Roses to Good Samaritans. We’ve heard a number of accounts about kind-hearted people throughout our brutal winter. Here’s another unusual example that happened in Salem. A resident came upon a poor cat actually frozen to roadway slush. According to information passed our way, once carefully freed, the cat scurried on frozen paws to a nearby house in the neighborhood. But it was confirmed that it was a stray and had been around for a number of days. The gentleman who discovered the cat took it to a vet. Despite efforts to save the poor thing, the effects from exposure were too much. The cat died. “He cared enough to get involved at his own time and expense in order to attempt to save its life or in this case its suffering,” a reader wrote us. “He rescued it and offered to cover all of the expenses, even though he is allergic and knew he would have to find it a home. I know he and his wife are compassionate animal lovers and were heartbroken recently at the untreatable illness in their dog. Sadly, the cat didn’t make it after heroic efforts. I’m sure he was emotionally and financially impacted by this situation.” Not all stories have happy endings. This one didn’t. But we should appreciate the efforts of this Good Samaritan who chooses anonymity. You, sir, are a very good person.

Roses to readers of this column who give us ideas for possible roses – and thorns. We appreciate your input and often times wouldn’t know about the good deeds of our residents if not for you. Keep ’em coming.

Thorns for two restaurants on South Ellsworth recently closing within days of each other. We heralded their openings as new businesses offering jobs and dining choices. Now the lament. It does say something about the neighborhood and perhaps the clientele traffic down there when two places within – what? – fewer than 50 yards of each other abruptly shut down. Being located in one of Salem’s biggest drug sectors doesn’t help.

Roses for city leaders cooperating and working together to get more cops for the city. We gave roses last week for the benefits of extra officers. The plan to hire six part-time officers will place an additional officer on each shift, reduce the need for overtime and give the department more manpower. The administration, city auditor, police chief, the union representing officers and city council all worked together to make it happen and should all be commended. It’s refreshing to see officials do what they can to reach a goal instead of just spouting reasons why they can’t do something.

Thorns to clerks in stores who wait on people rudely breaking into line. Tell them to get to the back on the line and wait their turn. It’s all about customer service – serve the good ones and not the inconsiderate idiots. Ever been in a store with two or three customers in front of you and then, at last, it’s your turn, but, oh no, somebody just slides right up to the counter in front of you and demands service? Maybe at first it’s just a question they ask the sales clerk. But, more times than not, they want to pay for an item or two they have. So you have no choice but to wait, patiently, until they selfishly finish their transaction. It seems that some people just cannot wait until it’s their turn and clerks aren’t willing to do anything about it. The line busters must be special.

Roses for the Green Family Trust donating $300,000 toward the new grandstand going up at the county fairgrounds.?John Green provided the gift on behalf of the family. It honors his late grandfather, Arnold C. Green. The grandstand will be named in honor of the longtime fair board member. Cost of the much needed project is $900,000. Other donations have been received but more are needed. Roses to the First National Bank of Salem for fronting a loan to keep the project moving forward while more pledges are raised.


Thorns to piles of snow around intersections, blocking sight lines for drivers pulling out from stop signs.?Not a whole lot you can do about it. At least this week’s warming temperatures will help. We’ve heard plenty of complaints too regarding unshoveled sidewalks. Hard to argue otherwise. Then there is the keeping fire hydrants clear of snow issue. We get – but only to a certain degree -?the part about clearing hydrants being the responsibility of residents. But tell that to the 90-year-old who has one in front of his home. Here’s a thought: create a court-ordered shovel detail from the inmates living in the county jail. Let them work off some of that taxpayer money being used to heat and feed them.

Thorns to sheer, unmitigated idiocy. Example number one regards the recent driver involved in the hit/skip/little girl brutally killed. You’ve read the stories. Olivia Thompson died a traumatic death. Her poor family is left to live with that. The driver – a father himself – fled before turning himself in the next morning. He got four years and community service. Sounds sparse to us but we are not a court of law. From what we understand too, the family did not want a protracted courtroom event and agreed to the sentence. Anyhow, we posted the story at Comments flowed. This one was borderline unbelievable: “Maybe someone should run over one of his kids and leave them on the side of the road, and then stop to see the damage on their vehicle, and then decide to go drinking the same night…” Yeah, sure, that’s the solution. Let’s see more innocent kids killed. This is a splendid example of why we sometimes disable the comments section. Posting comments is no different than texting, twittering or Facebooking. It can come back and bite you. A suggestion: Slow down, carefully assemble your words and only then post a message. That way you won’t come across as insensitive, pompous, heartless, cruel and/or plain stupid. We have a number of online readers regularly posting well-developed comments. We don’t always agree with them. But we aren’t supposed to. That nourishes the concept of exchanging points of view. Please just keep them clean, on the subject, non-libelous and tasteful. Advocating innocent children being run down to exact revenge against their father is as bad of a comment you could post.

