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Your Morning Matters: Can’t leave those leaves alone

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that 38 counties are in Level 3 "red," the most the state has seen to date.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, and if you are like me, you are looking at weekend No. 2 of the great leaf removal season.

At first, I was quite proud of last week’s efforts: I collected about two dozen mower bags of leaves off of my property. Then I looked up and realized that 75 to 80 percent of them were still on the trees. I know at some point I will just give in and call the leaf guys over to finish up the job — we have a lot of trees. But I always like to give it the ol’ Boardman try before succumbing and getting out the checkbook.

I’m always looking out for new gadgets because, frankly, leaf removal is awful and football is on. Given the choice of raking leaves and watching the NFL RedZone, really, there’s not much of a debate. Did I mention Ohio State plays Saturday?

The good folks at HGTV posted “The Best Tools for Picking Up Leaves in Your Yard.” Some of them are innovative, like the handles you can attach to any tarp that you can blow leaves onto to haul away (very smart!), while others are just plain devious, like mini-rakes to trick youngsters into helping you. And those rakes/grabbers that you wear make you look like Marvel’s Wolverine. Snkkkt!! Please share if you have any tricks of your own.

Meanwhile, a  KAN News of the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation team will be at the Jewish Community Center on Tuesday to shoot a segment with local voters. They'd prefer those who voted for the winning presidential candidates in recent elections for a conversation about how Ohioans fiercely cultivate an image of being a bellwether state each election. 

If you are interested and you can be free in the late afternoon/early evening onTuesday, let me know and I can put you in touch with the KAN team. Just email me.

Have a great weekend!

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

Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that 38 counties are in Level 3 "red," the most the state has seen to date. But he said the state had the most “red” counties last week, too. 

And the way it is trending, the same will hold for next week. The state is on fire with COVID-19 again, and so DeWine tagged in former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to encourage mask use. As we surveyed the Valley, health officials had the same bleak outlook and warnings. Is anyone listening?


  • In the U.S.: 8,270,195 confirmed cases; 223,065 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Oct. 22.
  • In Ohio: 190,430 confirmed and suspected cases; 5,161 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 188,360 confirmed cases; 8,592 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 3,709 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County, 2,270 in Trumbull and 2,128 in Columbiana. 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 28,363.66, up 152.84 points, or 0.54 percent.

Other matters

Facing an uptick in violent crime in the city, members of the council's safety committee had one question for police Chief Robin Lees on Thursday: Why? So far this year, there have been 24 homicides in the city, compared with 20 overall in 2019. Mahoning Matters

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has shortened the time boards of elections have to certify ballots after the Nov. 3 election. The original date was Nov. 24. In an Oct. 16 memo, LaRose instructed boards of election to "... submit all reports to the secretary of state no later than 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18." Democrats are pushing back. Mahoning Matters

A Mahoning County Common Pleas Court magistrate will decide if a Mahoning Avenue bar will be declared a nuisance as early as today. WKBN

Shareholders of DiamondPeak Holdings Corp. approved the company’s merger with Lordstown Motors Corp. Thursday, paving the way for the startup automaker to become listed on stock exchanges. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Trumbull County Combined Health District Inspector Kris Wilster said since the operators of Cortland's Top Notch Diner refuse to follow the state's masking mandate, the matter has been turned over to the county's legal counsel to determine the best course of action. WFMJ

September’s jobless rates in Trumbull and Mahoning counties improved, albeit ever so slightly, yet the two remain above 10 percent, an unenviable mark that includes just three other counties in Ohio. The Vindicator  [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Mahoning Matters moderated discussions between representatives from three hotly contested races for another installment of our “Community Matters” series, “The Valley Votes: What to Expect Next” on Wednesday night. It wasn’t always polite, but a lot of information was exchanged from candidates and veteran political observers.

Your comments matter

“... and it beats you up from the outside in. He’s newly infected — wait till he sees what’s in store for him now. Recovery? COVID says, ‘Not so fast.’ Search the term COVID long haulers.”

Suzanne Newton Kathro, on former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sharing his experience battling COVID-19 during Thursday's state briefing. “It’s like getting beaten up from the inside out,” Christie said.

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 Casual Pint, 393 Boardman-Poland Road, Unit #136, Youngstown, is hosting its first Transylvanian Convention with a viewing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at 7 p.m. in its heated tent. Social distancing is required.

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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