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Your Morning Matters: Freedom Day and emergence

Amid recent violence and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Youngstown City Council members spent time Monday night preaching about safety.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, April 8, 2021, and I predict the most used word for the next phase of the worldwide pandemic is "emergence."

We're all ready to emerge. Or re-emerge. Or just merge back into our old life lanes. Friday is my Freedom Day: The two-week anniversary of my second Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. If you see me out breathing on people and spitting, well ... FREEDOM!

OK, I won't really be doing that, but I do have this newfound sense of liberation. For the past year, I've been one of those folks who has tried to do everything right both to protect myself and others. I was on lockdown for the longest time and worked from home (even teaching my YSU class remotely). I've avoided crowds, strangers and the impulse to "just see what happens." 

My wife and I have avoided going out except in very controlled situations and always with masks, wipes and hand sanitizer. Heck, our lone vacation last year was to an isolated cabin in Perry County. And I know many of you out there have been on the same path, and I applaud you and your sacrifices to help get us to this point. While we aren't out of the woods yet, the Mahoning Matters team is focused on what's next, especially for the Valley’s businesses and community organizations that have faced the terrible brunt of the past year.

As life slowly begins to transition to something close to normal, and your business is charting new paths, setting new hours and expanding its services, drop us a line at so we can share that news with others. Last spring, as everything shut down into pandemic mode, we shared lists of those changes with our audience as a public service. As things transition back, we aim to do the same.

And have a great weekend! The always enthralling Jess Hardin will do the honors here tomorrow, and I'll be back Monday with my idea for Youngstown's $88.6 million windfall.

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

Amid recent violence and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Youngstown City Council members spent time Monday night preaching about safety. 

Between the coronavirus, neighborhood violence and the recent shooting at a nightclub, it has been a tough 2021 so far. Council members not only encouraged folks to stay safe from violence but also to get a COVID-19 vaccination. In fact, the Youngstown City Health District’s next mass vaccination clinic at the Covelli Centre will be today.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 30,915,003 confirmed cases; 559,049 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 7 p.m. April 7.
  • In Ohio: 1,030,864 confirmed or suspected cases; 18,741 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,054,298 confirmed cases; 25,237 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 20,513 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 15,025 in Trumbull; and 8,364 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 33,446.26, up 16.02 points, or 0.048 percent.

Other matters

Millions of Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day. Experts agree it’s the nation’s best strategy to overcome the pandemic. Yet, younger, unvaccinated people are impacting encouraging trends. Mahoning Matters

The public radio service of Youngstown State University, 88.5 WYSU-FM, is conducting its donor and membership awareness campaign throughout April. Instead of its traditional membership drive, the station is encouraging listeners to contribute online. Mahoning Matters

It didn’t take long for coronavirus to impact economies across the country. But it may take longer for some states, especially Ohio, to recover economically. Mahoning Matters

Denise DeBartolo-York and her family have a net worth of $3.5 billion, which earned the Youngstown native and local businesswoman a spot on the Forbes Billionaires of 2021 list. WFMJ

Local real estate professionals say they’ve never witnessed a market such as this one: a market dominated by low interest rates but a housing inventory at an all-time low. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Pennsylvanians might be one step closer to keeping Daylight Saving Time all year long: The state House passed a bill 103-98 to keep DST permanent. WKBN

In March, automobile dealers in the Mahoning Valley posted their second consecutive month of growth. Dealerships reported selling 6,002 cars last month, a 34 percent increase from March 2020. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

With more than 2 million Ohioans fully vaccinated, people are wondering: "What can I do once I've gotten my shots?" Reporter Jess Hardin chatted with Dr. Jill Uberti, vice president of Medical Affairs at St. Joseph Warren Hospital, to answer questions you may have about getting back to normal after the vaccine. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Too bad this program wasn’t available to my elderly mom when desperately needed a few years ago.”

Linda Myers, on the Ohio Department of Aging announcing additional funding to support Older Americans Act home-delivered meal services during the pandemic. 

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 Jewish Community Relations Council will hold its 27th annual Community Yom Hashoah Commemoration at 7 p.m. The virtual event will include remarks by Federation Holocaust Educational Specialist Jesse McClain; the recognition of the winners of the JCRC’s student Holocaust writing, art and multimedia contest; and the presentation of a proclamation by Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, as well as memorial prayers and a candlelighting ceremony to honor the 6 million who perished. To register, click here.

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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