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If proposed academic changes at YSU are implemented, the gerontology program could be on its way out — despite the Valley’s quickly aging populace.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Tuesday, July 20, 2021, and a reader reached out the other day to say, “Wow! I’m really digging the [Weekend Matters] newsletter! Very well organized and very compact and up-to-date. And I never realized you even had an events calendar until you started mentioning it! Keep up the good work!”

Thank you! This week will mark the fourth Weekend Matters newsletter that we now publish every Thursday, thanks to our partners at the Covelli Centre. The corporate types continue to be amazed at the sign-ups and our email open rate. We all subscribe to newsletters and we all try our best to read every one of them. So far, about two-thirds of you are opening Weekend Matters almost as soon as it hits your inbox, and we really appreciate the support.

And our awesome calendar of events listing — originally launched and then crashed right as the pandemic hit, hence its former invisible nature — is now available whenever you are on the go. 

Are you missing out on all of the Weekend Matters fun? Why not do what all the cool kids are doing and click here to sign up. And then, like the reader above, send me some feedback at Any features you’d like to see? Are we missing any entertainment news? And I still am holding out on finding some entertainment-oriented writers to add to the mix, so let me know!

And let’s make today count.

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

Before landing a job at Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, Cassandra Valentini, the agency’s community liaison, interned at the nonprofit, which provides services to older people and people with disabilities in the Valley. Valentini was a student in Youngstown State University’s undergraduate gerontology program, a four-year degree focused on the study of aging. 

But if proposed academic changes at YSU are implemented, the gerontology program could be on its way out — despite the Mahoning Valley’s quickly aging populace. Reporter Jess Hardin has the details.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 34,129,328 confirmed cases; 609,227 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 9 p.m. July 19.
  • In Ohio: 1,117,769 confirmed or suspected cases; 20,437 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,215,767 confirmed cases; 27,786 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 22,621 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 16,713 in Trumbull; and 9,152 in Columbiana. 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 33,962.04, down 725.81 points, or 2.09%.

Other matters

Mahoning County officials on Monday heard input on a new quarter-percent sales tax to fund $45 million in new road work that could go up for a Nov. 2 vote. Reporter Justin Dennis shares their master plan for paving projects touching every corner of the county. Mahoning Matters

The Butler Institute of American Art opened its 85th National Midyear Exhibition with a public artist reception and awards presentation Sunday. And the winners are ... Mahoning Matters

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday recommended “universal masking” during the 2021-22 school year. Mahoning Matters

Ultium Cells LLC, which is building a plant in Lordstown to manufacture batteries to power electric vehicles, has partnered with state wildlife officials to restore 172 acres of land in a Trumbull County wildlife refuge. WFMJ

A Mahoning County judge has removed Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa from a murder case amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct made by a defense attorney. WFMJ

Knot Just Hair Salon in Austintown is under new ownership. After the previous owners retired, stylist George Wheaton decided to buy the salon. WKBN

Bill Bohren, 87, hired to helm the Mathews High School Mustangs, "has more energy than any coach and any player in this room,” Kevin Haynie, the team’s offensive coordinator, said. The Business Journal

Without much fanfare, the last meeting of the Trumbull County Transit Board took place Thursday, putting a final end to the old way the county handled public transit. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Difference Makers

DIVA Donations provides gently used formal dresses, like prom and bridal, to teens and women of the Mahoning Valley through community donations. Owner Kristin Bodendorfer describes the operation as “the first formal clothing closet in Mahoning County.” Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by America's Wholesale Outlet.

In case you missed it

For five years, Orange Avocado Juicery has offered vegan and gluten-free juice, smoothies and grab-and-go foods. The eatery at 1393 Boardman-Canfield Road is most known for a rotating menu of organic fresh-pressed juices made daily and for its juice cleanses. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“Why can't we get things done here? What is the problem?”

Leanne Turner, on Lordstown Motors Corp., under scrutiny over the number of orders it claimed it had for the electric trucks it wants to produce, acknowledging it received two subpoenas from federal regulators and that prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation.

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 Beach Boys will perform at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, 201 S. Phelps St., at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at and the Southwoods Health Box Office inside Covelli Centre. VIP packages are available at and

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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