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Your Morning Matters: Readers weigh in on Mahoning Matters

Some people can still contract the coronavirus after complete vaccination because their immune systems may not produce enough protective antibodies.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, and on Friday I asked you to drop me a line at and give me some feedback on important topics. Here’s a recap of the questions and some early, interesting reader responses.

What are the things that you value most about Mahoning Matters? In other words, what are the things that keep you coming back? 

• “What I value most is the local connection; I always check the byline to see who is responsible for the article. And I appreciate the link with WYSU; without hearing your name there I wouldn't have known about you!”

• “The weekend page is a plus for the area since people say there's nothing to do in Youngstown.”

• “ … also enjoy your columnists. Embarrassed to say I'd previously considered Attorney [David] Betras an ‘ambulance chaser,’ but I find his articles very well written and quite informative.”

What do you want to see more of?

• “A bit more ‘feet to the fire’ interviews or questions of area politicians. Don’t take the stock answer or ‘press release’ at face value.”

• “Trumbull County/Warren area news. We are Mahoning Valley too!”

• “Consider some more in-depth long-form pieces.”

We also asked:

• What are the things we should stop doing?

• If we could add one thing to Mahoning Matters that would guarantee that you’d become a member or financial supporter, what would that be?

What’s funny, is I bet I’ve heard that about Betras’ column dozens of times. I’m glad someone sent that along! If you haven’t weighed in yet, please do! I’ll share answers to those other two questions in a future newsletter. Keep those cards and letters — and emails — coming! Maybe you’ll see your comment here! 

Now, let’s go make today count!

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

Colin Powell, former secretary of state under President George W. Bush, died Monday morning from COVID-19 complications despite being fully vaccinated. Officials say some people can still contract the coronavirus after complete vaccination because their immune systems may not produce enough protective antibodies. 

Powell had been fighting multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that affects a specific type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infections. A study published in July found that among 103 patients with multiple myeloma, only 45% of people developed “an adequate response” to either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Reporter Katie Camero has the details.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 45,041,011 confirmed cases; 726,097 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 7 p.m. Oct. 18.
  • In Ohio: 1,499,485 confirmed or suspected cases; 23,327 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,513,332 confirmed cases; 30,523 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 30,315 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 22,550 in Trumbull; and 13,756 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 35,258.61, down 36.15 points, or 0.10%.

Other matters

Trumbull County Combined Health District will administer COVID-19 vaccines three times this week at Eastwood Mall. Mahoning Matters

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Monday announced the state's new Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership Grant application, as well as new 5G Readiness Programs at Youngstown State University. Mahoning Matters

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn unveiled three new electric vehicles Monday: A luxury sedan, an SUV and an urban bus. Mahoning Matters

Ohio Democrats again have introduced legislation that would give universal health care to Ohioans, despite failing with the effort over the past decade. Mahoning Matters

Youngstown Director of Public Works Chuck Shasho says the closed portion of Phelps Street from West Commerce Street down to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre should be reopened to traffic by early December. WFMJ

Mayweather Boxing & Fitness gym is under construction at the Southern Park Mall. Floyd Mayweather launched the gym franchise in 2018 in California, and more than 100 franchises are currently in development. WFMJ

Eric Gelsomino, co-owner of Niles Sparkle Market, died Friday in Boardman from complications from COVID-19. WKBN

Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and the Oak Hill Collaborative have combined resources to help promote the federal reimbursement Emergency Broadband Benefit program to Warren area residents. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Nearly a year after establishing J Jeneé Spa & Wellness inside Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge in Boardman, owner Jasmine Hampton will celebrate a relocation to Excalibur’s newest location in Girard with a grand opening Oct. 25. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Event of the day

Youngstown State University’s Department of Visual & Dramatic Arts will present an informal virtual lecture by painter Sarah Awad at noon. The free lecture can be accessed here.

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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Let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful for you. Send your ideas and thoughts to If you want to get this in your email inbox, sign up here.

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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