Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters
It's Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, and following Insurrection Wednesday and Impeachment Wednesday, Inauguration Wednesday proved to be the least harrowing Wednesday so far in 2021.
And after President Joe Biden took his oath yesterday, he spoke some words that I am compelled to amplify today:
“I understand that many Americans view the future with some fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs, about taking care of their families, about what comes next. I get it. But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you do, or worship the way you do, or don’t get their news from the same sources you do.
“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility. If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment.
“Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you. There are some days when we need a hand. There are other days when we’re called on to lend one. That is how we must be with one another. And, if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future.”
There’s a lot to get done. I think we need to resolve to pull together and take on real threats from COVID-19 spread to its impact on the economy to a shared common desire to return to some normalcy. I’d like to sit at a bar again and play Keno. How about you?
Let’s hope for the best, and let’s be careful out there.
Now, here's what you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:
As I said, newly inaugurated President Joe Biden called for national unity Wednesday, after he and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office.
U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan and Youngstown City Council members Samantha Turner and Anita Davis were among the political leaders who shared their reactions. “It’s just a very emotional day to be in this place of transition and to be in elected office to show that we are here and we are committed to this community," Turner said.
- In the U.S.: 23,959,199 confirmed cases; 398,906 deaths, according to infection2020.com at 9 p.m. Jan. 20.
- In Ohio: 842,422 confirmed or suspected cases; 10,409 deaths.
- In Pennsylvania: 783,170 confirmed cases; 19,868 deaths.
- In the Mahoning Valley: 17,035 confirmed or suspected cases in Mahoning County; 12,604 in Trumbull; and 7,202 in Columbiana.
- Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 31,188.38, up 257.86 points, or 0.83 percent.
State and local officials want to make it easier for Ohio seniors to register for and get the coronavirus vaccine, but it’s still a “work in progress,” as Gov. Mike DeWine has said. To that end, Mahoning County Public Health will hire temporary workers to answer phone lines that became inundated last week. Mahoning Matters
Youngstown Health Commissioner Erin Bishop told the city council that about 3,200 people signed up on the Youngstown City Health District’s website to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B. Bishop asked for patience as her department contacts people who registered. Mahoning Matters
Making the state’s vaccination problem worse: A Columbus pharmacy responsible for distributing the vaccine to nursing homes failed to document storage temperatures for leftover shots, resulting in 890 wasted doses, the state Health Department said. Mahoning Matters
For just the third time in history, one of America’s national jackpot games is nearing the $1 billion mark. Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing did not produce a winner, and the jackpot for Friday’s drawing has now increased to an estimated $970 million. WFMJ
Mandy Jenkins, Mahoning Matters’ publisher, talked to The Business Journal about how local news proved its worth during uncertain times. [May require registration.]
The Rev. Michael Swierz, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Hubbard, which was heavily damaged in Monday's fire, said all events will continue as planned and will be moved to the parish center. Masses at 4 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday will go on as scheduled. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]
The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is hiring already for its grass-cutting and cleanup team. It’s a full-time position that pays $17 per hour. WKBN
In case you missed it
Local school districts looking to vaccinate adult staff against coronavirus are getting backup from vaccinating retailers like Giant Eagle and Marc’s to meet Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal of having kids back in the classroom by March 1. Mahoning Matters
Your comments matter
“As of today we will have a federal response to COVID. Should be a relief.”
— Kevin Quinby, on Mahoning County Public Health making several temporary hires to work phone lines that became inundated last week after the agency opened up registration for the coronavirus vaccine to those age 65 and older.
Event of the day
The Mahoning Valley Historical Society will debut “Tokens of Affection: Historic Valentine Greetings” in its monthly Bites and Bits of History online video presentation at noon. Jessica Trickett, MVHS collections manager, will demonstrate various greetings and traditions related to Valentine’s Day during the program, which will be available on MVHS' YouTube channel.
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