Thorns for the revelation by the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration of a local business being cited multiple times for safety and health violations. Proposed penalties for Metal & Wire Products in the Salem Industrial Park total nearly $73,0000. Potential hazards listed violations which could have led to press-operation injuries as serious as amputations. Any employee should expect to work in the safest of environments. We have not learned of such kinds of injuries in this particular instance. But when OSHA slaps 21 serious violations on a business, this is egregious and should get promptly resolved for the sake of the work force.

Thorns for a makeshift bottle bombs being discovered in Leetonia. One was found Wednesday evening. On a roadway near several parked cars. Near a church which was occupied at the time. An evacuation was ordered. The bottle was sent off for proper examination. It is the 14th such bomb found in the county since last February. Salem had has a couple of instances. And how crazy is this? According to the Leetonia police, juveniles are behind the bottle bombs, led by – amazing – a 10-year-old! Think of what a bright future that kid has. Where is the adult supervision/direction provided in these kids’ lives? This is stunning. Just punk pranks? Maybe. But it is serious anytime the word “bomb” is attached to anything.

Thorns for the removal of Bernie Kosar as a preseason analyst on WKYC-TV exhibition game broadcasts. Yeah, he can verbally stumble. Often. Maybe it was the concussions. But his keen analysis reflects why he was able to lead the team to three AFC championships games during the mid-80s. He is a Browns loyalist – a local kid from Boardman who grew up wanting to be a Brown and engineered being able to do just that. No mention was made of “diminishing skills.” And somewhere Bill Belichick is likely smirking.

Roses to Lisbon McKinley second grader Katie Hawthorne. She was recently honored by the State Fire Marshall’s office for finishing first in all of Ohio with her entry in the State Fire Prevention Contest. Katie was honored for grasping fire safety education and then visually portraying that knowledge through a poster. She is an honor roll student at McKinley and another example of the bright students – including the very young – that we have in our area. Her family should be beaming.

Roses for a high bond being set in Municipal Court at $150,000 for Salem man accused of demanding a man’s wallet earlier this month while holding a 7 1/2-inch knife to him in a Salem market parking lot. That is a long knife. There was a scuffle. The victim’s wife suffered a minor injury. The perpetrator’s actions could have been driven by drugs. After the would be-robbery was botched, authorities reportedly found 38 grams of heroin, 15 grams of powdered cocaine and five grams of crack cocaine in the guy’s home. Nice, real nice. He could’ve killed someone. Keep the bond high and keep such people off the streets. Get them treatment but get them off the streets. This is what Salem has become: Go out to get a gallon of milk and maybe a loaf of bread and end up having a knife stuck in your face. It’s a shame how deteriorated our town has become in so many ways.

Roses for the Big Reach Center of Hope, a Greenford Christian Church ministry. The altruistic organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary. A big event was held last night. The Big Reach Center of Hope, under the direction of founder Scott Lewis, is dedicated to providing the resources and opportunities to help low-income and needy individuals and families move toward self-sufficiency through education and training. Over the past decade the organization has distributed over 1.5 million articles of clothing. Last year alone over 235,000 pounds of food was distributed through the Big Reach food rescue program. That is impressive. The Big Reach Back to School event, planned this year for Aug. 2, literally attracts hundreds of children and their families who receive school supplies including backpacks that they otherwise may not have been able to afford.


Roses, well, today let’s make it Easter lilies for all the groups sponsoring egg hunts and related activities. Salem Realife Church has created a template for staging such events on a grand scale. Last Sunday, 18,000-plus eggs were distributed to hundreds of children. Faith-based – and fun-based – activities were also held. Good, clean entertainment for children and their parents/grandparents/guardians. Nothing wrong with wholesome non-pushy interaction for kids. There’s too much bad crap out there – think cyberspace – for kids to get into trouble with and misled. Didn’t see a single kid among the hundreds last week clinging to a laptop or tablet. What a wonderful sight that was. Special lilies for the longest-standing egg hunt. The Salem UCT Hunt at Centennial Park was held yesterday and is well past its 50th year. Those of us of a certain age can vouch for partaking in those egg hunts a good half-century ago which suddenly makes us feel very old. Very, very old. Lilies for simple hard-boiled eggs and parents who take the time to color them with their kids. Lilies for those kids eating the ears off of chocolate bunnies first; those gushy marshmallow peeps that are as tasty as they are sticky; and, fake Easter basket grass that the pets usually try to eat. Lilies to all of those of faith or belief unified today during this holiest of days. Like Christmas, there is a singular reason for Easter. Let’s not forget that today while we are carving up the ham and sneaking a bite of the kids’ earless chocolate bunnies. And if you do not feel likewise, at least respect those who carry a strong faith. Not, of course, to be confused with the hypocrites out there of which there are aplenty.

