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Your Morning Matters: Trick or (socially distanced) Treat!

Ohioans are drawing attention to legislation in other states that allows a relative of a nursing home resident access as an “essential caregiver.”

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters.

It's Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, and I know it’s a bit early, but have any of you considered any innovative ideas for a socially distanced trick-or-treating come Halloween?

The early word is that communities are going ahead with it. If you don’t want your youngsters exposed, keep them home, and if you don’t want to participate, turn your porch light off (and clean up the eggs in the morning). 

I keep trustees’ phone numbers handy just for that purpose.

I was nudged to consider this by my friend and former colleague Suzanne Kathro who posted this on Facebook from NBC affiliate KARK/KARZ in Little Rock, Ark.: “Ohio man creates socially distanced candy chute to save Halloween.” Essentially, a clever person attached a tube at the top of his front porch stairs that will allow candy to slide, presumably, into a costumed Halloweener’s bag.

Those of us without a steep front porch (just one step here) have to consider Plan B.

I have considered borrowing a T-shirt gun and then blasting candy out to the street, but the potential for mayhem seems unreasonably high (but it still sounds like a lot of fun). This guy has built a rather complex remote candy-delivery system, and the fact that he came up with it a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic might make him the Thomas Alva Edison of remote candy-delivery systems. But that seems like a lot of work. And who has time to get an engineering degree at this point?

So I’m open to innovative ideas. I did the bowl-full-of-candy thing the year I had bronchitis for Halloween. But then kids have to all root around the same bowl with sticky fingers, etc. Sounds like a chocolatey coronavirus bouillabaisse.

So send me your ideas. Have a fun weekend and let’s be careful out there.

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

After months of being blocked from visiting with and caring for loved ones in nursing homes, hundreds of Ohioans are mobilizing a grassroots effort to draw attention to legislation in other states that allows a designated relative of a resident access as an “essential caregiver.”

Before one Valley daughter checked her 85-year-old mother out of a Boardman facility, she described the monthslong deterioration: disheveled hair, unbrushed teeth and crying when the family "visited" from the other side of a first-floor window. "Get me out of here," she told her family. "It’s a prison."


  • In the U.S.: 6,597,101 confirmed cases; 198,261 deaths, according to at 10 p.m. Sept. 17.
  • In Ohio: 141,585 confirmed and suspected cases; 4,580 deaths.
  • In Pennsylvania: 147,923 confirmed cases; 7,913 deaths.
  • In the Mahoning Valley: 2,968 confirmed and suspected cases in Mahoning County, 1,837 in Trumbull and 1,912 in Columbiana. 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 27,901.98, down 130.40 points, or 0.47 percent.

Other matters

This week, attorney David Betras shares some harrowing case examples demonstrating how so-called tort reform has impacted victims of childhood sexual abuse. Today he discusses "two disturbing cases now at the center of a movement to repeal unwarranted — and unconstitutional —  damage-award caps that are damaging the lives of too many Ohioans." Mahoning Matters

Are you registered to vote? The Jewish Community Center of Youngstown and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation will have a voter registration drive with the League of Women Voters from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the JCC, 505 Gypsy Lane. Mahoning Matters

Youngstown State University hosted a Constitution Day livestreamed public practice session for the YSU moot court team Thursday, the same day new rankings for the American Moot Court Association were released. YSU is ranked sixth in the nation for moot court oral advocacy. Mahoning Matters

A helicopter carefully placed the air conditioning units atop the new Meijer in Boardman on Thursday. WKBN

A landmark bank building that has long been the focal point at Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard will be demolished to make way for a Dunkin Donuts. WKBN

Downtown Youngstown has become the Mecca for Northeast Ohio gun owners since Monday when the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office opened the permit process to walk-in applicants. WFMJ

West Coast Chill Inc., a separate but affiliated company with Joseph Co. International, owes $300,000 in unpaid athletic sponsorship dues to YSU. Mitchell Joseph, an alumnus of YSU and chairman and CEO of West Coast Chill and Joseph Co., signed the agreement. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

Phil Chance Jr., who resigned from the Youngstown Police Department in 2012, pleaded guilty Wednesday to six counts of tampering with records. He could get up to three years in prison when Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentences him Jan. 15. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Our political expert Bill "Doc" Binning promises this will be a "humdinger" of an election. And he has some advice: "As the old adage goes: If you decide you don’t like where the nation is headed, and you did not vote, don’t bother complaining." Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Innovative! Voting matters.”

Jack Zaku, on a drive-thru voter registration event scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of the Academy of Urban Scholars, 3405 Market St., Youngstown.

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

Uncork and unwind at The Vineyards at Pine Lake, 14101 Market St., Columbiana, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sip on wine in the vineyards while overlooking the lake. For details and cost, click here

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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