Thorns to sheer, unmitigated idiocy. Example number two involved an area school district. Apparently a student was ill and a parent felt the school building wasn’t warm enough. School tells student to stay home. No harm, no foul, no big deal. Later a cyber wildfire begins to spread. Gossip is spread by someone claiming that the school district did not have heat at all in a building and – gasp! – students were being forced to stay in frozen classrooms. This rumor even reached a Youngstown TV station which contacted that district’s superintendent. He then told us about it. In fact, he said the room temperature in the school as he was speaking was 69 degrees. So all this evolves from someone with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their heads. Another example proving that idiocy and cyber access just do not mix.

Roses for the Lisbon BOE voting to add two days to the school calendar to make up for bad weather cancellations. Students will have neither Presidents Day nor the day after Easter off as planned. Officials stressed that students need the classroom time. More schools should follow Lisbon’s lead. The state is considering additional calamity days off above the allotted five that most districts have used. Don’t need them. Make the days up. Lisbon chose to emphasize education over more time off. Good for the board and administrators.

Roses for the city’s plans to add six part-time cops. This will reduce overtime, bolster the force and help groom part-timers to someday be full-timers. You can never had too many cops. Especially in the drug-infested area that our city has become.


Thorns for people shoveling and/or plowing snow and ice on to public roadways. This includes independent contractors. We saw this ourselves Wednesday. A private contractor who should know better left a sizable amount of snow in the middle of South Lincoln Avenue. Vehicles had to drive around the hazardous pile. There is no way he could’ve missed seeing what he left. Presumably it was an isolated incident considering this driver makes a living plowing. He should have the business sense if not sheer courtesy to avoid shoving snow on roads. And then making haste in leaving the scene.

Thorns for a perception held by some of our fair city becoming more known not for its great people, businesses and other civic groups but for drugs. And drugs and drugs. Overheard Monday morning in Alliance was talk about Salem’s emerging reputation as a drug center. Someone actually called it a hub. For use and trafficking. Think about it. This was being talked about in Alliance of all places. Right or wrong, earned or unwarranted, it is out there that parts of Salem have become drug dumps. We hear it all the time and you often read about it on our page 3. This is very sad.

Roses for Western Reserve Schools. The district is promoting a “Family?Night.”?The evening of March 12 will be free of any school obligations. That means no extracurricular activities, practices, tryouts, homework, tests to study for or projects to complete. Parents and guardians are encouraged to come up with family activities.?Can be a simple as a board game and pizza at home or going out to eat and taking in a movie. Boosters clubs and the PTO are expected to get involved. Applaud the district for creating a family time opportunity. It’s up to the parents to take advantage of it. Of course to many less-than-responsible parents, the concept of a family night is probably a complete mystery.

Roses for Bigfoot. Our area’s own lovable lunk was at it again – recently scaring the bejeebers out of a 17-year-old. The teen was driving and went off the road in Fairfield Township. This after seeing a hairy and well-built “creature” at least seven feet tall with glowing green eyes.?There have been others, umm, claiming to have seen him around here. First off, ours is not to wonder why a minor was out in the middle of the night in the first place. And, admittedly, some of us back in the day – ahem – saw our own creatures with glowing eyes – green and otherwise – following, perhaps, the partaking of certain nocturnal merriments. But the young man did not get hurt when he went off the side of Bunker Hill Road which is good. Good too is at least an innocent deer isn’t being blamed this time for running someone off the road. We will give him props for coming forth and standing by what he saw. Gee do you think he got any ribbing over this? And as far as Bigfoot being in the middle of the road. Do you blame him? Or it? Probably had no choice because it seems most people aren’t bothering to shovel their sidewalks. And, no, he wasn’t on his way to a tryout with the Cleveland Cavaliers although he could start for them. And, no again, there isn’t any truth to the rumor of the Loch Ness Monster – “Nessie” to some – being seen poking her head out through the ice on Guilford Lake. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for June 20-22 when Leetonia hosts, no kidding, a Bigfoot Festival. Which coincides with the Super Cruise weekend in Salem. Which means efforts should begin immediately to give the big guy an appearance fee to lead the cruise through our downtown. Glowing green eyes and all. Heck, bring Nellie along too. And why Bigfoot instead of Bigfeet? After all, doesn’t he have two of them?

