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Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Bill Paxson of Farmington, who was so inspired by the words of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald J. Rice that Paxson researched and wrote “Searching for Common Law and Representative Government,” a look back at early and mid-medieval European history for a representative form of government. The book, published this year, is Paxson’s seventh. He presented a signed copy to Rice recently to show appreciation for the inspiration that came in the form of a jury charge before the capital murder case of Nasser Hamad in late 2017. Paxson ultimately was excused from jury duty on the case, but said Rice’s speech “lit a fire under my butt” that led him to start extensively researching the topic.

• ORCHID: To the Mathews High School girls’ varsity basketball team, which collected 3,000 pounds of dog and cat food to donate to the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County. The girls started the collection in October and weren’t deterred later when the viral outbreak caused their season to be postponed; they agreed to continue and accepted donations at local businesses, got some help from Giant Eagle and Walmart, and reached out on social media to people who gave money. The food is for animals kept at the shelter in Vienna and for its food pantry to help people in the community feed their pets.

• ORCHID: To the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley for finding a centralized location to best serve residents in its six-county region. The Red Cross is moving its office from Belmont Avenue in Liberty to Canfield Niles Road in Austintown on Monday. There will be no disruption in services. Last year, the local Red Cross that served Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties was renamed and expanded to include Portage, Medina and Summit counties. The move to Austintown matches the mission of the realignment — to serve better the Red Cross’ mission and local communities.

• ONION: To 2020. The unrelenting viral outbreak that struck in mid-March so far has killed more than 330,000 people in the U.S. — fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and co-workers — and sickened millions more. COVID-19 has bludgeoned businesses, sent the economy into a tailspin and caused joblessness to soar. It has taxed the U.S. health care system and health care workers, working tirelessly to save lives. The year also saw tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The deaths sparked outrage and protests, some violent, in communities nationwide and calls for end to racial injustice. That outcry caused America to examine head on issues of civil injustice in the black community, a much-needed step toward equality.

• ORCHID: To the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, its youth services manager, Lori Faust, and other staff members for continuing the long-standing tradition of Noon Year’s Eve, a New Year’s Eve celebration for children and families to ring in the new year. Now more than 10 years old, the tradition was a bit different this year. It’s virtual, not in-person because of the pandemic. So, Faust and other staff members spent time over the past few weeks recording a video countdown that was broadcast for families on the library’s Facebook page. In addition to the countdown, there were a craft activity and balloon drop. It would have been a shame had the event — always well attended by the community — not happened, but thanks to a bit of extra effort, kids can celebrate safely.

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