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Your Morning Matters: The fall of summer

With Black people in the Valley facing obstacles to jobs and promotions, some leaders have decided it's no longer going to be business as usual.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, and, officially, summer is dead. Long live fall.

Summer is my favorite season here in Northeast Ohio. I love each day in August. 

By the time September rolls around, we’re already back in school, the days get shorter and, in the case of the past weekend, there are frost warnings. So while the calendar says summer ends Sept. 21, we know that is a lie. 

Heck, Youngstown State University’s fall semester is in its sixth week!

Ah, fall. Pumpkin beer and lattes. Leaves, leaves and more leaves. So many leaves. Must get rid of all of the leaves. Football. Weird, crowdless football. Socially distanced Halloween. Socially distanced voting. Socially distanced Thanksgiving when we will all argue about the results of socially distanced voting. 

Our friends at “Ohio: Find it Now” have gifted us with “100 Things to do in Ohio this Fall,” and it is full of stuff to do — until winter sets in, generally from late October through April (followed by sprinter from May through July). And we have so much to look forward to this winter. Like, what will sitting on Santa’s lap look like this year? 

Actually, in 1976, “Saturday Night Live” featured a faux commercial for “Santi-Wrap — the colorful, decorative and hygienic way to protect yourself from germs carried by the likes of a part-time Santa Claus.” There’s prescient, and then there’s 44 years prescient. 

Some good news? This awful, awful year has just 100 days left. I can’t wait for socially distanced New Year’s Eve. I remember toasting the end of 2019. Those seem like the good, old days.

Let’s be careful out there.

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

After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police during Memorial Day weekend — and the subsequent protests that bloomed across the country — activists in the Mahoning Valley focused on challenges to advancement for people of color.

The increased scrutiny prompted by a summer of calls for racial justice has revealed Black people in the Mahoning Valley face persistent and often unrecognized obstacles to jobs and promotions. In Youngstown, some leaders have decided it's no longer going to be business as usual. 


  • In the U.S.: 6,762,732 confirmed cases; 200,903 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Sept. 21.
  • In Ohio: 145,165 confirmed and suspected cases; 4,623 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 150,812 confirmed cases; 8,004 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 3,003 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County; 1,853 in Trumbull; and 1,920 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 27,147.70, down 509.72 points, or 1.84 percent.

Other matters

The 10th annual Nonviolence Parade and Rally on Oct. 4 will have a different format because of the coronavirus pandemic. The parade kicks off Nonviolence Week in Ohio and will be a procession of cars, trucks and floats ending with an in-vehicle rally in the Covelli Centre parking lot. Mahoning Matters

Ohio and Republican groups, including the Trump campaign, are fighting to uphold a GOP election chief's directive limiting ballot drop boxes in the presidential battleground to one per county. Mahoning Matters

Mahoning County Public Health has scheduled nine flu shot clinics in October throughout the county, and you can find the complete list at

All classes at Newton Falls Schools were moved to remote learning Monday "based upon a possible COVID result in the district," Principal John Crowder said. WKBN

Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Pearce Foundation, the Salem Police Department is buying 14 new Watchguard V-300 body cameras. The department already has six body cams it got in 2015. WKBN

Warren City Council is considering “Mow to Own” legislation that would let residents take ownership of adjacent, vacant properties if they maintain the land for a year. WFMJ

Attorney John Juhasz has asked Mahoning County Domestic Relations Judge Beth Smith to postpone a protection order hearing scheduled for today because of concerns that it cannot be carried out effectively. In a prior hearing, the court reporter advised him "she could not produce an accurate record.” The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Difference Makers

A Mahoning Valley-based Facebook group, “Kind Hearts, Blessed Souls” allowed users to donate items and services to people in need. Michelle McDonald, a social work student at Youngstown State University, started the page in December 2019 and now has almost 18,000 members. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Eastwood Mall.

In case you missed it

Chromaticity, powered by two Youngstown State University entrepreneurs, is building an interactive lighting display for downtown Warren’s David Grohl Alley. John Galvin, an information technology student at YSU, started Chromaticity in 2018 to construct LED lights for the Canfield High School marching band’s drumline. Mahoning Matters

This story was made possible by Farmers National Bank.

Your comments matter

“Sad. Leave babies alone. Unacceptable!”

Wendy Shood-Blevins, on a gunman walking into a Struthers home and opening fire early Monday, killing a 4-year-old and wounding four adults.

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

Youngstown State University Department of Art faculty member Christine McCullough will discuss her artwork from “Enigmatic Reflections: Department of Art Faculty Exhibition” at 1 p.m. Click here to watch the Facebook Live discussion. The “Enigmatic Reflections” exhibit will be on display at the John J. McDonough Museum of Art until Oct. 24.

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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