Orchids and onions
• ORCHID: To Mathews High School football coach Bill Bohren for snagging his 300th career win last week in a strong victory. Bohren joins an elite club of only 16 coaches throughout the state who have secured at least 300 victories. Mathews athletic director Mike Palumbo credits Bohren with rejuvenating the team that had been floundering before his arrival. At 87, Bohren has led numerous high school football teams in the Valley, including Boardman, Lakeview, Salem and Niles. His endurance and commitment to quality play should inspire high school coaches and players everywhere.
• ORCHID: To leaders in Braceville, Champion, Southington and Warren townships for joining forces to better address road improvements needed in all four communities. They are seeking funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation Township Stimulus Program, which can finance road, culvert and stormwater projects. One targeted project is Anderson Anthony Road, which traverses all four townships and where improvements are sorely needed. This regional approach will give their application greater chances at success. Regional approaches with an eye on economies of scale toward problem-solving should become the rule, not the exception, in local communities.
• ONION: To members of Girard City Council who call for pay raises for council members at a time when Girard, like most communities in the Mahoning Valley, struggles with declining revenue and increased costs for essential services. Such a move would send the wrong signal as the city prepares to begin union contract negotiations, particularly if it seeks meager raises or concessions. Mayor James Melfi should stick to his guns and veto pay-raise legislation.
• ORCHID: To Dr. John J. Rush, a Warren native and CEO of Arthritis Knee Pain Centers across the United States, for delivering a $25,000 donation to the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown for a minority student scholarship fund. Although Rush is now a resident of Potomac, Md., the gift from his company demonstrates a tangible give-back to the region and the institution that helped mold him into a success story. He is also a model for other Mahoning Valley natives never to forget their roots.
• ORCHID: To Vicki Raptis of Howland for taking quick and responsible action to avert a potential tragedy in the township last month. Raptis was driving to work early one morning and saw a home on fire on Howland Wilson Road. She stopped, alerted the residents and called 911 for help, potentially saving multiple lives. As township fire Chief James Pantalone said in recognizing Raptis at this week’s trustees meeting, “The situation could have been devastating.”
• ONION: To state Rep. Don Jones, R-Freeport, for introducing legislation in the Ohio General Assembly that would ban teaching some current events in Ohio public schools. Though we agree with one premise of Jones’ bill — teaching that the United States is inherently racist — has no place in educating young people, his bill paints too broad of a stroke in limiting educational opportunities. After all, as our Newspaper in Education program shows, current events can be valuable tools in motivating young people to take greater interest in such curriculum areas as social studies and language arts.
• ORCHID: To Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and the many donors to its campaign to build a $31 million 34,700-square-foot addition to its sprawling Boardman campus. Groundbreaking for the addition took place this week. It will more than triple the pediatric hospital’s emergency department size. Donors of $100,000 or more are Lenny Fisher, Farmers National Bank, Cafaro Foundation, Florence Simon Beecher Foundation, the Moran Family / Window World, the Youngstown Foundation and Jenny Kennedy. This community support attests to the hospital’s high-quality rankings and growing impact on health care here.