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Your Morning Matters: Looking ahead to gifting season

In explaining coronavirus outbreaks in Mahoning County, Dr. James Kravec points to large gatherings where public health measures are not enforced.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, and among the content we produced during the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown this past spring was online lists: at-home teaching resources; stores with special early shopping hours for seniors; where to get tested; restaurants with curbside delivery; and so forth.

These proved immensely popular with readers, and we were happy to provide this important service.

Well, as we all know, the final eight weeks of the year are chock-full of holidays, from Halloween to Hanukkah to New Year’s Day! And with many of these holidays come traditions, from exchanging gifts to feeding the hungry to family visits to supporting local businesses.

With that in mind, and as COVID-19 rages again, we are making plans for some projects to check many of those boxes. Watch this space for more information.

But for right now, we have a simple request for future gift-giving purposes: If your business offers gift cards, we’d like to list you on our website. Simply send an email to and list your business’s name, address, phone number, what denominations your gift cards come in, whether they can be purchased online or in person, and your business’s website. Please include any disclaimers or exclusions that customers should understand, as well.

Our first goal will be a list to encourage gift-givers to think about spending dollars locally to help our shops and bars and restaurants who have been so hard-hit this year. They need your help, and it’s our way of keeping them uppermost in everyone’s minds as we settle into the holiday season. But, as I suggested, we also have bigger plans to unfold, so stay tuned.

Until then, let’s be careful out there.

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

In explaining coronavirus outbreaks in Mahoning County, Mercy Health Chief Clinical Officer Dr. James Kravec points to large gatherings — like weddings, funerals and political events — where public health measures are not enforced. 

So when Gov. Mike DeWine responded to the state's case surge Tuesday by asking local leaders to "redouble [their] efforts," Kravec said, "I’m not sure [local] government or health departments can do anything. I think [you’ve] just got to continue messaging to the community."

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 8,654,129 confirmed cases; 226,445 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Oct. 27.
  • In Ohio: 202,740 confirmed or suspected cases; 5,239 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 198,446 confirmed cases; 8,696 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 3,889 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 2,404 in Trumbull; and 2,190 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 27,463.19, down 222.19 points, or 0.80 percent.

Other matters

Israeli journalists’ visit to the Mahoning County Board of Elections reminded that all eyes are on the bellwether state of Ohio in this presidential election. Yaron Deckel is a political analyst for KAN 11, and on Tuesday he interviewed a handful of early voters after they cast their ballots at the county’s Oak Hill Avenue elections offices. Mahoning Matters

Attorney David Betras is an ardent admirer of our Founding Fathers. Still, he weighs in on what he calls one of their mistakes: the Electoral College. He calls it "an embarrassment that elicits laughter from other nations and fuels divisiveness here at home." Mahoning Matters

Among the Valley leaders in today's edition of Business Updates are Mercy Health; Escape Boardman Hotel; PNC; Mahoning Valley Structural Ironworkers; Anthem Enhanced Choice; Youngstown State University; Pilot Co.; and Lordstown Motors Corp. Mahoning Matters

Sales of single-family houses were up in September in the Mahoning Valley, despite a 2.3 percent drop in the 18-county statistical area, which includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Campbell City Schools is temporarily switching to remote learning after a “nondistrict employee” who came into contact with staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, Superintendent Matthew Bowen said. WKBN

Liberty Township trustees have apologized for a discussion that occurred in an executive session that should have been held in an open meeting. In a recent meeting, a few minutes of an executive session were broadcast virtually, and trustees could be heard discussing how to use CARES Act funds — which is not exempted from public discussion. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Timothy McGlynn, head coach of the Champion Flashes High School football team, has resigned after being placed on administrative leave while school officials investigate allegations of wrongdoing. WFMJ

In case you missed it

Shortly after conquering stage 3 breast cancer, Michelle Apple, a registered dietitian and Mahoning Valley native, founded the Apple Breast Cancer Warrior Foundation to raise funds and to advocate for other breast cancer patients. It raises money to pay for deductibles and medical bills not covered by insurance, as well as travel expenses to and from medical facilities — and sometimes even groceries for patients. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Eastwood Mall.

Your comments matter

“Early voting is the way to go. I don't trust the mail service; it’s too slow.”

Jay Oldfield, on grassroots volunteers rallying voters in Ohio.

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

Youngstown State University’s Department of Art is presenting “Surface,” a one-wall exhibition in Bliss Hall’s Judith Rae Solomon Gallery, through Friday. The exhibit features paintings installed on one wall, visible only through the glass doors of the gallery to create a safe viewing area for patrons. The gallery is located on the street level of Bliss Hall and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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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