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Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Akron Children’s Hospital, which this week announced a sizable expansion of its youth behavioral health program in the Mahoning Valley by the end of 2019. Sadly, the need to address these types of youth issues is growing. Akron Children’s recognizes that need and is stepping up with a $2.3 million project at a new space at the hospital’s Beeghly Campus, allowing it to double the number of patient visits in the region within the first 12 months.

• ORCHID: To the city of Girard and the Trumbull County Planning Commission for partnering together to seek a $500,000 brownfield cleanup grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that, if approved, would be used to remediate and redevelop the former Girard Leatherworks property for recreational and commercial use. Teamwork like this on important economic development projects is critical because regionalized efforts generally are viewed more favorably in grant programs.

• ONION: To more than 2,000 people who still have not responded to administrative subpoenas requiring they file their income taxes with the city of Niles. The Regional Income Tax Agency, or RITA, has identified $267,868 in outstanding taxes owed to the city of Niles this year. What makes this situation even worse is that we are certain that city is not alone in this problem.

• ORCHID: To McDonald Board of Education and the district’s teachers union for staying focused in their work to reach a tentative agreement for a labor contract without dragging it on for significantly longer or using work stoppages that would have left students suffering. The tentative pact was hashed out after a seven-hour negotiation session this week. It came with commitment from both sides to stay at the bargaining table as long as it took and with the help of a federal mediator.

• ORCHID: To organizers and participants in this week’s commemoration of Black Monday held at the “confluence” of Campbell, Struthers and Youngstown. The event was much more than just looking back, though. It also pointed out the need to look forward and redevelop our area. “We don’t have the time or the luxury to cry over our spilled milk anymore,” said organizer Derrick McDowell. He’s right. We must keep looking ahead to grow our Valley.

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