Roses to nice people as we like to regularly point out. Reader Hazel Piriak of Salem writes: “To the editor: Saturday, Jan. 12, I went shopping at Sparkle market in Salem. Went to my car and beside me parked a wonderful couple. He pointed out to me that I had a flat tire. He said he would fix it for me. Took the flat tire off and put the spare on. Being on a weekend couldn’t get it fixed until Monday. His wife even put some muscle on the jack. Wouldn’t take anything, but want them to know how grateful I was. They were my angels that morning. You are in my prayers and thank you both so very much. Roses to both of you!

Roses to members of Leetonia Council. This certainly is deserved because we always hear about cities and towns having money troubles. Over the past two years Leetonia Council has paid off debts early – that’s the key word – on items such as an ambulance, back hoe, fire truck, two police cruisers and a street department truck. Interest saved is upwards of $30,000. That is a lot of money for a small village to well use elsewhere. That is being fiscally prudent and we commend all members.

Roses for plans already being made to host the Salem Super Cruise. It’s hard to believe that this year’s event planned for June 20-23 – will be the eighth. This giant crowd magnet is the best thing to happen to downtown Salem. Even if you don’t like the cars, you have to like the atmosphere. Not just maintaining it but finding ways to make it even better should be a priority.

Thorns to the report that the city health department wasn’t able to give flu shots or other immunizations during a crunch time period since a required license expired Dec. 31. And it wasn’t renewed. Which was called an oversight. Man, granted, we all make mistakes including those seen in this newspaper – oversights, if you will. But this is a big one given that our flu season is one of the worst in recent memory. It’s downright embarrassing too. Not exactly what taxpayers want to read about.

Thorns to Manti Teo. He is either exceptionally cunning or stupendously stupid and naive. From here, he is guilty to the largest degree of anyone involved of perpetuating this hoax. Let’s get this straight: you were so devoutly in love with someone yet didn’t bother to attend her funeral? Or never even met, period? Granted, some of us have had a girlfriend – OK, sigh, girlfriends – along the way who we later wished had never existed. But his story was bogus from the get go. And how’s this for humiliation: the latest report has the voice of the so-called mystery girl whom Teo was so devoted to yet actually never met being, drum roll please, that of a man. That’s got to make a stud All-American linebacker feel real good inside. Thorns too to the Notre Dame puke publicity machine for not being forthcoming as soon as it learned about the mess. It certainly milked the Teo sob season cow so much it nearly lifted him to a Heisman-winning moment. Which would’ve been another joke on its own. And let’s not even visit the Lance Armstrong neighborhood. He is a pathetic fraud whose worst crime was bullying and destroying people while carrying on the deceit. What a bunch of role models we’ve seen lately for our children! Sad. Very sad.


Thorns to the convenience store on Salem’s main street getting robbed by a knife-wielder. Again. Gosh, do you think these kind of crimes are prompted by compulsions to feed drug habits at any cost or risk? It is only going to get worse. At some point someone will get killed. Thorns to a loaded handgun allegedly being pointed at someone in a popular city nightclub. Knowing you were sitting next to a gun-toter in a bar would knock the bloom off of a fun evening, wouldn’t it? Charges are pending.

Roses to Sgt. J.T. Panezott, a 23-year city police veteran who will become Salem’s new police chief effective Feb. 1. He has been fighting the drug war for years with the Columbiana County Drug Task Force Agency and Drug Enforcement Administration. That will be his foremost priority. Good. It is badly needed in this town. Congratulations to soon-to-be Chief Panezott. He is a local guy who grew up wanting to be a cop and has excelled in doing just that. Roses to retiring chief Bob Floor. We wish him all the best and thank him for his complete cooperation and respect in our many dealings.

Roses to the memory of the late Lois Firestone. She recently passed away in Florida. Lois was one of our own. She worked a considerable part of a highly-respected journalism career with the Salem News. She was an old school newspaper person: always creating accurate, clean copy and possessing a descriptive writing elegance that few matched. Lois helped preserve memories of our fair city through the pages of Yesteryears. That product was a historical weekly publication that featured self-generated reflections of the city’s past. It was her idea to publish intact a page from the past. She and the late Dale Shaffer were instrumental in keeping up with the city’s scrapbook. Those efforts will always be appreciated.

Roses for great news. Two weeks ago, a column passage concerned Leetonia Schools superintendent Rob Mehno. He was to receive a kidney transplant donated by his niece, Angie Pitts. The surgery was performed Dec. 28 in Cleveland. The procedure went well as has the recoveries of both patient and donor. “The number of e-mails, cards, calls and texts that started from you mentioning the procedure has been amazing,” Rob told us. He praised his family and friends, especially his wife, Ursula. “With her support I was able to leave the hospital New Year’s Eve, three nights after the procedure,” he said. He will be eternally grateful for his niece – “a very special angel.” Angie and Rob had rooms near each other and walked together each day during recovery. She too was released on New Year’s Eve. She has, her uncle said, “been a positive beacon of light for everyone.” And doesn’t a genuine feel good story help offset all of the other bad news that we seem to read about day in, day out? Such as, yeah, robberies and loaded guns?