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Orchids and onions

ORCHID: To playwright, actor and director Austin Pendleton, a Warren native, and Trumbull New Theatre. Pendleton visited the venue his mother helped start many decades ago last week and offered three acting master classes. The 81-year-old film, TV and stage actor shared acting hints and lessons ranging from the value of listening to his belief that stage fright can be an actor’s best friend. What a wonderful opportunity for locals!

ORCHID: To Trumbull Career and Technical Center for its plans to invest $1 million in a remodel for the kitchen used in the school’s popular culinary arts program. It combines the former restaurant services and hospitality programs in order to be progressive in their training program.

ORCHID: That finally, the number of COVID-19 cases appear to have dropped to nearly zero at area nursing homes, long-term care facilities and prisons across the Mahoning Valley. Only one new death associated with COVID-19 was reported for Trumbull County nursing homes this week. Statewide, the number of nursing home cases also are down, and the number of cases at the area’s three local prisons is almost zero. Now, we can only hope this downward trend continues in our region and statewide.

ONION: To Newton Falls Village Council for wasting time debating the absurd issue about what to call the temporary law director. Council voted 3-2 this week to remove the term “interim” from the title. Council members John Baryak, Mike Serotko and Tesa Spletzer voted yes; Council members Chris Granchie and Julie Stimpert voted no. Mayor Ken Kline said removing the interim title creates more stability. But what we believe would create the most stability is filling the position with a permanent law director.

ORCHID: To Caitlin White, who will step up to serve as interim executive director of the Warren Family Mission following the December death of Pastor Chris Gilger. White has been at the mission for the past seven years as director of development. She now will handle executive director duties until a permanent executive director is named. We wish White good luck, and we wish the mission well in making a permanent appointment. Indeed, Pastor Gilger will be very hard to replace.

ORCHID: To a motorist who spotted a 5-year-old girl walking alone on Belvedere Avenue NE in subfreezing temperatures around 1:15 a.m. Sunday. The man, passing by in a Chevrolet Cruze, put the child in his car and flagged down a police officer. The girl apparently had slipped out a side door from a nearby home while everyone else was asleep, police said. No charges were filed.

ORCHID: To six area educators or school workers nominated for the 2021-22 National LifeChanger of the Year awards, a national accolade rewarding school employees for making a difference in students’ lives. Local nominees are Stacey Biery, library aide at Bascom Elementary School; Christine Meeks, a third-grade teacher at LaBrae Intermediate School; Elisabeth Paster, a LaBrae science teacher; Lindsey Ison, cafeteria supervisor at Fairhaven School; Barb Meyer, pre-nursing phlebotomy instructor at TCTC; and Courtney Kelly, public safety fire instructor at Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown.

ORCHID: To the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and its partners that are teaming up to provide free income tax preparation assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Low- to moderate-income individuals and families, as well as seniors, can qualify for the services made available by both the IRS’s VITA and Tax Counseling for Seniors programs.

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