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January 6, 2013
Salem News

Thorns to the convenience store on Salem's main street getting robbed by a knife-wielder. Again. Gosh, do you think these kind of crimes are prompted by compulsions to feed drug habits at any cost or risk? It is only going to get worse. At some point someone will get killed. Thorns to a loaded handgun allegedly being pointed at someone in a popular city nightclub. Knowing you were sitting next to a gun-toter in a bar would knock the bloom off of a fun evening, wouldn't it? Charges are pending.

Roses to Sgt. J.T. Panezott, a 23-year city police veteran who will become Salem's new police chief effective Feb. 1. He has been fighting the drug war for years with the Columbiana County Drug Task Force Agency and Drug Enforcement Administration. That will be his foremost priority. Good. It is badly needed in this town. Congratulations to soon-to-be Chief Panezott. He is a local guy who grew up wanting to be a cop and has excelled in doing just that. Roses to retiring chief Bob Floor. We wish him all the best and thank him for his complete cooperation and respect in our many dealings.

Roses to the memory of the late Lois Firestone. She recently passed away in Florida. Lois was one of our own. She worked a considerable part of a highly-respected journalism career with the Salem News. She was an old school newspaper person: always creating accurate, clean copy and possessing a descriptive writing elegance that few matched. Lois helped preserve memories of our fair city through the pages of Yesteryears. That product was a historical weekly publication that featured self-generated reflections of the city's past. It was her idea to publish intact a page from the past. She and the late Dale Shaffer were instrumental in keeping up with the city's scrapbook. Those efforts will always be appreciated.

Roses for great news. Two weeks ago, a column passage concerned Leetonia Schools superintendent Rob Mehno. He was to receive a kidney transplant donated by his niece, Angie Pitts. The surgery was performed Dec. 28 in Cleveland. The procedure went well as has the recoveries of both patient and donor. "The number of e-mails, cards, calls and texts that started from you mentioning the procedure has been amazing," Rob told us. He praised his family and friends, especially his wife, Ursula. "With her support I was able to leave the hospital New Year's Eve, three nights after the procedure," he said. He will be eternally grateful for his niece - "a very special angel." Angie and Rob had rooms near each other and walked together each day during recovery. She too was released on New Year's Eve. She has, her uncle said, "been a positive beacon of light for everyone." And doesn't a genuine feel good story help offset all of the other bad news that we seem to read about day in, day out? Such as, yeah, robberies and loaded guns?



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