Orchids and onions
ORCHID: To Trumbull County sheriff’s deputy John Barhoover, a graduate of Lakeview High School and Hiram College, for taking first place recently in the fourth annual Lents Taekwondo Worldwide Online Sports Poomsae Open 2021. Poomsae is a taekwondo term meaning a defined pattern of defense-and-attack motions. Barhoover also is a back-to-back national champion, taking gold medals in the AAU national taekwondo tournament in 2020 and 2021, winning a total of eight medals. In addition to his superlative Taekwando skills, Barhoover’s ambitions for using those skills are praiseworthy as well. The Iraq War Air Force veteran plans to teach disabled veterans and young people the fundamentals of the martial arts.
ONION: To Newton Falls Village Council members Sandra Breymaier and Adam Zimmerman for being no-shows at a critical council meetings earlier this week to set a date for a recall election for Breymaier. On Monday, Mayor Ken Kline said both absences were unexcused, and on Wednesday, only Breymeier called off sick. Because of the resignation of councilman Tarry Alberini last week, the lack of a quorum prevented action on the recall and all other issues, rendering the legislative branch of village government impotent. These elected officials owe it to their constituents to conduct themselves with more professionalism, not the ongoing childish behavior. If they cannot, they should follow Kline’s recommendation and step down.
ORCHID: To Hubbard native Curren Katz for winning recognition from corporate giant IBM as one of the top 40 women around the world singled out for the company’s prestigious Women Leaders in AI program. Katz and her team at Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health worked to predict people who are at risk of sepsis, a condition that sometimes happens when, as the body fights infection, it starts to damage its own tissue. She, like other winners from 18 countries, is credited for significant achievements in artificial intelligence. Katz also serves as a strong local role model for young women seeking to break into male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
ONION: To the tens of thousands of registered voters who failed to participate in this week’s primary election in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Trumbull County’s voter turnout was shameful at 8.8 percent, one of the lowest levels in history. We believe many mistakenly interpreted this off-year election’s races for city leaders such as Warren and Niles City Council members to be insignificant and unconsequential. But as Stephanie Penrose, director of the Trumbull County Board of elections, pointed out, “These elections affect your everyday life through taxes, roads.” AWOL voters lose their say on local governance and forfeit one of the most sacred rights of our constitutional democracy.
ORCHID: To Stephen Gage, Youngstown State University professor of conducting and director of bands and orchestra in the university’s Dana School of Music, on his retirement after a stellar 28-year career at the prestigious institution. A grand finale concert last week near campus reunited many past Dana School students with Gage at the baton. Alumnus Bob Antonnucci likely spoke for scores of them when he said at the concert last week: “He’s been so influential in my life and my career. I wanted to pay it forward and show him how much he meant to me.”
ORCHID: To the Youngstown State University softball team for clinching the 2021 Horizon League championship by defeating Cleveland State last weekend. The dynamo squad now will host the upcoming Horizon League softball tournament. We’re certain the Penguin squad will continue to bring honor and pride to their university and community with exemplary play at next week’s tourney on home turf.