Orchids & onions

ORCHID: To the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley for exceeding its 2012 fundraising goal of $2.5 million. The organization raised $2,504,224. Meanwhile, ONION to the United Way of Trumbull County, which cut its charitable disbursals by 10 percent across the board, for not joining forces with its more successful Mahoning County counterpart.

ONION: To Warren police Chief Tim Bowers for constantly reminding, complaining and whining about the number of officers at his disposal. Commenting on the recent increase in heroin use locally, Bowers said, ”It’s a battle that we’re fighting with limited manpower, finances, resources.” Bowers using approximately six months of accumulated vacation in the seven months, or thereabouts, before his retirement, contributes to any shortage of workers.

ONION: To the Trumbull County Republican Party for failing to produce a single candidate in the May primary. Even the Green Party produced two – probably in an attempt to stymie the oil and natural gas industry. Trumbull County’s Republicans must be completely satisfied with how county and local government is operating.

ORCHID: For a unique project involving rain barrels. A presentation on the barrels was held at the Raymond John Wean Foundation Building, hosted by Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership and the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District. More than 45 people attended. The barrels can be placed by the side of a home and connected to downspouts to handle stormwater runoff, which is good for the environment.

ORCHID: For the formation of a group promoting downtown Youngstown. It’s called the Downtown Business Alliance of Youngstown and will serve as a conduit between downtown businesses and city government.

ORCHID: To about 40 female farmers who attended an informational program on women in agriculture in Cortland recently. The program was hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and included speakers from that agency, The Ohio State University Extension and the U.S. Farm Service Agency on topics such as seasonal high tunnels and farm loans.

Orchids & Onions

ORCHID: To the candidates who filed to run for office in the 2013 primary election. Too many qualified citizens prefer to refrain from this level of civic engagement.

ORCHID: To the many Mahoning Valley athletes who signed national letters of intent to play college sports next fall. The level of commitment and work it takes to reach the next level sets a positive example for others.

ONION: To the Newton Falls officials responsible for former City Manager Harry Benetis receiving $14,000 of pay for nine hours of work before firing him in January of 2012. Benetis was hired to start work on Jan. 1, 2012, but after a different faction came into the majority on that day, they voted to fire him. He sued and last week reached a settlement with Newton Falls Village County for $1,583 for every hour he was on the job.

ORCHID: To Dr. Jeff Williams on his appointment as the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County board president.

ORCHID: To Trumbull County officials who managed to complete a sanitary sewer project for Kinsman that will cost residents only $30.38 per month. A combination of local, state and federal grants and loans made it possible.

ORCHID: To Dale Foerster of Howland, vice president of Star Manufacturing in Vienna, who received the 2013 national Women In Manufacturing STEP Award. STEP (science, technology, engineering and production) is being given by the Manufacturing Institute, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the University of Phoenix and Deloitte.

ORCHID: To the six McCauley siblings – Lucille (Lubawski) of Newton Falls, Delmas of Lordstown, Jim of Hollyridge, N.C., Leonard of Richland, Va., Darrell of Champion and Junior of Grafton, W.Va. – who have been married for more than 50 years. Their parents were married for 49 years when their father died. Several other siblings are approaching 50 years of marriage.


Orchids & Onions

ONION: To Warren Mayor Doug Franklin for the false hope he spread in the wake of General Electric announcing that its Ohio Lamp plant in the city will close in early 2014. Franklin said the nearly one-year notification of the closing will give the city the chance to look at different options, including finding a new business for the site. That seems unlikely considering the city has had years to find new tenants for the Delphi plant on Dana Street and other abandoned factories throughout Warren.

ORCHID: To the estimated 65 area people who rode their bikes to work in downtown Warren last year. Plans are being made for this year’s event. The second annual ”Bike to Work Day” is being planned for 6 to 9 a.m. May 17 during National Bike Month. What a unique program. The committee making the plans include representatives of the Trumbull County Health Department, City of Warren, Greater Western Reserve Bikeway Trail, Trumbull Tourism Bureau and Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

ONION: To Vienna Fiscal Officer Vicki Anzur who said she has spoken with local banks about investment options for the $3.8 million inheritance tax windfall the township received, and that the use of the funds is limited by the Ohio Revised Code. While that is true on the surface, in reality the use of the funds is limited only by the imagination and hard work since any local state representative and senator worth their salt can, as it has been done many times in the past, change state law to permit using the money in any way that best serves taxpayers.

ONION: The the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative for lobbying against ”right to work” legislation that, if passed, could help Valley communities make employment gains.

ONION: Again to the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative for supporting Medicaid expansion to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states could opt out of the expansion as part of the federal healthcare program. Ohio should opt out to avoid massive budget increases that would hurt, in the long run, the very communities and people in them that the MVOC was created to help.

ORCHID: To students at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School who have formed a group to help animals called “Paws with a Cause.” The club president and founder is James Mitolo, a junior at the school, and the vice president is John Nader. The faculty adviser is Joy Huber and the club has more than 40 members.