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Your Morning Matters: Recalling the Orson Bean/Youngstown feud from 1977

While the president's proposed budget would end a program Lordstown Motors could use for its facility, the company has not yet applied for the loan.

Good morning and welcome to Your Morning Matters.

It’s Feb. 11, 2020, and today let’s remember Orson Bean and his 1977 “feud” with Youngtown.

The 91-year-old comedian died last week after being struck by a vehicle as he walked in Los Angeles. In his prime, the witty comic was a favorite of Johnny Carson on the old “Tonight Show.” In one appearance, he made an existential joke to question why people believe things that they’ve never actually experienced and went on to crack that he doubted Youngstown existed because he had never been here.

On May 18, 1977, he returned to the show to report receiving a note from Youngstown Chamber of Commerce honcho Weston Johnstone — among others — who sent a pamphlet promoting the Valley. He wore a button touting Youngstown (“There's a whole lot of living”) that caught Carson’s eye. 

You can see it here at the 37:00 mark.

Pointing to the button, Bean quips, “This is another pathetic attempt on the part of the inhabitants of the alleged Youngstown, Ohio, to prove that their city exists." He went on to detail the reaction to his original joke and ended the “feud” by saying, “I really mean no harm, Youngstown, and I'm sure if you do exist you are quite beautiful. I've seen the pictures."

In four months, sadly, a very different picture of Youngstown would emerge, giving plenty of folks reason to question whether Youngstown would continue to exist: On Sept. 19, 1977, Black Monday would arrive.

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

While President Donald Trump's proposed budget would end a program Lordstown Motors Corp. could use to update its facility to make electric vehicles, the company has not yet applied for the loan. In fact, Ryan Hallett, Lordstown Motors spokesman, said Monday the company's business model "stands on its own without it."

That did not prevent headlines about the revelation about the budget maneuver to cause ripples throughout the Valley. We have more details today.

Other matters

The Ohio Department of Health reported last week that there have been more than 4,400 hospitalizations due to flu in Ohio during the 2019-2020 flu season. Flu season is typically from October through May in Ohio, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated current flu activity in Ohio as “widespread.” Mahoning Matters

Poland township will partner with Struthers Municipal Court Judge Dominic Leone and waste removal company Republic Services to provide community service opportunities for nonviolent offenders. Court-mandated community service can be completed by picking up litter in the township and maintaining the recycling center. Mahoning Matters

A warrant has been issued for 44-year-old Robert Shelton for aggravated murder and a weapons charge in connection with a Sunday morning shooting that left three men dead. Killed at the Brothers of Power Classic Cars Club on Logan Avenue were 38-year-old Charles Pullen, 34-year-old Dymond Ortello and his brother, 32-year-old Daniel Ortello. WFMJ

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley announced the 2019 Centennial Campaign raised $3,454,454, which exceeded the $3 million goal. That is the most money raised in United Way’s history, beating the previous record of $3,352,973 in 1991. WKBN

The Eastwood Event Centre at the Eastwood Mall complex is accepting bookings and is expected to be available for functions starting Oct. 1. The 33,000-square-foot building will be attached to the mall and the Residence Inn by Marriott. The event center will have the capacity of hosting as many as 1,000 guests for a sit-down dinner. The Business Journal

With about 3,300 parcels incorrectly charged about $631,000 in Mahoning County library levy payments, state legislators looking at ways to possibly reimburse them are finding the General Assembly doesn't have much interest in rectifying the situation. The parcels are in the boundaries of the Alliance, Columbiana, Hubbard and Leetonia school districts and were incorrectly billed an average of $44.92 to $50.31 a year. The Vindicator

Movers and Makers

Terrill Vidale is making waves in the entertainment industry with locally owned 2Deep Entertainment. With more than 100 clients in 20 states — including celebrities DJ Luke Nasty, Meek Mill, Juicy J and cast members from Wild ‘n Out — Vidale has turned his hometown business into a national force. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“No one is holding them accountable. A report gets filed, state inspector comes out, no evidence the day they inspect, nothing happens. It is a never ending cycle. Very sad.”

Mary Schwartz, on questions raised about accountability measures that keep nursing homes up to standard — or lack thereof.

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

Mill Creek MetroParks is hosting Jewels of Winter, a celebration and display of orchids, at Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave., Youngstown. This year’s theme showcases orchids as highly sought-after, Victorian-era jewels. Hundreds of orchids are on display throughout the D.D. and Velma Davis Center.

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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