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Dear reader,

We are going through trying times. Mere weeks ago most Americans were unaware of something called the COVID-19 coronavirus. After all, it was something people on the other side of the world were dealing with. Not us. Not here in our own region. In our own towns and cities.

But now we can’t escape it. It has dramatically impacted each and every life across our country. Schools are closed and many businesses are shuttered. There have been runs on and subsequent shortages of everything from, yes, toilet paper, to critical supplies such as face masks. Social distancing has become part of our vernacular.

The virus is sinister, attacking young and old. Sometimes with fatal results as we have sadly seen in our very own areas. Information is essential during what has become one of the most calamitous periods in recent memory in our nation. Many businesses have been deemed essential. As have conduits of information such as newspapers that citizens need to stay abreast of fluid developments surrounding the virus.

Your primary information source is the The Salem News. We want to provide you with an update of how we are utilizing our resources so that you and your loved ones can be fully informed. A large portion of our staff is now working from home. Only essential employees are working in-office, always maintaining distancing.

Just as you are with your families, we are assessing each day how best we can keep our employees safe and healthy so that they can continue to bring you the latest local news on how COVID-19 is affecting and altering our way of life. Yes, there are other news events that warrant coverage. Those are getting covered, too. But we have harnessed our resources toward coronavirus coverage.

The Salem News continues to print and post online daily updates from the county health districts. We run updated lists of cancellations and postponements. We run lists of food outlets and restaurants offering takeout services. We have told you about the kind acts such as resourceful citizens making face masks at home to donate. We have told you about food drives and an instructor at the Career Center making face shields for local medical personnel. We have told you about that center graduating a class of registered nurses just in time to help combat the virus. We have reported on the local Brightside Project holding a Crisis Relief food bad distribution. We have told you about how local funeral homes such as Stark Memorial and Brown Funeral Home have been affected.

We have told you about the Salem Regional Medical Center serving as a beacon of light during this crisis. You learned about the Salem School District donating supplies to the hospital. Ditto for local women making face masks to donate to SRMC. We have told you about Facebook forums connecting those disconnected. A community forum will be conducted by the West Branch School District.

We have told you about a birthday party parade that neighbors threw for a gleeful youngster with vehicles driving by with horns blaring and balloons floating. We have told you about the joint vocational school providing 3-D printers. We have told you about virtual schools and parents-turned-instructors so their children can learn at home.

The “feel good” news is vital. It is testament to the spirit and resolve that has captivated all of us: to not get beaten down by this microscopic nemesis packing a catastrophic punch.

But, sadly, with all the good news comes all the bad. As this is written, there are five deaths among 28 reported cases in Columbiana County. In Mahoning County the numbers are 10 deaths and 177 cases. That county ranks among our state’s most affected.

We will continue to provide all that you need to know specific to our area and to your own lives. We will provide tips from the experts. We will provide you guidance on how to strategize in dealing with hardships such as being unemployed and the uncertainties that are beckoning. We will cover church services that are now being held in parking lots. That includes those planned this weekend in the Salem area. Check out today’s church page. We will detail what contingency plans are being put in place should schools remain closed. We will look into what businesses now open that may be forced to close.

If you have any coverage ideas you would like to see us do, please contact executive editor J.D. Creer at jdcreer@salemnews.net. You can visit salemnews.net and access our Virtual Newsroom which is easy to use. Submit news including the “feel good” kind.

Our website at salemnews.net is constantly updated with breaking news related to the coronavirus. Utilize it and stay informed. We are all teammates. Strength does come with numbers. If in need, reach out. Help is indeed out there.

Local news matters. You need it and The Salem News strives to provide it. More now than ever. We are your trusted local news source. And, please stay healthy and abide by suggestions and requests made by health officials. It will benefit all of us if you do just that. Heed the message from the city health district: “Do the right things.”

We take heart from the message on the Salem Community Theatre marquee. It reads: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” It surely will and so will we.

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