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Your Morning Matters: 56 days away

Deciding who to prioritize is "gut-wrenching," Gov. Mike DeWine said. But the bottom line is there's simply not enough vaccine for everyone right now.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, and welcome to the part of winter that will really test our pandemic-rattled psyches.

I thought of this the other day when Sling sent me a wrap-up of our 2020 TV watching. We cut cable last year to cut costs. As one of its perks, a Sling robot emailed me to inform me that our No. 1 watched programming was the NFL. No. 2 was cable news. 

Well, sadly, we'll always have cable news. But, darn it, we only have three NFL games left! And in the current crazy COVID-19 season, there were some weeks when football was on every night! Monday Night Football! Tuesday Night Football! Wednesday Night Football! All-day NFL Red Zone on Sundays — followed by another game! 

And now it's just going to disappear, leaving, for me, a gigantic void. The holidays are over. We can't go hang out outside because, uhm, January in Ohio. Plus, the gazebos are packed up. We can't hang out at the bars or hit theaters because of COVID-19. That also means we can't even visit folks randomly, and really shouldn’t really leave our homes unless it’s absolutely necessary.

So what am I gonna do? Take up whittling? Watch network television? Put puzzles together? Send me suggestions:

Meanwhile, let me be the first to announce there are just 56 days — long and excruciating as they may be — until the start of spring. Or, 72 days until we are generally clear of the threat of snow. OHIO (shakes fist at sky)! I guess I could become a heckuva whittler in 72 days ...

Nevertheless, have a great weekend. Let’s be careful out there.

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

During his news briefing Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine mentioned he receives messages from Ohioans making the case for why certain groups should be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The list is endless. 

Deciding who to prioritize is "gut-wrenching," DeWine said. But the bottom line is there's simply not enough vaccine for everyone right now. Jess Hardin has the latest COVID-19 news from the state and throughout the Mahoning Valley.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 24,147,904 confirmed cases; 403,237 deaths, according to at 9 p.m. Jan. 21.
  • In Ohio: 849,704 confirmed and suspected cases; 10,518 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 788,834 confirmed cases; 20,128 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 17,163 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County, 12,680 in Trumbull and 7,263 in Columbiana. 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 31,176.01, down 12.37 points, or 0.04 percent.

Other matters

President Joe Biden on Thursday revealed his COVID-19 response plan, which re-envisions the federal government’s role in defeating the pandemic both domestically and internationally and promises to bring the “full resources of the federal government to bear.” Mahoning Matters

Ursuline High School boys’ basketball coach Keith Gunther addressed student-athletes and families at the I Have A Dream, Martin Luther King Day tournament Monday night with the message for people to work together to end racial inequality. Mahoning Matters

It's well-known that attorney David Betras doesn't like insurance companies. This week in "Your Legal Rights," he details what those facing an insurance claim do that "makes me want to scream." Mahoning Matters

BDM Warren Steel Holdings LLC will donate what is expected to be the majority of the former Republic Steel property in Trumbull County to the Western Reserve Port Authority. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Campbell residents are being surveyed for opinions about the police department. Mayor Nick Phillips said the survey is designed to help leaders understand how police are perceived in the community and how relationships with the department can be improved. WFMJ

Monday's fire caused more than $1 million in damage to St. Patrick Church in Hubbard. Hubbard Eagle Joint Fire District Chief Ron Stanish said an investigation is underway, but it appears the fire began in a conference room area near the kitchen. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Trumbull County commissioners voted to discipline Richard Jackson, the county’s HR director, though they wouldn’t specify the allegations against him. WKBN

In case you missed it

State and local officials want to make it easier for Ohio seniors to register for and get the coronavirus vaccine, but it’s still a “work in progress,” as Gov. Mike DeWine has said. To that end, Mahoning County Public Health will hire temporary workers to answer phone lines that became inundated last week. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“I registered myself and my husband on the web portal on the first day it was open. It does not even ask to input an email address, so there is no kind of verification or acknowledgement there, which seems to be a poor design. Hopefully, we will hear something back by phone, as that information was part of the process.”

Judith Marie Horner, on state and local officials wanting to make it easier for Ohio seniors to register for and get the coronavirus vaccine.

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 John J. McDonough Museum of Art, 525 Wick Ave., Youngstown, is opening the spring portion of its schedule with the 84th annual Juried Student Art & Design Exhibition and Bliss Kids Collective's “Ellipsis” exhibition. The shows will be on display today through Feb. 5.

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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