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Your Morning Matters: Memories of the drive-in

During a coronavirus briefing Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced nursing homes will be permitted to reopen for outdoor visitation starting July 20.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Tuesday, June 30, 2020, and on this day in 1980, Robert Redford's "Brubaker," Michael Kane’s "The Island" and Burt Reynolds’ "Rough Cut" were playing at Valley drive-in theaters.

Yet, about 40 years ago, drive-ins started to hit hard times. Now, amid the pandemic, the 400 or so of them remaining in the U.S. are starting to see a resurgence.

Hence, Alyssa Weston’s story Monday about the Elm Road Triple Drive-In delighted me to no end. Some of the brightest memories of my childhood growing up in Illinois in the 1960s was Mom and Dad loading up blankets and pillows and bags of treats in the station wagon to take us to the drive-in. 

We didn’t go to the movies a lot, so this was always a special treat. I can still practically name every movie we saw, including “The Jungle Book,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “True Grit,” “Frankie and Johnny” and, because Mark was/is a precocious 8-year-old, “Bullitt.” Generally, the early movies were for the younger crowd, and as we fell asleep, the more mature movies would begin. Like most Hot Wheels-influenced 8-year-olds, I was very interested in fast cars, and though my brother and sister were asleep, I kept poking my head over the seat to watch Bullitt’s iconic scenes.

Mom just kept telling me that I wasn’t old enough. And to go to sleep. 

Eventually, we would all drift asleep only to be awoken by the sound of the station wagon slowly leaving the drive-in. The sound of gravel being kicked up under the car is still comforting. If only I could lie down in the back again with my blanket and pillow ...

Let’s be careful out there.

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

At least 10 states experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases are pausing or rolling back reopenings in an attempt to contain the virus, but Ohio is not one of them. Ohio's reopening is moving ahead.

During a state coronavirus briefing Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced nursing homes will be permitted to reopen for outdoor visitation starting July 20 "so long as safety standards are met." He also teased a reopening update on schools for Thursday.


  • In the U.S.: 2,574,871 confirmed cases; 128,280 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. June 29.
  • In Ohio: 47,524 confirmed cases; 2,575 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 85,988 confirmed cases; 6,579 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 1,736 confirmed cases in Mahoning County; 824 in Trumbull County; and 1,202 in Columbiana County.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 25,595.80, up 580.25 points, or 2.32 percent.

Other matters

Editor Mark Sweetwood relives June 28, 2019, the day The Vindicator announced it would close in 60 days: "It feels both as shattering as if it happened yesterday and as distant as if it happened a million years ago." Mahoning Matters

The state Senate has passed a resolution urging the federal government to locate the U.S. Space Command in Ohio. Moving the space command to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base could bring as many as 1,400 jobs to the Buckeye State, officials say. Mahoning Matters

After rescheduling the wedding date and canceling the shower, reception and honeymoon, a local mom surprised her daughter with a drive-thru wedding shower. Colleen Berlon of Boardman said this is the least she can do for her daughter Carly, a nurse at the Cleveland Clinic on the COVID ICU floor. WFMJ

The Anderson-DuBose Co., a food distribution company in Lordstown, has been ranked the top workplace among medium-size businesses in Northeast Ohio, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s annual rankings. The Business Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed plans for a performing arts center at the Girard High/Middle School complex off Shannon Road. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Members of the Trumbull County Rod and Gun Club, through their Helping Hands program, gathered $2,500 and handed five families food gift certificates to Sparkle Market in Champion and Cortland. WKBN

Difference Makers

Many folks are finding themselves reviving old hobbies as a way to keep busy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Youngstown native Barbara Matherly is using her crocheting passion to make about 600 mask straps for various health care facilities and essential businesses free of charge. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Eastwood Mall.

In case you missed it

Warren's Elm Road Triple Drive-In Theatre gives moviegoers a retro cinematic experience, as one of approximately 310 drive-ins in the United States. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the drive-in to take on some “firsts” this summer, from concerts to graduations to classic movies. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“Is this 2 weeks out from the peaceful marches?”

Lisa Strickland, on more Ohioans testing positive for the coronavirus last week than during any other week since the pandemic began

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

West Side Bowl will livestream a performance by industrial band Heck Vektor at 8 p.m. tonight. Click here to join the livestream.

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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