Orchids & Onions

ONION: To the Federal Aviation Administration for incorrectly saying a grant to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport was lost because it had ”expired” due to delayed use. The FAA simply denied the airport’s request to use the grant on a T-hangar taxi lane. By saying the grant was lost, the airport and Aviation Director Dan Dickten were wrongly cast in a negative light, including an ONION in this column last week.

ORCHID: To the Champion Board of Education for joining the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments so Champion can seek services and products jointly with other districts which would reduce the cost of preparing bid and spec announcements.

ORCHID: To the Ohio House of Representatives for approving a measure that would bar local governments across the state from using cameras to determine whether motorists have run red lights or been speeding.

ONION: To Niles City Schools Treasurer Linda Molinaro who said she was unable to provide a copy of the teacher evaluation policies voted on by the board of education. It’s vital for the public to have access to school board information before members vote. Making public records readily available upon request is also the law.

ORCHID: to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 11, which represents 45 workers at the Trumbull County Highway Engineer’s Office, for approving a fact-finder’s report on a proposed contract. Several provisions in the proposed contract are favorable to taxpayers.

ORCHID: To First Book-Trumbull County members who spent much of the day Thursday distributing free books to more than 75 children at the Royal Mall housing complex in Niles.

ORCHID: To Trumbull County commissioners Frank Fuda, Dan Polivka and Paul Heltzel for approving a contract with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber to provide economic development services.

ORCHID: To Marcella Tolnar and Jeanine Spangler, both of Cortland, for saving 89-year-old Marian Izak of Austintown after Izak’s car caught fire in Howland.


Orchids & onions

ORCHID: To the Mahoning Valley Scrappers minor league baseball organization for bringing quality entertainment to Eastwood Field in Niles for the past 15 years.

ONION: To Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corp. Executive Board Chairman Kim Phillips and the rest of the 25-member board of trustees for what appear to be many violations of the nonprofit organization’s bylaws. There is no record of the full board meeting for about five years despite bylaws that require that the full board conduct more frequent business such as electing trustees, electing officers, providing financial oversight and approving hires. More should be expected from those responsible for an organization that accepts taxpayer dollars and is granted tax-free status by the IRS.

ONION: To Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corp. Director Anthony Iannucci for dodging transparency by refusing to share what appears to be public information, such as meeting minutes, with Warren City Council, which supports the agency with taxpayer money.

ORCHID: To the William Swanston Charitable Fund that awarded $106,750 in grants to eight community organizations seeking to make a difference in the lives of Mahoning Valley children and their families.

ORCHID: To Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel, who was sworn in Tuesday. Merkel announced that creating a street crime unit would be a top priority. That sounds like an excellent strategy to address one of the biggest problems in the city.

ONION: To Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport Director Daniel Dickten for losing a $30,000 federal grant because the money sat unused since 2009. The grant expired after four years.

ONION: To Niles City Schools for operating a bus garage without a working toilet and for needing a threat from the city before providing this important modern convenience for its employees there.

ORCHID: To ValleyCare Health Systems of Ohio for its $20 million Northside Medical Center expansion that shows a strong commitment to serving Trumbull and Mahoning counties.


ORCHID: To the Landscape and Horticultural Technology students and teacher Raul Kemp of TCTC for the hard work and use of their skills at the Trumbull County Veterans’ Memorial. Students partnered with Friends of the Greenhouse Consortium’s volunteers to clean the beds, amend the soil and plant more than 500 annuals for Memorial Day observances. Thank you, Mr. Kemp and students.

ONION: For the developments causing about 400 civilian employees being served notice of proposed furloughs resulting in the Youngstown Air Reserve Station possibly being closed on Mondays from July 15 to Aug. 26. While the flights may be grounded, the logistics of how the station will be affected still are uncertain. All services at the base will be shut down while the employees are forced to take their unpaid leave with the exception of the security and safety departments.

ORCHID: To the Greater Youngstown Area Soap Box Derby, which will be held today at the Trumbull County Agriculture and Family Education Center in Cortland. Drivers ages 8 to 17 from Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties will compete in three divisions. Winners continue on to the International Soap Box Derby held in July in Akron.

ORCHID: To the Trumbull County commissioners and Executive Dog Warden Gwen Logan for holding “License Fine Forgiveness Days” June 11 to 13. The normal $14 fee is doubled to $28 after Jan. 31. For those renewing dog licenses, there is no fine for late renewal.

ORCHID: To the Bazetta Township Police Department and Mosquito Lake Marina for hosting the 10th annual Safety Day today at Mosquito Lake State Park. The event will include vehicles and representatives from local police and fire departments, state and federal agencies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

ORCHID: To the fourth-graders at Newton Falls Intermediate School who tracked the daily journey of local resident Arthur Dunn, 75, who walked around the perimeter of the state of Ohio in April and May. Dunn spoke recently to the more than 100 fourth-grade students, sharing slides and information he kept in a daily diary of his trip around the state.

Orchids & Onions

ORCHID: To Robert Sines, the new dean for the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology at Kent State University. Sines previously served as the interim dean for Kent State University at Trumbull from 2003 to 2006 and most recently as the Trumbull campus dean since 2010.

ONION: To Warren City Council members who voted against selling Old Avalon Golf Course. The delay pretty much ruins any chance of salvaging the business and means the acreage is that much more likely to be turned into a housing development.

ORCHID: To Eastern Gateway Community College President Laura Meeks on wining the 2013 Athena Award that recognizes area business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen careers, provided leadership in the community and mentored or contributed to the growth of other professional women.

ORCHID: To Alaina Hoolihan, a 2012 Howland High School graduate, who earned a role on the TV series ”Hit the Floor,” which premiered Monday on VH1.

ORCHID: To the Trumbull County Educational Service Center on receiving a $242,000 Early Literacy and Reading Readiness grant from the Ohio Department of Education. The money is used to improve reading development for kindergarten through third-grade students.

ORCHID: To Warren YWCA Director Shari L. Harrell, who will assume a new position as director of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

ORCHID: To the Raymond John Wean Foundation on receiving Heritage Ohio’s Best Commercial Rehabilitation Award for its historic renovation of the Market Block Building at 147 W. Market St. in downtown Warren.