Roses for Annaliese Radcliff and Rachael Shockey. We mispelled, whoops makes that misspelled, their names while handing out roses last week to Salem High seniors excelling on the ACT. Sorry for the goof, girls.


Roses for Alexandra Prychodczenko of Salem and the over 40 people involved in “Bundles for Ukraine.” This group has been sending clothing, shoes, coats, basic necessities to orphans in ravaged Ukraine. We recently heard about Mrs. Prychodczenko’s recent purchase – aahh, sweet candy. She bought a huge supply of candy canes left over from the holidays from a local store. She plans to properly package the confection and send it off to the orphanage at her own expense for all the boys and girls to enjoy. And she’s been doing gestures like this for years.

Roses and come up and take a bow in front of the classroom for this bright group of Salem High seniors. Scoring in the 90th percentile or above on the ACT – basically the stratosphere of this college entrance exam – were Hannah Carner, Camrin Costal, Nathan Eisel, Mark Frederickson, Carson Herron, Caleb Holbert, Dylan McKinney, Anneliese Radcliffe, Dominic Righetti, Rachel Shockey, Emma Wilson and Max Wolfgang. Students’ scores ranged from 28 (90th percentile nationally) to 33 (99th percentile nationally). That is impressive. It is a sampling of the hard-working students in the district. It reflects the kind education being provided by teaching staff and administrators.

Thorns to anybody not using a seat belt.

Roses to Columbiana County Municipal Court judges Carol Robb and Mark Frost. Working with Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. ?Joe Dragovich, they have announced that fines for seat belt and lane violations will be increased. Will it serve as a deterrent? Hard to say. A lot of fines now like speeding, reckless operation, driving under suspension and, of course, driving impaired carry hefty financial consequences. Yet many still routinely break the laws. Check and see how many tickets are handed out today, what with it being an undeclared national holiday called Super Bowl Sunday. But at the very least a public alarm is being loudly sounded on the non-use of seat beats. A mere month into a new year and we’ve already had five non-motorcycle related deaths in our county. As unfathomable as it seems, there are those choosing not to wear seat belts. Who knows why??There is not a single valid reason for not doing so. And we don’t even want to hear the blah, blah, blah about restraints being an imposition on freedom of choice. Stick that rant in the back of your car and lock it in the trunk. Lives are being lost because of this attitude. As reported by staff member Deanne Johnson, Lt. Dragovich relates that between 2012-2013, there were 23 fatalities on county roads. In 2013, three died on motorcycles the rest in vehicles. None of the eight dying in vehicles wore seat belts. In 2012, 11 of the 12 people killed weren’t buckled. Do the math then grimace. Nineteen of 20 non-motorcycle fatality victims weren’t buckled up, in, whatever. It should sicken your stomach. Would some of those not wearing seat belts died regardless? Maybe. But survival odds would’ve been better. It is indisputable that seat belts and restraints saves lives. We all should keep screaming about this and enforce the laws until everyone is complying. And regarding another safe driving nemesis: distractions. Does anybody really know why – actually we know it’s profit – would automakers build and the government permit new vehicles being put out with every tech gizmo known to mankind available? Forget texting while driving for a moment. Just wait until they start pulling people over for console Facebooking (ok, not a verb but you get it) while driving.

Thorns for Cleveland Indians management. There are plans to build a statue honoring Jim Thome. Sure he is the franchise leader in career home runs. But isn’t the same guy who said – back in 2002 when his contract was up- that it wasn’t about money before running to Philadelphia for riches beyond what the Indians ‘ payroll could afford??What about a statue for someone more deserving? Perhaps Larry Doby, Herb Score or Lou Boudreau. Or, if they want a modern-era player, then how about fan favorite Omar Vizquel?

At least he never left Cleveland for more money