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Your Morning Matters: Wanted: lonely dog owners

Reporter Justin Dennis takes a deep look at the state's worsening COVID-19 crisis.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, and the Mahoning County Dog Pound told 27 WKBN-TV the number of dogs it has taken in the past few weeks has tripled. Right now, the pound has about 40 dogs up for adoption.

To view the dogs, go here. After a quick look at the site, my favorites are Bailey, Samuel and McGuire. Their pictures are awesome.

Bailey is described as a young female pit bull terrier mix who is “friendly, playful, funny.” Samuel looks to have a lot of character and is described as a young male “shepherd and whippet mix." The staff says, “We are baffled by what breed he is! So unique! Fearful of strangers. Dog friendly." McGuire is a young male black, white and cream Labrador retriever mix who is a large dog and described as "friendly, affectionate, playful, loves kisses."

There’s been a lot of human pain in the past 18 months. Nothing helps ease that misery more than a pet. My cats probably don’t remember spending lazy days alone while we were both at work. Now they know they can just jump in my lap at any time of the day if they need their ears scratched or a hug. It helps me, too, unless I’m in a meeting.

According to Dog Warden Dianne Fry’s website, kennel hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. For information, you can call 330-740-2205 or email her at

Let's make today count!

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

On Monday night, all the emergency departments in Lucas County stopped taking patients from EMS teams for more than eight hours — the first time that’s happened in decades, said Paula Grieb, chief nursing officer at ProMedia Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital in Toledo. Nearly all of the hospital’s locations are “being overrun” by sick children, many of whom have contracted COVID-19, she said.

Neutered by the state legislature by Senate Bill 22, Gov. Mike DeWine complained, “If I could put on a statewide mandate, if the health department could do it, we would do it. What the legislature has made clear: If we put up a statewide mandate, they could take it off." Reporter Justin Dennis takes a deep look at the state's worsening crisis.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 41,351,744 confirmed cases; 663,884 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. Sept. 14.
  • In Ohio: 1,311,518 confirmed or suspected cases; 21,265 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,354,451 confirmed cases; 28,651 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 25,848 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 19,093 in Trumbull; and 11,032 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,577.57, down 292.06 points, or 0.84%.

Other matters

Among the industry icons featured in today's Business Updates are the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition, Jewish Family Services and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Mahoning-Shenango. Mahoning Matters

Mahoning County Public Health will provide COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday at its main office. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. Mahoning Matters

Nearly 60% of Americans surveyed in a poll support President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccine requirements. The poll found 58% of respondents support Biden’s plan to require many employers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or weekly testing; 27% “strongly oppose” it. Mahoning Matters

Struthers school officials announced Monday that after reviewing case reports and CDC recommendations, it would make masks mandatory for students and staff. WFMJ

State Rep. Mike Loychik said he was removed from the Lakeview school board meeting for not wearing a mask. He said he was there to talk about making masks optional and was escorted out by the school resource officer. WKBN

Hunt Valve has been acquired by Fairbanks Morse Defense, marking the second time in six years that the Salem company has changed hands. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Mandating COVID-19 vaccination for Youngstown city employees is one plan the administration is studying, while a proposal to pay $1,000 bonuses for getting the shot won't see a vote Wednesday by City Council. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Difference Makers

A local Relay for Life team, Flamingo Mafia Team M&M, is collaborating with the Ice House Inn on Sunday to raise money for the families of two young children battling cancer: Nora Sabella, 7, who is battling neuroblastoma; and Joey Gaskel, 4, who is battling pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Mahoning Matters

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

In case you missed it

In this week's "An Inclusive Table," Eartha A. Hopkins notes: "The wealth gap between local African American small businesses and their counterparts will require a reckoning of personal and policy resolve." She shares her thoughts. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Just wondering what it will take for DeWine to change his game plan … or even come up with a game plan. How far out of hand does this have to get?”

Kimberly Chianese Hill, on Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties on Tuesday reporting 406 new cases of COVID-19, which is the region's highest single-day case count since late December, near the height of the state's winter surge.

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 YSU Wind Ensemble will perform outdoors on Harrison Common Field on Walnut Street, across from Cassese's MVR in Youngstown, at 7 p.m. The Pops Concert is free and open to the public. Attendees can bring a lawn chair and snacks, but no alcohol is permitted. In the event of rain, the concert will take place at Ford Theater in Bliss Hall on the YSU campus.

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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