Orchids and onions
• ORCHID: To Warren schools Superintendent Steve Chiaro and other school leaders for planning an in-person prom and commencement ceremonies this spring for Warren G. Harding’s Class of 2021. Given the easing of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, restoration of these rite-of-passage events for young people appears to be justified and welcomed. We’d just advise all involved to stay abreast of local health department directives and ensure both events are conducted safely and responsibly. After all, we’re not totally out of the woods just yet from the ravages of COVID-19.
• ORCHID: To Analise Powell, a Champion High School junior student for winning first place in a high-school level competition for featured baton twirlers. The Champion Local Schools Board of Education rightfully recognized the tremendous twirler with the Golden Flashes’ majorettes. She beat out seven fierce finalists and won scholarship money to boot.
• ONION: To Trumbull County commissioners Frank Fuda and Niki Frenchko for engaging in yet another verbal exchange at this week’s meeting that got so raucous that commissioners’ President Mauro Cantalamessa threatened to call security. This display of unprofessional behavior is but the latest outburst in the simmering feud between veteran Fuda and newly elected Frenchko. Part of the disagreement Wednesday dealt with Fuda’s use of the word “girls” when referring to women employees of the county. On that front, we agree with Frenchko that such language can be perceived as demeaning and degrading to adult females. We just wish the two of them could settle personal gripes without wasting valuable public-meeting time.
• ORCHID: To Eastern Gateway Community College for earning two impressive awards this month. Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague visited the growing Youngstown campus this week to present EGCC President Michael Geoghegan with its Compass Award for the college’s success in advancing financial literacy and empowerment. EGCC also received the 2021 Institutional Stewardship Award from the Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching Project for its commitment to transition to low-cost or free digital textbooks. Both awards demonstrate Eastern Gateway’s serious commitment to the academic needs and budgetary constraints of its 41,000 students in the Mahoning Valley and across the nation.
• ONION: To irresponsible motor-vehicle drivers who fail to slow down and properly acknowledge the presence of horse-drawn buggies on roadways, usually driven by the Amish. Sixteen Ohioans have died and about 300 have been injured in the past five years from injuries suffered in accidents with horse-drawn transportation. Considering that buggies generally travel about 5 mph, drivers need to double down on awareness when riding through Amish communities.
• ORCHID: To a group of Hubbard High School students who are organizing a Distracted Driving Social Media Awareness campaign for the week of April 5. Teachers and advisers at the high school are being encouraged to engage students in the creation of empowerment strategies and solutions to address reckless and distracted driving. Considering the grisly toll that distracted driving takes on young people, the Hubbard Eagles’ awareness campaign should serve as a model for student groups at other high schools throughout the region, state and nation.
• ONION: To the U.S. Census Bureau for its six-month delay in releasing results of its 2020 head count of the nation’s population that is wreaking havoc on congressional redistricting tasks of Ohio and many other states. While we can understand some delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, waiting until Sept. 30 for the results that were due March 31 seems unreasonable if states are to know how many congressional districts they will have and how they will be drawn in time for March 2022 candidates to enter the ring. Ohio sued the bureau over the delayed release, but a federal judge this week ruled in favor of the bureau. The redistricting process already is fraught with political gamesmanship without adding more obstacles to the task.
• ORCHID: To the Western Reserve Port Authority for agreeing to provide financing on more than $9 million of the $30 million massive renovation project for Macy’s department stores’ distribution center in North Jackson. The renovation will convert about 380,000 square feet of the facility on Mahoning Avenue into a fulfillment center. In the process, 417 well-paying jobs will be created. The WRPA’s welcome assistance builds upon the reputation of the North Jackson-Lordstown corridor of the Mahoning Valley as a bastion for vibrant economic growth.