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Your Morning Matters: The lawn and short of it

The Mahoning Matters team asked local providers how they're preparing to grow what's already the largest mass vaccination effort in our lifetime.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It’s Wednesday, March 3, 2021, and on this day in 2000, Mahoning County Court Judge Martin Emrich was indicted on charges of racketeering and conspiracy/extortion.

That people in power in Youngstown were indicted 21 years ago for corruption is not exactly earth-shattering Valley history. But what Emrich did is something of a cringe-inducing chapter in the Valley's corruption legacy. 

I mean, sure, he was accused of the typical Valley antics of that era, like taking bribes and fixing cases. According to, Lenny Strollo, “the Pittsburgh crime family’s capo in the region at the time, controlled all vice in the cities and communities surrounding Youngstown.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Emrich “took $65,000 from Strollo to overlook illegal gambling.” 

But even that wasn’t enough to earn a place in infamy. had the details in a story about the March 12, 1999, testimony that Strollo gave when he took the stand to give his “behind-the-scenes account of organized crime in northern Ohio. His testimony touched on everything from his youth repairing vending machines to Cleveland's bloody mob war of the late 1970s to the series of Mafia-related shootings that erupted in Youngstown in 1996.”

And finally this: “When his stepson was charged with a DUI, Strollo said he took care of Judge Martin Emrich by having landscaping work done at his house.” Yes, a couple of decades ago, you could get a case fixed in exchange for a few mows and maybe some edging. Not a good look. I like to think the Valley’s in a much better place these days.

Let’s make today count!

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

By Thursday, 900,000 additional Ohioans — those age 60 and older and those working in specific occupations — are set to become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. With more than 3 million Ohioans seeking the COVID-19 vaccination, appointments remain elusive. 

Ohioans bounce between private vaccine providers and local government health departments — a frantic hunt for a place in a growing and already dizzyingly long line. The Mahoning Matters team asked local providers how they're preparing to grow what's already the largest mass vaccination effort in our lifetime. And don’t forget to check out our Vaccine FAQs for the latest.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 28,717,134 confirmed cases; 516,456 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. March 2.
  • In Ohio: 970,583 confirmed or suspected cases; the new adjusted COVID-19 death total is 16,750.
  • In Pennsylvania: 935,834 confirmed cases; 24,100 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 19,470 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 14,337 in Trumbull; and 8,134 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 31,391.52, down 143.99 points, or 0.46 percent.

Other matters

Among the Valley titans of industry in today's Business Updates are Ellwood Aluminum, the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber and The Landmark Restaurant. Mahoning Matters

Your good ideas needed: Lit Youngstown is seeking proposals for its fifth annual Fall Literary Festival. Set for Oct. 7-9, it will be centered around the theme “Our Shared Story.” Mahoning Matters

Good news about teens: A group of high school students is transforming a downtown Columbiana alleyway into the Columbiana Corridor. WKBN

Jobs that go ’round and ’round: Cedar Point is planning to hire 6,500 people for the upcoming season and will host a virtual hiring event March 13. WFMJ

The Ultium Cells and Lordstown Motors Corp. projects helped Ohio lead the nation in new corporate facility projects per capita in 2020, according to Site Selection, a corporate real estate economic development magazine. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

The Rev. Monsignor Michael Cariglio of the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church had 14 destroyed statues removed from outside the church so that parishioners coming to Mass this past weekend didn’t have to “see the desecration.” The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Chris Gunther of Youngstown grew up with the goal to be one of the biggest media personalities in the world. Now, he’s working to make that dream a reality with his own local, web-based interview show. Mahoning Matters

Event of the day

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, a headlining Metropolitan Opera soloist and Musical America’s 2019 Vocalist of the Year, will headline a Donald P. Pipino Performing Arts Series virtual event at 7 p.m. He also will give a master class at 4 p.m. Thursday. Both events, available on the Pipino Performing Arts website, are free and open to the public.

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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