Roses for Girl Scout cookies and roses for the Girl Scouts period. The organization just celebrated its annual salute to the Girl Scouts week. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults in every residential zip code and in 90 countries. Nearly 60 million living women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae. How’s that for staying power? Now pass the thin mints.

Roses for Easter egg hunts. We’ve listed a number of them going on in our area including a long-standing favorite, the UCT hunt at Centennial Park. It will be held March 30 – a day before an early Easter. For sheer volume, there’s the March 24 hunt at Realife Church. Hundreds of kids attend this huge event which features over 18,000 eggs. Nobody goes home from there with an empty basket.

Thorns to news coming from the county treasurer’s office about two investments determined to violate policy and state law. There could be more. This shouldn’t be compared to the 1993 investment scandal that knocked the county back into an economic stone age. Nobody here is suggesting theft. Nobody here is suggesting fraud. Lack of accountability? How could you not believe that? We are talking tax dollars. Your tax dollars, our tax dollars, everyone’s tax dollars in this county. This is distressing. Especially the lack of documentation. Don’t ask how the words “lack of documentation” would ever be included in a conversation about taxpayer money being invested. We don’t have the answer to that. No money is believed to have been lost. But there is the issue of interest income being overstated by some $118,000 that will impact the county’s general fund budget. There – per usual when it comes to about anything in our county -will be some screaming “it’s all about politics” over the findings announced by treasurer Linda Bolon. She is a Democrat and succeeded current state rep Nick Barborak, a fellow Dem. All three commissioners are Republicans. We will give props to Bolon for uncovering what she did less than three months into office. Certainly some validation for those putting her in office. Her experiences of serving six years previously in the same position and also in the state auditor’s office serves her well. That is reassuring. But this whole deal is very messy.

Thorns to those making crude, damaging and vicious comments on our web postings. We had some like that, believe it or not, attached to our story regarding the death of a young girl from Salem killed in a car accident. You can’t read them now because we removed them. Brutalizing the dead is about as low and bad as a person can get. Such idiots also ruin it for others – and we do have many like this – who conduct mature interactions on our web. They often disagree with each other but do it through a healthy discourse.?It’s just like a lot of other things: a few ruin it for all the others.

Thorns to the latest crime wave in Salem. It involves the theft of copper ground wiring from utility poles within the city. And to show you how desperate the thieves – most likely hopheads – are: there is a distinct risk of electrocution. Of course that possibility exists not just for the idiots but for an innocent person coming across a line that was infringed. Another example of a changing Salem.

Roses, again, for the United Local girls basketball team. We sort of goofed last week when we passed out roses. The Golden Eagles won a district championship before bowing out in the regional. We had that part screwed up. Besides the district, a very successful season included a school-record 24 wins including a school-best 16 game winning streak and a fifth straight ICL championship. Well done and best of luck to the graduating seniors off of the squad.


Roses to Salem council member Dave Nestic for this: “People at all income levels have the right to quality housing.” His words came during Tuesday’s city council meeting when rezoning requests were discussed regarding the proposed apartment complex on the east end. Might come as news to some but not everyone toiling for low wages is living via Section 8 subsidized housing which, incidentally, the proposed Salem Pointe development won’t be. Low income doesn’t mean no income. Low income housing isn’t always slumming. Many of those with low incomes aren’t bums or deadbeats. Most keep up with their homes and yard. There are hundreds of upstanding citizens – hard-working and good Salem people?- who don’t make much money. But they pay their taxes. They raise their families just like some of our town’s more affluent. Sometimes even better. They deserve to live where they want to live and can afford. Despite facing daily economic restraints, some somehow manage to squirrel away money to send kids off to college. They don’t live off the government dole of so-called entitlements. The last time we checked there wasn’t a caste or some kind of social strata – at least not officially – system in place in Salem. Although some out there would probably support one. Those passing unfair judgments on others all the time should expel their energies on more important goings on. Like the rampant drug problem in our city. It is affecting rich, poor and all in between.

Roses of sympathy to the families of Brittany Gulu and Kiersten Renee Bernier. Young people tragically dying is brutal. It is startling – a constant reminder of the realities of this thing called the cycle of life. Death is the harshest of wake-up calls. The 17-year-old Brittany was a very active and vibrant Salem High School junior. She died in a car accident. The 6-year-old Kiersten was a lovable Knox Elementary School student who likely died from flu-like sickness. How helpless their families must feel right now. Our hearts go out to their broken hearts.