Thorns – along with several hundred tons of asphalt to fill them – for all of the potholes. Show of hands of all taxpayers sick and tired, absolutely sick and tired, of hearing about: a) your road is on the list but there are priorities; b) we used all of our overtime money up during the winter and don’t have much left; c) we used all of our material money up during the winter and don’t have much left; d) all of the above??Fix the damn roads. We’ve even heard a story of cops deliberately avoiding driving on bad roads during their routine patrols. If some of these county engineers and commissioners actually lived on some of these battered roads do you think they’d get fixed any sooner? Time’s up – you know the answer. The roads on the southern side of Mahoning County have always been disregarded and in terrible shape. They are worse now. Someone called the pock-marked area in question Cambodia because nobody wants to go there. People are being put at risk by these roads. The only people benefitting by mine field roads are front end specialists and they are probably even sick of them too.

Thorns for county commissioner candidate Nathan Walker. He is advocating drug testing for everyone running for office. That sounds very noble and we all get the part about drugs being nasty all the way around. Certainly around our parts of late. But his suggestion is nonsensical. Is there a valid reason at all for this? Has it been mandated into law and we missed it? It’s insulting and insinuating to those he is running directly against. What next??Lobby for his challengers to submit to breathalyzer tests? Maybe make them brush up on their parking skills, stand in line with 16 year olds, and have to pass a physical driving test? Attack campaigns get very little respect from knowledgeable voters. Stick to the salient points and refrain from issuing pointless, silly, press releases.


Roses for Dr. Joe Shivers. Salem’s next schools superintendent is a kids-first educator who is a genuine red-and-black, Quaker Sam, kind of guy. He is a good fit – homegrown and deserving of an opportunity to serve as superintendent. Let’s just say he knows his way around a school building. He comes from a good Salem family. He is values entrenched. His career began as a teacher at St. Paul School. He has not only taught but had several tenures as principal and other responsibilities such as director of curriculum and director of testing and personnel. With the breadth of his experience, he is absolutely ready for the job.

Roses too for the Salem BOE for keeping its search internal, since there was a worthy candidate, and rewarding loyalty. District residents should truly appreciate what great boards of educations they have had serving for the past five, six, seven years. The board has been an excellent steward of taxpayer money. The board has been progressive in marrying and utilizing evolving technology with a student’s education. Right now, the futures of Salem students – your kids and grandkids – are in great hands. Let’s keep it at the way.

Roses to the West Branch Local School District.?It was among 24 Ohio districts recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) as being among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) in the entire United States. The BCME program applauds outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of the core curriculum. This comes as no surprise to us. West Branch has a solid reputation that it has built over the years in its music department resulting in such a superb record. Hats off and a tip of the sousaphone for the West Branch musicians and teachers.

Roses for students of both Salem and West Branch involved in respective school plays being offered this coming weekend. Salem will present “Annie” and West Branch “Tarzan.” Given that there are different show times, those interested in seeing some very skilled, very dedicated young people ply their creativity have chances to see both performances. Heard often are the long hours a high school athlete puts in. That can be indisputable at times. But you don’t hear enough about the time and energy that students put into outside classroom interests like the high school band, cheerleading, clubs or, in this instance, theater departments. But they do and recognition here is certainly warranted. Best of luck, savor the curtain calls and break a leg – figuratively, of course – to all the students who will be performing.

Thorns to the “man camp” controversy in Columbiana. There has been discussion of developing a living quarters project – an 88-bed single story hotel geared toward workers in the oil and gas industry – on the former Lake Front Golf Course property. Nothing has been approved or finalized although council seems in favor of the project. However, some opposed came up with the term “man camp.” That derogatory term has ignited scorn in some residents opposed to a development. Let’s just say the past couple of council meetings have been well-attended. Council member Lowell Schloneger is urging people to get away from that “flash mob mentality.” Well put. We agree. Hmmm, let’s see. Prospects exist for developing a location currently just sitting there. Empty and vacant. On a nice stretch of road leading into the city. This would mean more revenue in both tax money and money spent within in the city. Where do people get off stereotyping someone who works for the gas and shale industry? What, are they all drug heads, rapists and outright criminals? What, like their money wouldn’t be good? And wanting to keep them out, period??Isn’t that discrimination among other things? It’s a form of adult bullying. Gosh, what a swell life lesson to present to the young people: that is you if don’t like someone for preconceived, unfounded reasons, then keep them out. Civility it is not.