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Your Morning Matters: A commercial break

Nearly 60 percent of Ohioans age 80 and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, and during the past year of COVID-19-induced isolation, I have become quite the connoisseur of TV commercials. I generally have the news on while I work. And most of the time it is background noise. What usually catches my attention are the commercials.

The ones for lawyers fascinate me. One promises that if you call him, he'll either take your call or call you back. That really doesn't seem to set the bar very high. Do some lawyers NOT do that? I'm not sure that stating, "If you call me, I will respond in the bare minimum way that societal norms suggest as proper etiquette," is a selling point for me. 

Then there's the one that espouses that the mere mentioning of a particular law firm's name will send other attorneys — and insurance companies, claims adjusters, etc. — fleeing in terror. And it is somewhat effective: I can name that law firm, though I can't remember the name of the polite guy who is committed to taking/returning my call.

And don't get me going on those commercials — local and national — featuring kids. I just want to shriek: "I've never made a major purchase based on the advice of a 7-year-old!" Except, maybe, in the case of cereal. Hey, Mikey!

There is clearly an art form for the best commercials. But I also wonder if traditional TV commercials will go the way of newspaper ads. The boomer generation — talking ’bout my gen-gen-gen-eration — might be the end of the line for such traditional ad viewing. I teach at YSU. From millennials on down, TV ads are not a thing.

And, yes, I'll be hyper-focused on my age through my birthday this week.

Let's embrace diversity out there.

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

Nearly 60 percent of Ohioans age 80 and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday. But taking a look at the rest of Phase 1B — whose largest group is older Ohioans — the state still has a ways to go.

For instance, among those age 75 to 79, the vaccination number drops to 49.9 percent. For those in the 65 to 69 age group, it is just 23.4 percent. Hence, the state will be ready to expand eligibility "when 65-year-olds have no trouble getting the vaccine," the governor said Monday.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 28,186,824 confirmed cases; 500,201 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 9 p.m. Feb. 22.
  • In Ohio: 955,378 confirmed and suspected cases; 16,874 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 915,018 confirmed cases; 23,614 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 19,183 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County; 14,076 in Trumbull; and 8,029 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 31,521.69, up 27.37 points, or 0.087 percent.

Other matters

While the Boardman School District is ready to focus on healing after an incident in which an aide stapled a note to a disabled child, the boy’s family and supporters are still seeking accountability from the district. Mahoning Matters

Because Valley State Farm insurance agents donated $15,000 Monday to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, 90,000 meals will be provided across the Mahoning Valley. Mahoning Matters

Dr. Michelle Kapon, 41, of Youngstown awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to charges filed in connection with an alleged Medicare and Medicaid kickback scheme for performing tests that were not medically necessary. WFMJ

Nursing students from the Kent State University East Liverpool and Salem campuses are assisting with COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Columbiana County. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Kevin Duvall, who spent most of his life living in Salem, has been living the past two years in Texas and says he’s never seen anything like the recent impact of snow and cold. WKBN

Discussions between the cities of Canfield and Youngstown about water rates have picked up after being on hiatus in 2020. Canfield purchases its water from Youngstown. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Born and raised on Youngstown’s South Side, 38-year-old Hannah Ferguson first got her start in the craft beer industry three years ago. Now she is the assistant brewer at Modern Methods Brewing Co. and the first Black woman to be named a professional brewer in Ohio. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“Congratulations, Hannah! Celebrating Black achievements and excellence! Stay blessed.

Wendy Brathwaite, on Hannah Ferguson of Youngstown, the first Black woman to be named a professional brewer in Ohio. Ferguson is an assistant brewer at Modern Methods Brewing Co. in Warren and soon will operate DOPE Cider House & Winery.

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 State Alumni and Friends Virtual Book Club will discuss “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean at 7 p.m. To receive a link to the virtual discussion, email Heather Belgin at

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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