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Your Morning Matters: Shop Local! Give Hope!

COVID-19 cases continue to explode in Ohio, and Ohioans don't even have a full accounting of how bad this past week was.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, and a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the Mahoning Matters team recognizes that the current business climate is certainly unprecedented and will be challenging for all, especially during this holiday season.

In thinking of a way we could all band together and try to make it a little better — and even help others along the way — we’ve developed the Shop Local! Give Hope! program, with the help of our great partners at TEMA Roofing Services.

In short, we want to inspire our audience to consider the importance of spending local dollars to support those businesses that are such a vital part of our communities by purchasing gift cards during the holiday season.

The campaign will take place through Dec. 18 at participating Valley businesses, including merchants, bars, restaurants, etc., that we will list on our site soon. For each gift card purchased during this time, each business will earmark 2 percent to donate to two valuable organization: the Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley. Then, TEMA Roofing Services, your commercial/industrial roofing experts, will match the total collected for a subsequent donation to both organizations.

In addition, we plan some Facebook Live “Card Mobs” on our site. During these promotions, we will appeal for people to visit selected Valley businesses for “Random Acts of Cardness.” People who spend $50 on gift cards at that appointed time will receive an extra $5 gift card that can be used or gifted to others. Perhap you’ll even hand it off to a random person that day! 

We hope this program in some small way makes a difference as we navigate the holiday season. If you have any feedback, questions, etc., please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at

Here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

COVID-19 cases continue to explode in Ohio, and Ohioans don't even have a full accounting of how bad this past week was. The Ohio Department of Health has provided incomplete COVID-19 case data since Wednesday. 

During Thursday's briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine explained a backlog of 12,000 unverified cases has not yet been added to the total tally this week, meaning the daily case totals are likely substantially higher. We have all the grim stats in our weekly trends recap today.

Other matters

Liz Dreier's family is grappling with Thanksgiving dinner traditions this week: "This year, it looks as if we’ll be hosting a Zoom Thanksgiving celebration. With some family members working in offices and classrooms and others being in the high-risk category, our family is on board with the idea of staying safe." Mahoning Matters

Fired former FirstEnergy executives improperly paid a firm tied to a future Ohio utility regulator about $4 million early last year to terminate "a purported consulting agreement" that had been in place since 2013, one of the nation's largest electric utilities told federal regulators Thursday. Mahoning Matters

City leaders in the Mahoning Valley are fighting against proposed legislation in the Ohio Senate that would eliminate their ability to collect income taxes from people working remotely, outside of the communities where their jobs are located. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Members of Ohio Nurses Association/East Liverpool Nurses Association Local 5903 at East Liverpool City Hospital hit the picket line early Saturday, protesting what they call unfair labor practices by the hospital administration. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Bruno Brothers Pizza announced Saturday on its social media pages that it will be closing all locations temporarily “to take precautions due to COVID.” There are locations in Boardman, Austintown and Struthers. WKBN

The Bazetta Township Fire Department is making several changes to its operations in an attempt to limit interactions to protect firefighters from potential exposure to COVID-19. WFMJ

Movers and Makers

Suzanne’s fashion boutique will celebrate its 45th anniversary during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Suzanne Kessler and her late sister, Kathy Kane, originally opened The Tennis Connection in Niles on Black Friday in 1975. Now named Suzanne’s, the store eventually moved to Boardman and is now located at 813 Boardman-Poland Road. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“Their dream came true. And that tree is in better shape than the one in [New York City].

Melissa Kenyon, on Patrick Kulewsky of Boardman who, two months before his death Wednesday, called the city of Youngstown and offered the overgrown pine tree in his front yard to be used for the city's annual Christmas tree. The tree was lit Friday in his memory.  

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.

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