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Your Morning Matters: On the air with Bertram

Lordstown Motors executives rallied investors Tuesday after confirming the company has “firm orders” for about 15,000 units of its Endurance truck.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Wednesday, June 16, 2021, and the last time I saw Bertram de Souza in person was Aug. 30, 2019, after we exited The Vindicator for a final staff get together at The Draught House. We’ve had a virtual conversation and a phone call or two since, but that’s it mostly because, as Bertram warned me as The Vindicator was shutting down, he does not have friends; he has acquaintances.

So it was fun to be one of his acquaintances chosen for his Scribbler Publishing Group podcast for Part 2 of his series “Is Legitimate Journalism at Risk?” And it was great seeing Robert McFerren, the award-winning graphic art design genius of the old Vindy who I'm privileged to count among my smartest friends. The hour was quick, and you can see it right here. We covered a lot of fertile ground that was laid the previous week when the guest was Martin Baron, the recently retired editor of the Washington Post.

One of the topics has been on my mind for a while: The “tribalization”of news. “ … We are fighting uphill right now against a notion that something is correct because A.) I can think it, and B.) someone put it somewhere on the internet and it supports my widely held beliefs,” I said.

Previously, I have taken co-credit for promoting the term “smugnorance,” for those on social media who proudly state absolutely false things that can be easily researched (you often see them on TikTok). Lately I am focused on “truth fetishists.” These are bias confirmation junkies who so NEED to be right that they will latch onto ANY scintilla of factoid from any source to “prove” their stance. Hence, Uncle Al’s memory of what he was told by a neighbor who read something on Facebook becomes equal to a reporter’s hours of research or a scientist’s quarter of a century of study. 

Truth doesn’t become truth by the sheer force of will. It’s not like clapping for Tinker Bell. Something becomes true by being researched and proven.

Don’t forget: I am giving away two pairs of tickets to the Rotary Club of Youngstown's third annual Groundhog Craft Beerfest from 5 to 9 p.m. July 10. Just email me a 50-word or less theme telling me why your Dad among all dads is the most deserving of dads. Please note in the email header that this is an entry for “Why My Dad Matters.”  Entries are due by noon Thursday.

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

And what a difference a day makes: Lordstown Motors executives rallied investors Tuesday after confirming the company has “firm orders” for about 15,000 units of its all-electric Endurance pickup truck. 

Executives met the press during an hourlong panel with the Automotive Press Association — joined by reporter Justin Dennis, representing the Valley. From the impact on RIDE's stock price to production details to the new price of the all-electric truck, Justin has all of the details today.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 33,485,549 confirmed cases; 600,263 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 9 p.m. June 15.
  • In Ohio: 1,107,521 confirmed or suspected cases; the new adjusted COVID-19 death total is 20,122.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,209,136 confirmed cases; 27,514 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 22,340 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 16,529 in Trumbull; and 9,026 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,299.33, down 94.42 points, or 0.27 percent.

Other matters

The Valley titans of industry featured in today's Business Updates include 898 Marketing, Youngstown State University, Warren Area Chamber of Commerce Education, Civic & Cultural Foundation and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. Mahoning Matters

The Ohio House Transportation and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday passed House Bill 330, legislation to designate a bridge along state Route 46 in Mahoning County as the Air Force 2nd Lt. William Vaughan Memorial Bridge. Mahoning Matters

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new tool to help some qualified families register to receive the up to $3,600-per-child tax credits that are set to start going out July 15. Here's what to know about the tool, including how it works and who should use it. Mahoning Matters 

Infrastructure projects are underway this week in Boardman to improve stormwater management. The work is being completed through the ABC Water and Stormwater District. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Salem Police Department posted to its Facebook page Tuesday that it has received reports of a black bear in the area of East Sixth Street behind First Christian Church. WFMJ

Crews were out Tuesday repaving Mahoning Avenue from Meridian Road to the Meander Reservoir as part of a $5 million project. WKBN

In case you missed it

Local musician John Sferra is looking for a new kidney on Facebook. His fiancee, Heidi Dietz, got the idea to start an online group from friends who used the social media site to find an organ donor. Reporter Ellen Wagner checks in on the legendary Valley rocker. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Another ‘culture war’ issue.”

Doug Sewell, on GOP legislation that would prohibit Ohio employers from requiring employees to receive vaccinations. 

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 Austintown Farmers’ Market will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at Austintown Township Park, 6000 Kirk Road. Patrons can enjoy a variety of items available from a multitude of vendors, including fresh produce, baked goods, soaps and other personal care items and handmade crafts. For more information, call 330-349-2503 or email

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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