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Your Morning Matters: Pondering Youngstown just before things got real

Local legislators have set a meeting today with LG Chem executives on the company's plant headed to Lordstown as part of a joint venture with GM.

Good morning and welcome to Your Morning Matters.

It's Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, and a tiny little curiosity bubbled up while I researched the Orson Bean/Youngstown feud from 1977 ...

We all know about Black Monday on Sept. 19, 1977. Some would argue we know too much about that day and the pain that lingers. But what about Sept. 18, 1977, arguably the last normal day in that version of normal in the Valley? 

It was a Sunday. Jimmy Carter was president. Andy Gibb's "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and "Best of My Love” by The Emotions topped the charts while still-grieving Elvis Presley fans pushed "Way Down" into the top 10. The skies were clear during a seasonally warm day with a high of 80 degrees.

At the Tomorrow Club, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes played a show, and entry was $4. According to the Steel Strings blog, the band played "This Time It’s For Real."  

I've spent my whole life working
Working so hard for it, yes I did

If you were directing this as a scene, you'd use that for a bit of foreshadowing, right? Indeed, it was about to get real.

A typical Sunday. How many folks knew what Jennings R. Lambeth, Youngstown Sheet & Tube president, was going to announce the following morning? Or what the impact of the company concentrating its steel production to the Indiana Harbor Works would mean to the local steel industry? To the Valley? To the state? 

It's practically overwhelming to imagine for someone who was busy in his senior year of high school 700 miles away to contemplate it all. If you would, share what you recall about the day before at

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

Local legislators have set a meeting today with LG Chem executives on the South Korean chemical company's electric vehicle battery plant headed to Lordstown as part of a joint venture with General Motors.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, is hosting the meeting at his Capitol office. State Sens. Sean O'Brien of Bazetta, D-32nd, and Michael Rulli of Salem, R-33rd, and Ryan are expected to meet top execs of LG Chem's battery division.

Other matters

Help wanted: Youngstown's mayor is seeking a new coordinator of downtown events and citywide special projects. Mayor Jamael Tito Brown will accept applications until 4 p.m. Feb. 25. Mahoning Matters

Two state lawmakers have introduced the Safe Drinking Water Act, which would require Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency to adopt rules establishing maximum allowable contaminant levels in drinking and surface water. So-called PFAS compounds have been found in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati drinking water, yet Ohio does not have established maximum levels for many known drinking water contaminants. Mahoning Matters

U.S. marshals arrested a man who was wanted for one of three shooting deaths Sunday at a club on Youngstown’s North Side. Robert Shelton was arrested in Liberty after a tip. WKBN

Two part-time EMTs working for the Brookfield Fire Department are on paid administrative leave following Facebook comments made in reference to that triple homicide in Youngstown. So far, there is no criminal investigation into the posts. WFMJ

An attorney for a former city official seeking to get his job back is asking a Mahoning County Common Pleas Court judge to allow verbal arguments in the case. Taron Cunningham, the former Community Development Agency director, is seeking to be reinstated with back pay to his job, which paid $74,997.52 annually. The Vindicator

A lecture by actor/activist Jane Fonda is among the events that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State University. Fonda will speak May 4; admission is free, but tickets are required. For information, go here. The Business Journal

Your comments matter

“Brooke has always been an outstanding athlete and student. Heart of gold on that girl. Best of luck in life.”

Michael DiCioccio, on Poland senior Brooke Bobbey, who will graduate with 11 varsity letters — four in soccer and softball and three in basketball.

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 Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform at 8 p.m. tonight at DeYor Performing Arts Center, 260 W. Federal St., Youngstown. “DTH combines sublime artistry with exquisite beauty — truly the best of the best,” said Phyllis Paul, dean of the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication at Youngstown State University. Tickets are available here, by calling 330-744-0264 or at the door.

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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