.

Yes, the wife and I are taking some vacation time. Of course, we planned this in March anticipating life would return to normal by July, what with this COVID-19 vaccine that we were sure everyone would line up for, just as we did. But, in recent weeks, it has gotten scarier and scarier to visit parts unknown. What happens next? Who knows? 

But we do know that, like many of you, we need a freakin’ break. We live amid two crazy, nonstop worlds: retail and digital media. Other than a few days in a cabin last summer, we have not taken extended time off together in two years. And even if it means merely not thinking about much, staring off into space, perhaps some recreational reading (John Grisham is my vacation go-to) and not being required to do anything other than what we want to do, when we want to do it and where we want to do it for a week or so, then, by jove, that’s what we’ll  do. 

Even if that means doing nothing.

Meanwhile, the team at Mahoning Matters led by McClatchy big cheese Eric Nelson and Assistant Editor Jeremy Harper will hold down the fort here for the duration. Reporters Justin Dennis and Jess Hardin will handle the Morning Matters newsletter intros. They will be aided by reporter Ellen Wagner — who is leaving our team at the end of the month, and we are sorry to see her go. (Looking for reporting work? Drop me a line!) 

I hope everyone enjoys these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Be safe and stay well. And let’s be particularly careful out there.

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

With the 2021-22 school year drawing near, state health officials and pediatricians speaking to reporters Wednesday reiterated the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine for students and their parents.

Though Akron Children’s Hospital isn’t seeing an increase in COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations at its campuses in Akron and Boardman, more infections are now being seen in elementary-age kids, said Dr. Robert McGregor, Akron Children’s chief medical officer.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 34,222,360 confirmed cases; 609,839 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. July 21.
  • In Ohio: 1,119,298 confirmed or suspected cases; 20,449 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,217,857 confirmed cases; 27,813 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 22,644 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 16,727 in Trumbull; and 9,165 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,798.00, up 286.01 points, or 0.83%.

Other matters

City officials, the Youngstown Police Department and the Stop the Violence campaign continue to focus on efforts to reduce violence — even as violence continues to claim new victims. Mahoning Matters

Among the newsmakers featured in today's Business Updates are State Farm Insurance, Alta Care Group, the PNC Foundation and the TechCred program. Mahoning Matters

Before the pandemic, there were about 140 million orphaned children globally. Now, an additional 1.5 million kids have lost their parents, grandparents or other caregivers to COVID-19, a new study estimates. Mahoning Matters

The state-appointed commission overseeing the Niles City School District has recommended releasing the district from fiscal emergency. WKBN

Poland Township has unveiled plans for its 225th anniversary celebration scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Poland Township Park. WFMJ

Eastgate Regional Council of Governments has asked for a $3.9 million federal grant to pay for phase 1 of a proposed project that would transform parts of North Jackson and Lordstown into a smart logistics corridor. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

The list of shareholder lawsuits filed against electric-vehicle manufacturer Lordstown Motors Corp. and its current or former executives continues to grow. The Business Journal

In case you missed it

Opera Western Reserve is seeking local actors for its production of “Romeo + Juliet.” The reimagined production will combine text from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and orchestral and vocal music from Charles Gounod's “Roméo et Juliette” opera. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Hire more cops.”

Linda Mountford, on Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Youngstown Police Department Chief Carl Davis’ update on recent gun violence in the city. 

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

The Mahoning Valley Scrappers will take on the State College Spikes at 7:05 p.m. at Eastwood Field, 111 Eastwood Mall Blvd., Niles. The Scrappers will change their name and wear specialty Peppers in Oil jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game, with proceeds going to the United Way of Trumbull County. Bobbleheads of Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will be given to the first 1,000 fans. It's also Buck Night, with general admission tickets, hot dogs and drinks costing $1. Tickets are on sale here and at the Chevy All Stars Box Office.

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 37 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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