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Your Morning Matters: Thinking about Lincoln

In the face of an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases, some local officials are shutting down their communities in order to stop the latest surge.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, and on this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa.

In just 271 words, Lincoln summed up the triumphs and tragedies of war and the very fate of the country: "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

And while some folks these days seem to fantasize about a new civil war based on comparatively smaller ideological differences, Lincoln and others knew well then about the pain and suffering of the domestic war that had gripped the nation. 

In Ohio, the war-era governor was Youngstown's David Tod. As Ohio History Central tells us, "Rather than join with the Peace Democrats in opposing the war, Tod chose to become part of the Union Party, a new party consisting of pro-war Democrats and Republicans, and supported Lincoln's administration. As a result, the Union Party chose Tod as its gubernatorial candidate in 1861. Tod easily defeated Democrat Hugh J. Jewett and became the state's governor in 1862."

Months after the Gettysburg address, Lincoln sent Tod this telegram: "I have nominated you to be Secretary of the Treasury, in place of Governor Chase, who has resigned. Please come without a moment's delay." Unfortunately, Tod decided his poor health would be an obstacle and passed on the president's offer. He died from a stroke four years later in 1868.

Lincoln still has a looming presence in Youngstown. A life-size portrait, "Abraham Lincoln, Age 22 by Norman Rockwell," adorns a prominent spot at The Butler Institute of American Art. And for some good reading, my sister Karen Roth, the inspiration behind today’s headline, contributed to a great book, “Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,” available on Amazon.

Let’s be careful out there!

Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

In the face of an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases, some local officials are doing what Gov. Mike DeWine won't: shutting down their communities in order to stop the latest surge. As DeWine traveled the state to tout his “slow down, not shut down” plan, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Montgomery and Medina counties issued stay-at-home advisories. 

In another measure of the state's struggle to manage the coronavirus surge, the Ohio Department of Health failed to update its coronavirus dashboard with new data Wednesday. A banner across the website read, "Today's data is incomplete; thousands of reports are pending review."

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 11,266,994 confirmed cases; 248,982 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Nov. 18.
  • In Ohio: 230,209 confirmed or suspected cases; 5,623 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 243,368 cases; 9,145 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 4,945 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 3,301 in Trumbull; and 2,569 in Columbiana.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 29,397.63, up 23.29 points, or 0.079 percent.

Other matters

Thanksgiving is next week, and many Valley businesses and organizations are creating ways for residents to more safely navigate the Thanksgiving holiday with bake-at-home meals, free dinners and other alternatives. Check out — and add to — our list! Mahoning Matters

In a survey of more than 30 state economists, the majority said federal help is crucial to helping Ohio's businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, however, Congress is deadlocked on a new COVID-19 relief package. Mahoning Matters

Home Instead Senior Care's annual "Be a Santa to a Senior" program is kicking off. This year, the program is hoping to serve up to 500 seniors across the Valley through Dec. 9. WFMJ

The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which includes schools such as Slippery Rock University, has announced the cancellation of its mandated regular season and championship competition for winter sports. WKBN

Youngstown's latest monthly income tax collection was less than projected, but is a rebound from the prior month, which was among the worst during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

Eastern Gateway Community College has sought a waiver from the Ohio Department of Higher Education of tuition and fees for students in Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson counties. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Rust Belt Print Shop will present Christmas at the Boxcar on weekends through Dec. 20, offering customized locally made gifts. Along with seasonal decor, items available include customized pillows, mugs, gift bags and wine bags. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

In case you missed it

Gov. Mike DeWine's latest attempt to stem the exponential spread of the coronavirus: a 21-day statewide curfew. Starting today, Ohioans will be required to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exemptions include essential work, health care needs, emergencies, grocery shopping and takeout. The curfew aims to stem spread by reducing social gatherings. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“What a great idea! I hope they integrate regenerative agriculture into their program.”

Jan Douglass, on an Ohio program that pairs new farmers with experienced sustainable farmers for insight and guidance.

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 Mahoning Valley Historical Society will debut “The Art of the Glassblower” in its monthly Bites and Bits of History video presentation at noon. George W. Johnson, an author and Christmas antiques collector, will cover the history and techniques of glass-blown holiday ornaments and decorations. The presentation will be available on MVHS’ YouTube channel.

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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