Roses for the now retired former SFD Lt. Rod Hughes who served our city for nearly 24 years. Firefighters and, of course, police officers are in the highest-risk positions in any community, small through large. We have very good firefighters and police officers here in Salem. We appreciate what they do. We appreciate having a fire department to call our own while not having to listen to any fire district ramblings like we previously did under a city leadership that was ousted by voters. We appreciate the city approving $860,000 for the purchase of a 102-foot ladder truck. That is protection for all residents.

Thorns to the city Health Department. The department is appealing an alleged violation issued by the state department of health. It contends two vaccines were permitted to expire without ever being used. A notification to the state should have been issued by the local department prior to the vaccines expiring. Our city health department provides a lot of benefits. But this kind of stuff never looks good when it appears on page one. It’s about accountability. So besides the health dept. taking a cred bruising public perception-wise, this, er, oversight could cost the city $1,536 to replace the vaccines. Not good.

Thorns to reported (alleged?) shortages/hardship in transporting a wintertime essential. Namely heating propane. What? Like all of a sudden the delivery trucks evaporated? Buy another fleet or two with the fat profits gathered from again gouging consumers. Once those belonging to the second estate of economic suppression are done wallet whipping your average guy, poof!, somehow essentials such as propane will miraculously reappear. There will be enough trucks to deliver the fuel from here to China which, incidentally, is where a lot of propane gets exported, abetting driven-up domestic prices. Maybe we should pump the brakes on all those propane/energy exports to China and take care of our own. And while all of the fixed-income seniors, single mothers and the rest of us are waiting for that fat chance to ever happen, keep the thermostat done, grab another electric blanket, jack up the space heater and get ready for some more sub-zero temps coming this very week. Along with outrageous heating bills. There are, always has been and always will be those profiting -without a flinch of clear, good conscience -from the miseries of others. That will never change.?

Roses (along with a quarterback, running back, couple of linebackers, et al.) to new Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine who also now goes by Who’s That? and What’s his Name? Management fired Chud for this? Think about it. Those in the coaching profession aspire, dream and often would do anything to become a head coach in the NFL – usually anywhere in the NFL. Yet the culture in Cleveland is so bad that management has potential good candidates refusing to even interview with the team for one of those 32 coveted, sometimes once-in-a-career head coaching opportunities. Those of us of a certain age who remember hearing about Paul Brown and Otto Graham and grew up watching Jim Brown, Frank Ryan and Leroy Kelly right up through the likes of Sipe, Kosar and Mathews can only cringe knowing another four, five win season is ahead. Meanwhile, go Indians. Pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Ariz. on Feb. 11. The season opener against Oakland is March 31. That’s 65 days and counting.


Roses to the Salem Saxon Club. Members provided new outfits over the holidays to 30 needy children referred to by the Salem Salvation Army. Completing the outfits were new shoes purchased and provided by Salem Sewer &?Drain. Good deeds by good people deserve the recognition and we are glad to try to provide that kind of exposure.

Roses to a considerate mail carrier. A Salem woman called us and said that her mailman checked on her at her home because he didn’t see any footprints in the snow during the recent really bad weather. She was indeed safe, sound and warm in her home. But the mailman didn’t know that. He was concerned for her safety and welfare. Yes, we owe a rose to that mailman. But also to the many, many others out there who stepped up and checked on their neighbors. With more frigid weather arriving this mid-week please let’s all keep it up. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s so easy to just go on our way and ignore the problems our neighbors and the elderly experience. But thank God there are people out there who will take the time to offer assistance. We all need it, every now and then.

Thorns to the management of the Cleveland Browns. Those of you who follow the team should understand that. If the dunces running the team were birds they’d fly north for the winter. The fan base is simply too worn down from false promises and empty reaches. Let’s watch the dumb birds blow another draft with all those picks in May.

Thorns to the state declaring it can’t audit the Columbiana County Drug Task Force. It’s due to “unauditable” financial records. It’s an embarrassment for a group whose officers do so much for our county in fighting drug scum. Let’s hope ineffectual bookkeeping is all there is to it. It’s about accountability and transparency. Citizens deserve that from any public office.

Roses to Bob McCulloch III and his people for the spanking new, sharp-looking Hunter Associates Inc. building on West Second Street. What a difference it makes compared to the blight that was festering there. Our town needs more of this. Roses to locally-based Darlington Investments for creating the opportunity for Hunter Associates to occupy such a great building.

Thorns to creeps who prowl the internet. Such as the perv arrested for allegedly attempting to buy an underage girl to work as a sex slave. Oh, did we mention detectives found various weapons in his home including a rifle with a grenade launcher of all things? Scariest is knowing there are multiple creeps out there praying for a chance to prey on a young person. Parents and guardians beware. All the good that the cyber age provides is balanced out by the bad and evil it fosters and unleashes. That is undeniable. It’s a whole new frontier out there for lawmen.


Roses to the Salem Regional Medical Center. The former Salem Community Hospital is ushering in a new era with not just a new name but with a new look. That has been well-covered on our pages. A special section will also appear this Thursday in the Salem News highlighting the medical center which remains a jewel of our community. Our city and surrounding areas is fortunate to have a facility offering the medical services that it does. Not to mention all of the jobs, taxes and spinoff jobs generated. Community open houses will be held this coming week: from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday; and from 2-6 p.m. on Sunday. Check it out.

Roses for Pennex Aluminum Company. Its extrusion plant in the Leetonia Trade Park will be adding 65 jobs through a $33 million expansion. These are labeled “family wage” jobs which makes a big difference. Any news of new jobs is good news.

Roses to Salem?Parks Dept. personnel. Regardless of weather, the walking paths inside Memorial Park and the adjacent rural trail are always plowed. Those of us who take extended walks as a primary source of exercise appreciate it. Especially coming off Christmas cookie season.

Thorns to idiots leaving pets outside during the recent ice age. Same to those complaining about getting mail or their newspaper late or not getting garbage collected. Are you kidding?

Thorns to a least favorite two- syllable compound word that usually is not uttered if not screamed until late winter: chuckhole. They are already popping up like groundhogs looking for shadows. The deep freeze hasn’t helped. It is going to get real bumpy.

Roses for continuing nice acts from local residents. We again thank everyone contributing to drives for toys and stuffed animals that we were part of over the holidays. Roses for the kids who shoveled an elderly neighbor’s walkway and porch for free. They walked without asking for a cent. Roses, a reader writes, for a stranger paying for her cup of coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. A kind act doesn’t have to be some big endeavor. Sometimes the simplest ones are the best ones.

Roses for those major league Hall of Fame voters for continuing to keep the likes of Roger Clemens, Barry “Bulbhead” Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro from entering baseball’s most revered fraternity. Anyone who even remotely follows the game can appreciate that. Payback, justice, karma – whatever – comes in many forms. Some stains don’t come out. The above mentioned polluted and contaminated a game so many of us grew up loving. Let them live with the shame.