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Your Morning Matters: What price happiness?

Is Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict an anomaly? A new chapter in civil rights? What's next? Mahoning Matters reporters sought those answers.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, April 22, 2021, and the online gaming site sent me an interesting pitch the other day: "We questioned over 3,900 people in every state about how much more money they would need to make them happy, and to learn what else might make them happy." In Ohio, folks said they'd need a 35 percent raise — roughly $14,350 — to be happy. 

I thought a bit about that. I've made more money. I've made less. I'm not sure that's the key, at least for me. That was reflected, too, in their research as "only a minority [15 percent] of respondents truly believe money can buy genuine happiness, although almost half [47 percent] of respondents admit to having purchased unnecessary items in a futile attempt to make themselves feel happier."

And THAT did connect. Stuck at home in a pandemic has created lots of odd buying habits. I went into my eBay account to determine my weirdest 2020 purchases: It's a toss-up between a colorized version of young Frank Sinatra's booking mug and a mid-century painting featuring the Chicago Yacht Club. It's $68 I'll never see again. Now, we are big Sinatra fans and have a lot of Rat Pack decor. And we also have water/bridges pictures in our living room. But that's more of a rationalization than a rational explanation. 

It seems to me that happiness is often fleeting these days. I was happy to see justice on Tuesday and driven to rage by Wednesday's snow. What makes you happy? What would make you happier?

I hope you find some measure of happiness this weekend. Justin Dennis does the honors here Friday, and I'll see you right back here Monday.

Devotion to Accuracy Department: I messed up the last name of Sarah Lowry of the Healthy Community Partnership Active Transportation Action Team yesterday. My sincerest apologies.

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

After learning of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, Valley leaders said their relief was tempered by the tragic fact that accountability does not compensate for loss of life. 

The conviction of a former police officer only after millions watched a viral video of a Black man’s murder creates, for many, a sense of celebrating the bare minimum. Is this an anomaly? A new chapter in civil rights? What's next? Mahoning Matters reporters sought those answers.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 31,860,862 confirmed cases; 569,383 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. April 21.
  • In Ohio: 1,058,395 confirmed or suspected cases; 19,033 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,118,470 confirmed cases; 25,827 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 21,029 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 15,666 in Trumbull; and 8,589 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 34,137.31, up 316.01 points, or 0.93 percent.

Other matters

While COVID-19 cases in Ohio appear to have plateaued again, the demographics of Ohioans hospitalized have changed. Ohio is seeing younger people getting hospitalized with COVID-19 at a higher rate. Mahoning Matters

The Mahoning Valley Campus of Care could anchor new services bringing produce to the county’s food deserts and offering living spaces for the mentally ill or disabled, operators said Wednesday. Mahoning Matters

Youngstown City Council approved transferring about $4.4 million from the general fund to three accounts to satisfy state demands from the city's last two audits. Mahoning Matters

New and sold listings of single-family properties in the region surged in March as the spring buying season began. Mahoning County led the Valley with 212 houses sold in March, up from 152 sold in February, but down slightly from 214 in March 2020. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Warren’s River Rock at the Amp concert series was canceled last summer but will be back this year on May 29, Sunrise Entertainment President Ken Haidaris said. WKBN

Creative Learning Workshop, an organization that provides transportation services to those with developmental disabilities in Howland, is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of men who stole catalytic converters from their vans. WFMJ

The owner of the vacant downtown Gallagher Building said he plans to start work to add 36 apartment units later this year. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Members of the Healthy Community Partnership’s Active Transportation Team responded to a recent column by Editor Mark Sweetwood. They seek "to underscore the importance of sidewalks in our communities and the multiple benefits of centering sidewalks in conversations about infrastructure spending and investments for the long-term public good." Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“I hope it’s good because we don’t have anywhere left to shop for something different.”

— Coleen Dunchak, on Macy's Backstage — a store-within-store shopping concept — opening its first location at Southern Park Mall on May 1.

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 Mahoning Valley Historical Society will debut “April 1861, 160 Years Later” in its monthly Bites and Bits of History online video presentation at noon. Traci Manning, MVHS curator of education, will look back at the events that led to the most turbulent period in American history with regard to slavery. The presentation will be available on MVHS' YouTube channel.

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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