We’d like to forget, but COVID-19 is part of history

I saw an editorial cartoon last week that was set in the year 2120.

A child seated in a floating desk chair in history class asks his teacher why all the textbooks skip the year 2020. The boy’s robot teacher responded, “Historians are still trying to sort that one out, dear.”

Yep, that’s how we feel about 2020. Wiping it from memory might be the desire, but in journalism, where we record history every day, that’s just not an option.

As always this time of year, the newsroom staff has been busy suggesting big stories and voting on what we saw as the top stories of the year. All the while, though, we secretly knew some of those stories would be ones you, dear reader, probably would prefer to forget.

Spoiler alert: You’ll be reading a year-end recap this week about the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on our region’s events, classrooms, jobs and economy.

In sports, you’ll probably be reminded about that horrible day when a Mahoning Valley girls basketball team headed to the state championship around the start of this pandemic, only to find out the game had been canceled for health and safety reasons.

This week, you’ll also read news stories about the growing number of COVID-19-related deaths and the restrictions that were placed on residents here, across Ohio and across the nation. The number of deaths — some COVID-19-related and some not — have triggered so many obituaries in recent months that we now have decided the best way to accommodate these final tributes in a respectful way is to create a special obituary section that you’ll find in Section C of today’s newspaper.

In today’s business section, you’ll see a recap of how COVID-19 has affected the area’s jobless numbers and the economy in general.

It’s all depressing, I realize, and we can’t wait to put this all behind us in 2021.

Despite all the gloom and doom, fortunately, there was some 2020 good news worth revisiting.

Here are a few uplifting stories we covered this year that have been ranked by our newsroom staff as among the top stories of 2020:

While we said goodbye to our beloved Catholic Diocese Bishop George Murry, we welcomed with immense hope Bishop-elect David Bonnar. He will take over in coming weeks.

This year, we covered the nation’s call for equality in national protests against racism. Sadly, many of those protests turned violent nationwide. But in our Valley, Black Lives Matter protests and rallies were held in a dignified, meaningful way, sending messages of the importance of equality — all with respect and without violence.

This week, you’ll also read stories about economic developments in Lordstown, including construction of a massive battery-cell plant as a cooperative effort between General Motors and LG Chem.

Nearby, Lordstown Motors Corp. continues to lay the groundwork for its all-electric pickup truck to be built here.

Political changes also have come to the Valley, and with a newly elected Trumbull County commissioner and other newly elected local officials, we must be hopeful that change will take us in a good direction.

In sports, you’ve already read last week about successful efforts to keep the Scrappers alive in the Mahoning Valley.

Today you’ll read about Howland boys varsity soccer team winning the state championship for the first time in school history.

Two other local high school teams — John F. Kennedy and Springfield — headed to Ohio’s football championship finals, too. While they both fell short, both teams must be proud of their hard work and amazing seasons.

In basketball, McDonald’s senior Zach Rasile, selected as Trumbull County Coaches Association Player of the Year, became the second all-time top scorer in the state with 3,013 points. He and only one other Ohio player have ever cracked 3,000 points in their high school careers.

Indeed, there has been lots of news this year. Yes, we’ll want to put 2020 behind us soon, but not all of the news has been bad. And now we look forward to the start of 2021.


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