Roses for the Salem High boys basketball team for finding the wherewithal to concentrate on a district tournament game held shortly after the Gulu calling hours on Wednesday. The Quakers won to advance which was good. But somehow it didn’t seem as significant considering the loss of a fellow student. Roses to the United Local girls basketball team for a season that included a school record 24 wins and district semifinal berth.

Thorns to Sports Illustrated for putting Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller on its cover this week. Those familiar with the legendary SI cover jinx are cringing. It’s only March and the season is now doomed.

Roses to Dr. Willard Stamp. He recently retired as an optometrist. He practiced for a remarkable 57 years. Think of all the people he saw eye-to-eye with!

Roses to NiSource Inc., the parent company of Columbia Gas, for donating $50,000 to help get the popular Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail closer to the Mahoning County line.

Roses for East Palestine opting to provide a village police officer part-time to the county Drug Task Force. That came through the willingness of county commissioners to provide money and wages received as tax payments from Ohio’s first casinos. Commissioners are offering local departments $10,000 for part-time local officers and $20,000 for full time officers to join the DTF. Money well used.

Roses for the success of the income tax amnesty program initiated last year by the city. Nearly $74,000 had been collected with more on the way from payment plans. It’s a win-win: the city gets money it is due and tardy taxpayers can avoid collection actions.


Roses to Pete. Very belated roses to Pete. Last name unknown. Don’t be confused. Actually we are hoping someone out there can help out with a very noble cause. Pete was a Big Brother from Salem who lived in Pittsburgh in the early 1980s and served as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. The Little Brother, who was 7 years old at the time, is Aaron Brundage. He has his Ph.D and is now a successful engineer living in New Mexico. He would like to reunite with his former Big Brother, Pete, but does not know his last name or where he currently lives. Aaron acknowledges a positive influence that Pete had on him as a youngster. He would like to express appreciation through a reunion. If you can help out in any manner, well, for Pete’s sake – and Aaron’s too – please get contact us and we will pass along any info.

Thorns to that section smack in the middle of downtown still closed off in front of the TanFastic building and the Butler Museum of American Art. Litigation remains pending, apparently, in Common Pleas Court. The area has been closed since July. Maybe we can have a falling brick party in a few months to celebrate the first anniversary of a prime section of town being roped off. The shame is that the closed off area is a blight. Nothing quite says welcome to downtown than a section of sidewalk and parking spaces shut down because of safety concerns. And, yes, it is a little treacherous walking around it this winter with the ice and slush. Another shame is that one of our city’s jewels, the museum, is out of operation. This city will have hundreds of people pouring into its downtown come June with the Super Cruise. What a complete embarrassment not to mention hazard it will be if no resolution is reached by then.

Thorns to the idiot who reportedly ignored the flashing lights of a stopped school bus in Salem. That could have been tragic.

Roses to that big American flag waving near the bypass at the auto dealership. You could cover a football field with it. We have heard nothing but positive comments about it since it was erected amid some controversy. From this vantage point, there certainly is a lot worse you can do than to display an American flag. Sadly, there are those out there who would disagree.

Roses to the calendar turning into March and daylight savings time arriving this Sunday.

Roses to state wrestling finals qualifiers who were at it yesterday and Friday. In terms of commitment, sacrifice and conditioning, wrestling is the most demanding of all the high school sports.

Roses to Cole Reed. He is the youngster who was bludgeoned during that Salem Township murder of his grandmother. The case remains unsolved. He suffered severe head injuries and was scheduled this past Friday for surgery to relieve brain swelling. Part of his skull had been removed, replaced with a plate. He has issues with his right arm and hand. Something to do with those body parts not getting proper signals from the brain. Consequently he can move the arm and hand but not really use them. There have been blood infections. Cole was being raised by his grandmother who is now gone. He thought of her as his mom. His bio mother is serving at least an 18-year sentence after being convicted of killing her youngest child who would have been Cole’s half-brother. You would be right in saying that the little guy who just turned 6 on Feb. 18 and is a United Local kindergartner has had a helluva start on life. It is tragic and unfair but it is a reality and God bless him in the coming weeks, months and years. A dinner fundraiser for Cole will be held today from noon until 6 p.m. at the Washingtonville VFW. There will be an auction and raffle too. “We were told he might not live, he’s be in a coma or paralyzed,” a family member told us. “He’s amazed us.” Let’s hope he continues to amaze. A child, any child, doesn’t deserve to endure what Cole Reed has in his short life.