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Your Morning Matters: Baker cracks me up

There are a couple of major news stories on COVID-19 requiring your attention today.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Updated this to correct that the Dow went up, not down on Tuesday.]

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, and Happy Bernie Kosar Birthday Day to you all! And when you think about it, not since Boardman’s favorite son was quarterback of the team has it been so cool to be a Cleveland Browns fan. 

Much of that is due to Baker Mayfield. Most of what I know about the current QB — other than those snippets I gleen while transfixed on the NFL Red Zone channel awaiting glimpses of America’s Team, the Chicago Bears — are the awesome Progressive insurance commercials, “At Home with Baker Mayfield.” 

The adventures as he and his wife, Emily Wilkinson, face everyday household issues at their home — as if they actually lived at FirstEnergy Stadium — are among the funniest things on television. I know that makes me seem like a shill for big insurance. But they are comic gold: Covering furniture in the rain? Dropping your keys at the door with your arms full of groceries?  The crescent rolls in the pretzel server? It’s all inspired lunacy, which he and Emily deliver with disarmingly deadpan charm. 

It’s too early to tell if Baker will be as great of a quarterback as No. 19, but I do know this: Bernie trying to move into Mayfield’s home to reclaim the new stadium would make an awesome commercial. No broken seats obstructed by those beams? No flooded restrooms? Heated sidelines? The Cleveland Municipal Stadium nostalgia alone makes this promising.

It’s also Thanksgiving Eve, traditionally a big bar night as friends and family return to their old stomping grounds for the holiday weekend. Let’s be very careful out there: Mask up. Stay distanced. Let’s get out of this pandemic without any more bad stats. And no newsletter tomorrow! We’ll be back Friday, and I will post some Thanksgiving themes from readers throughout the weekend. Thanks to all who reached out!

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

There are a couple of major news stories on COVID-19 requiring your attention today.

First, as we've reported, after a seven-month legal battle, the Ohio Department of Health was ordered to release information on the number of beds, ventilators and other equipment available at local hospitals to the investigative reporting team Eye on Ohio. The data paints a complicated, constantly changing picture of Ohio’s efforts to “flatten the curve.” 

Then, based on that data, reporters Justin Dennis and Jess Hardin take a closer look at what the data tells us about Valley hospitals and update us on this week's pandemic surge, including news about a Trumbull County business that plans “disobedience.”

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 12,301,910 confirmed cases; 257,870 deaths, according to infection2020.com at 10 p.m. Nov. 24.
  • In Ohio: 371,908 confirmed or suspected cases; 6,118 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 321,070 confirmed cases; 9,951 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 7,276 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 5,305 in Trumbull; and 3,472 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 30,046.24, up 454.97 points, or 1.54 percent.

Other matters

Among the Mahoning Valley enterprises featured in today's Business Updates are Kravitz Deli, BRITE Energy Innovators, Burgan Real Estate, Farmers National Banc Corp., Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics and Locust Pediatric Care Group. Mahoning Matters

Our friends over at 88.5 WYSU-FM, the public radio service of Youngstown State University, will air special holiday programs on Thanksgiving. We have the details. Mahoning Matters

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and podiatrists are warning those who have been afflicted that despite the fears raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, patients need to keep their doctors appointments. Mahoning Matters

Major League Baseball is expected to announce next week the makeup of Minor League Baseball and the future of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. The Scrappers are part of the short-season New York-Penn League, and according to reports were on the list to be eliminated. WFMJ

A Shenango Valley Shop Around Giveaway will take place this year instead of the promotion event that normally centers on Sharon, Pa.’s downtown. Businesses throughout the Shenango Valley are encouraged to offer giveaways such as gift baskets and gift cards. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Austintown Township trustees have approved a zoning change for 5657 Mahoning Ave. from agricultural to business, clearing the way for the popular chicken fast-food chain Chick-fil-A  to be built there. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Because of a decrease in income tax revenue related to the pandemic, Girard officials say the city's budget is already $250,000 short this year and could end up close to $400,000. WKBN

In case you missed it

Sarah Lowry sees the Healthy Community Partnership’s role as a force to improve health outcomes in the region, as well as to shrink documented health disparities. Lowry, who grew up in Hubbard, spent almost six years working for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown as a Northeast Ohio regional representative after graduating from Youngstown State University. She took on the partnership role in 2018. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Eastwood Mall.

Your comments matter

“I’m sorry, but the man is trying to do a job to keep people safe and keep things rolling. If he stands back and does nothing, the whiners in this state will ridicule him for doing nothing.”

Steven Garthwaite, on Gov. Mike DeWine seeing growing criticism from fellow Republicans.

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