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Orchids & onions

• ORCHID: to Howland High School senior Christian Sincich, who was one of 185 high school musicians from among 4,000 who auditioned to participate as part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Christian has been working toward this goal for years. Hard work really does pay off.

• ORCHID: To the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear an appeal filed by the family of Nasser Hamad, a Howland man convicted by a jury of aggravated murder who later died in prison. Despite Hamad’s death of natural causes, the family has continued to appeal the conviction, costing the taxpayer-funded Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office time and efforts to oppose the appeal. Hamad was convicted of killing two men and injuring three other people who came to his home uninvited. He later died in prison, but his family continued the legal wrangling through the 11th District Court of Appeals and to the Ohio Supreme Court.

• ONION: To the state plan that allows failing school districts to be designated as “challenged,” allowing new community schools to open in the district, thereby taking funds from the public schools. We see that as not only punishing the school districts for shortcomings, but ultimately hurting the students who still attend those schools. Trumbull County districts identified as challenged are Warren, Lordstown, Liberty, Mathews and Niles, based on the state report card data. There are 220 school districts across Ohio designated as challenged, representing more than a third of the state’s districts.

• ORCHID: To Liberty Board of Education members intending to ask voters for about half the amount they are now paying for a permanent improvement levy to fund new buses, roofs and parking lot repairs. Members of the board this week said they wanted to give taxpayers a break, and so they plan to reduce a 4.2-mill levy to 2.5 mills. We always are pleased to see government officials realize they should not ask voters for more than they need.

• ORCHID: To all those involved in planning and honoring longtime local artist Al Bright at a memorial service Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art. The artist died Oct. 28 at age 79. Bright taught art at Youngstown State University for more than 40 years and was known internationally for his artwork, which has been featured locally at many locations including the Butler. More than 250 people gathered for the memorial celebration.

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