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Your Morning Matters: What are your thoughts?

Though the two-week rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ohioans is slowing, Valley health officials note local communities are behind that curve.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, and anniversaries are often a time of reflection, a moment to look back and celebrate successes. At Mahoning Matters, as we enter our third year of covering the Valley’s news for you, we are always looking for new possibilities and different ways to connect with our audience. 

After all, we can’t do our jobs without you.

Last week I mentioned MM 2.0. New things are coming, and before we let loose with all of our plans, we want to hear from you. So drop me a line at and give me some feedback:

  • What are the things that you value most about Mahoning Matters? In other words, what are the things that keep you coming back? 
  • What do you want to see more of?
  • 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?

We want to experiment with new ways to connect with the Mahoning Valley. Heck, we may even have in-person events one day again. Remember pitch nights? But we also want to know what you’d like to see.

In addition to answering these questions, you’ll see polls next week on our site asking you for specific feedback. Please take a moment and share your views.

It has been a great two years, and we are excited about what’s next. I’ll be back here Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!

Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

Though the two-week rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ohioans continues to slow, Mahoning Valley health officials note local communities are behind that curve.

While new case rates in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties are now down after peaking in late September and early October, their recovery has been slower among most of Ohio’s 88 counties, state data shows. ODH ranks those two-week case rates by county every Thursday, and Valley counties have steadily moved up in the rankings. Reporter Justin Dennis checks the data and checks in with Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana County health officials for an update.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 44,766,923 confirmed cases; 721,559 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 9 p.m. Oct. 14.
  • In Ohio: 1,485,514 confirmed or suspected cases; 23,021 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,491,146 confirmed cases; 30,336 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 29,913 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 22,248 in Trumbull; and 13,496 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,912.56, up 534.75 points, or 1.56%.

Other matters

It's a busy fall weekend in the Valley — and cool temperatures and rain will move in. From Southern Park Mall’s Candy Crawl today to The Youngstown Playhouse’s first on-site production since the start of the pandemic to Family Days on Sunday at The Butler Institute of American Art, we have the details. Mahoning Matters

Attorney David Betras is like a kid at Christmas. Why? The new Supreme Court term got underway on the first Monday in October! And he says, "The last time the court ruled on this many consequential cases in one term was, well, never." He details what to expect. Mahoning Matters

According to a new online survey, 3 in 5 Americans, or 60%, say they may delay or skip their flu shot this year, turning a cold shoulder to expert advice that says vaccination can prevent a “twin-demic” as the coronavirus pandemic lingers. Mahoning Matters

A bus driver for Leetonia Local Schools was suspended without pay after leaving a child on a school bus Monday, according to the district’s superintendent. WKBN

Predictions that enrollment would fall at Youngstown State University have become a reality as the university is reporting all-time low student numbers this fall.  Full-time equivalent student enrollment levels are 7.3% lower than last year. WFMJ

COVID-19 issues have forced the cancellation of three Valley football games, including one next week. WFMJ

New unemployment claims filed in Ohio increased to 9,851 for the week ended Oct. 9, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services — a gain of 629 from the previous week. The Business Journal [May encounter paywall.]

Difference Makers

Gary Sexton, 88.5 WYSU-FM station director, plans to run his age, or 65 miles, on Oct. 25 in pursuit of raising support and funds for local public radio. Learn how you can support "Gary’s Fund Run" and donate money to WYSU. MahoningMatters

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

In case you missed it

As Canfield Local Schools administrators prepare to revisit the district’s mask requirement for kindergartners through sixth-graders later this month, they’re eyeing new protocols — now in place elsewhere in the state — that could cut down on the number of quarantines required after COVID-19 exposure. Reporter Justin Dennis has the details. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

POINT: “MORE JOBS LOST!!! People replaced by machines.”

Dan Wrobleski, on the pilot launch of new Ohio BMV Express self-service kiosks.

COUNTERPOINT: “Have you been to the BMV? I’m betting this just makes the 3 hour line a little less and everyone keeps their jobs.”

Luke Schuster

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 Youngstown Playhouse, 600 Playhouse Lane, will present its first on-site production since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic with Cormac McCarthy’s “The Sunset Limited.” The production will be staged in The Moyer Room at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday and Oct. 22 and 23, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 24. For tickets — $18 for adults and $15 for seniors, students and military members, including fees — click here or call the box office at 330-788-8739. 

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 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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