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Your Morning Matters: The daring old man on the flying canopy

The Ohio Department of Health on Monday consolidated several COVID-19 health orders into a single, simplified directive.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Tuesday, April 6, 2021, and Sunday was one of those great spring days in the Valley when the weather was in the upper 60s and everyone seemed to go outside. The air was filled with the shouts of kids playing, the whirring of motors of blowers and trimmers and Mark screaming obscenities at the wind.

It was Easter, traditionally marked as the celebration of renewal and resurrection among Christians, just a week after Passover, the Jewish celebration of freedom and liberation. And I was one of many who felt renewed and liberated just by getting outside to get some work done in the sun. 

Our deck and patio feature gazebos and more furniture than I care to think of — until it is all out there. The saddest day of the fall, usually in late October, is when we have to take "The Flamingo Lounge" down. Everything has a place: in the garage or the basement or wrapped on the patio. The happiest day is when it is all set up and I'm enjoying a frosty beverage. Before I get to that beverage, there are LOTS of steps. Easily, the most challenging step is getting the canopy onto the patio gazebo.

The patio gazebo is one of those double-topped jobs that features a main canopy and a little mini-canopy on top of it. In theory, you situate the main canopy in place then secure the mini-canopy before completely securing the main one. Except, each spring, the slightest breeze makes the main canopy flop around — or completely off — in the mere minute it takes to secure the top piece. And I'm managing this on a ladder.

The third time I let loose a series of invectives so ludicrously loud and vulgar that my wife — on ground control and trying to "help" me by using a broom to hold the canopy in place and failing — responded with THAT look. “We have neighbors,” she reminded me using THAT voice. 

Not my best moment. Still, we secured the gazebo on the fourth try, and soon I was relishing a frosty beverage. And I offer my apologies to the neighborhood.

Let’s make today count!

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

The Ohio Department of Health on Monday consolidated several COVID-19 health orders into a single, simplified directive. It’s all “common sense” stuff, said Gov. Mike DeWine — things Ohioans have been doing for more than a year.

The new, simplified order focuses on the core tenets of protecting against the virus: wearing a mask, social distancing, limiting large gatherings and washing your hands, said ODH Director Stephanie McCloud. Reporter Justin Dennis breaks it all down.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 30,775,094 confirmed cases; 555,381 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. April 5.
  • In Ohio: 1,026,929 confirmed and suspected cases; 18,643 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,045,400 confirmed cases; 25,200 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 20,421 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County; 15,198 in Trumbull; and 8,405 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 33,527.19, up 373.98 points, or 1.13 percent.

Other matters

Investigators believe the 27-year-old man killed in a shooting during the Friday night concert at Utopia Video Nightclub was the attack’s intended target, city police said Monday afternoon. Mahoning Matters

A year ago, scientists, politicians and the public alike hoped the warmer summer weather would slow the spread of the coronavirus. Instead, the summer of 2020 brought the largest spikes in cases. What will happen this year? Mahoning Matters

Dam removal work on the Mahoning River in Mahoning County is resuming for 2021. Struthers is the next community to have its dam removed. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

The Trumbull County Administration building, closed since November because of COVID-19, has reopened to the public. WKBN

Ohio's "Stand Your Ground" law, which changes the legal requirement to try to leave a situation before deadly force is used, goes into effect today. WFMJ

Youngstown's Democratic candidates for mayor will face off in a debate hosted by 21 WFMJ-TV on April 12 at Stambaugh Auditorium.

Chris Allen, the talent acquisition specialist for Ultium Cells, says the company is willing to train new hires, and the connections with Youngstown State University help recent graduates. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

In case you missed it

“Your concept, your vision, our space” is how Mary Ann Meyer, owner of Concept Studio, described the open-concept event space in downtown Youngstown. The business opened in 2019 and had to quickly — and successfully — adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“I didn't vote for Rusu but I have to hand it to him. This is a good idea. I wonder if we could use deputized librarians to provide more government documents and services?”

Gary Hassay, on Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. launching the court’s updated website and forming a partnership with the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County to authorize the library to provide certified copies of marriage records.

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 Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown, is opening its new musical exhibit, "Front Row Center: Icons of Rock, Blues and Soul." The iconic photographs of Larry Hulst feature some of rock’s greatest performers. From Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to David Bowie and Lauryn Hill, "Front Row Center: Icons of Rock, Blues and Soul" brings together more than 70 images of legendary musicians and singers across three genres and generations. The exhibit will be displayed until June 27. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.

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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