New Recipe: Your Morning Matters: The Cookie Master

The mass vaccination site planned for the former Dillard’s store inside Southern Park Mall is set to open Thursday.

Good morning and welcome to your Morning Matters — with reporter Jess Hardin.

It’s Friday, March 26, 2021, and after two years under the journalistic tutelage of Mark Sweetwood, I’m pretty cynical about everything — especially attempts by corporations and politicians to appear “just like us.”

First lady Fran DeWine’s appearances on Gov. Mike DeWine’s news briefings to share recipes were no exception. I know what you’re thinking: What kind of joyless grouch is cynical about pies!?

On Monday, during the governor’s visit to the Eugenia Atkinson Recreation Center in Youngstown, Mrs. DeWine came equipped with a basket full of cookies. The little round brownies were soft and sweet and contained a perfect little dollop of peanut butter Buckeye cookie filling. They were delicious. 

Sure, her token was likely intended to “sweeten” the public’s impression of her husband, but I can also admit that my skepticism gets in the way of an important truth: From a cynical young journalist to Ohio’s first lady, cooking and sharing food has brought comfort to many of us this past year. 

I spent the first three months of the pandemic at my mom’s house in suburban Pittsburgh, and our shared happiness came primarily from making really good meals. With a sourdough starter I later abandoned, I regularly destroyed my patient mother’s kitchen making bread, biscuits, pizza, focaccia and fresh pasta. And sharing recipes was all part of the fun. 

Here’s the Google doc I created listing my favorites. If you’re interested in what Mrs. DeWine has been cooking up this year, check her out on Twitter.

Here’s what else you need to know about the Mahoning Valley today:

The mass vaccination site planned for the former Dillard’s store inside Southern Park Mall is set to open Thursday, after a run-through Wednesday when about 800 people received the vaccine.

The Boardman site is expected to receive 2,500 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine each week. Though Ohio’s vaccine eligibility opens next week for those age 16 and older, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved only for those age 18 and older. Reporter Justin Dennis explains what you need to know to get in line.

Pandemic facts

  • In the U.S.: 30,072,022 confirmed cases; 546,352 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine at 8 p.m. March 25.
  • In Ohio: The Ohio Department of Health dashboard was not updated Thursday.
  • In Pennsylvania: 1,000,240 confirmed cases; 24,917 deaths.
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: Closed at 32,619.48, up 199.42 points, or 0.62 percent.

Other matters

Now that state lawmakers have pushed a new Senate bill past Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto and hampered his executive power over the COVID-19 crisis, what happens next? Reporter Justin Dennis looks for some answers. Mahoning Matters

Attorney David Betras is taking a hard look at the Second Amendment this week: “The plain text of the amendment is a logical starting point for the discussion,” he notes, adding, “In recent years, the exact meaning of those words has been hotly debated.” Mahoning Matters

Free COVID-19 home testing kits from Mahoning County Public Health are available at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County locations. Mahoning Matters

Looking for things to do this weekend? Lit Youngstown is hosting a virtual poetry workshop, and the Youngstown State University Penguins football team faces North Dakota at noon Saturday. Check out Weekend Matters and the Mahoning Matters events calendar.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has specifically requested documents related to Lordstown Motors Corp.’s preorders for its electric truck and its merger with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., according to the company’s annual report filed Thursday. The Business Journal [May require registration.]

The Department of Job and Family Services said Thursday that of the 69,368 initial unemployment claims reported this week, about 7,400, or nearly 11 percent, have been flagged for potential fraud. WFMJ

Warren City Council approved the construction of a police-controlled impound lot downtown. Police would store any vehicle involved in criminal activity in the lot and charge a fee for a return to its owner. WKBN

The Youngstown City Board of Education voted 4-3 on Tuesday against a 100 percent, 15-year property tax abatement request for additional work at an $8.6 million housing project at Youngstown State University. The Vindicator [May encounter paywall.]

In case you missed it

Youngstown State University is partnering with the Youngstown City Health District to offer two coronavirus vaccination clinics for students, faculty, staff and family members next week. Mahoning Matters

Your comments matter

“Where did they think the money would come from when they started pushing college as the only successful option?”

— Kathy Duraney, on President Joe Biden’s administration saying it will “streamline” student debt forgiveness for thousands of borrowers.

Registered readers can comment on a selection of our stories, and all readers can comment on stories on our Facebook page. Opinions published here do not reflect the views of Mahoning Matters.

Event of the weekend

In its final home game of the spring season, the Youngstown State University football team will face sixth-ranked North Dakota at noon Saturday at Stambaugh Stadium. For ticket information, click here.

To see what else is going on around the Mahoning Valley, check out Mahoning Matters’ event calendar here, or click the Events tab on the top menu at

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