Vindicator shutdown leaves void in Valley

Vindicator shutdown leaves void in Valley

With the final edition today of The Vindicator, I want to acknowledge just how much this newspaper has meant to our community for 150 years. It is unfortunate and sad; the absence of The Vindicator is going to leave a real void here in Youngstown.

As with many youngsters in our area, my first job was as a carrier of The Vindicator. It taught me to be responsible and showed me the value of hard work. As an adult, I subscribe to The Vindicator and read it daily. It has kept me informed about local, national and world happenings.

The Vindicator exposed us to the real world in so many ways. With the final edition today, it’s obvious what we’ll be lacking without our daily reality check. Much has been said and more could be expounded on; however, at this time a thank you goes out to the ownership and staff who for over 150 years have made us proud to have such an asset.

Michael Iberis, Poland

Writer honored by request for last letter

There are a lot of reasons that show that Donald J. Trump is the lousiest president ever. Here are some of them: caging children, imposing corporate rule, destroying workers’ rights, rigging our elections, degrading women, making fun of the disabled, gutting heath care, denying climate change, causing more pollution, sticking up for Neo- Nazis and white supremacists, pampering billionaires, kowtowing to dictatorial thugs like Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, obstructing justice and making a joke of the presidency. There’s a whole lot more. The Republican Senate is totally under Trump’s control; they agree with every stupid thing Trump says and helps him put the screws to the American people.

Trump and his bunch of goons deny that there is a thing called climate change. Has anybody out there ever seen anything like the weather extremes that we have been experiencing in the U.S. and the world? The devastation due to tornadoes, floods. fires and hurricanes has been the worst in a long while. Do you think the Republicans will ever change their minds on climate change and do something about it? Don’t bet on it. They can’t do anything because they have to take care of their billionaire campaign contributors.

There is only one way that climate change and health care will be taken care of and that’s to vote the Republicans out of the Senate and the House and most important of all is to put Trump back on a reality show and call it, “the born loser.”

There is something that I am very proud of. I received a call from The Vindicator asking me to write one last letter to the editor. That is one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for me. In my opinion The Vindicator is one of the best newspapers in the entire area, including Mercer County in Pennsylvania.

It is a sad day for Youngs-town and the surrounding areas when a publication like The Vindicator is no longer going to keep everyone informed on the local news and sports. Again: Thank You for honoring me by asking me for one last letter.

Bud McKelvey, Hermitage, Pa.

Vindicator has been big part of N. Lima family’s life

It was with sadness I learned The Vindi- cator was no longer going to publish a newspaper. The paper has been a part of my life since I was a small girl. My aunt used to deliver The Youngstown Vindicator for many years. My parents owned a small grocery store and gas station. Daily the paper would be delivered to the store to be sold to customers. My mother was an avid reader of The Vindicator, and I learned how important it was to read the paper.

I have received the paper in my own home for over 53 years. I love to read the news, births, deaths, weddings, and so on. So much information was provided. I was disappointed when the paper became smaller. I talked to Mr. Franko a few months ago and he said advertisements no longer provide financial support. I told him my carriers were wonderful.

When I learned The Tribune Chronicle might publish a paper for Mahoning County, I called the Tribune and put my name on their list for delivery. I was told I would be contacted in September – if there were enough people in my area who were interested in the new paper.

Last week, I was so glad to read the Tribune is going to publish a paper for Mahoning County. Thank you Tribune staff. Thanks to The Vindicator staff for all of their hard work over the years and efforts to keep the paper in business.

Kathryn L. Heffinger, North Lima

Vindy’s strong analyses, community service will be sorely missed

In the final day of the Vindicator’s publishing history, I would like to thank everyone at The Vindicator for their outstanding community service. The Vindicator has continually provided informative, unbiased, essential news for the Mahoning Valley. It has been the linchpin of the area and I fear that the community will become increasingly disconnected and uninformed without it.

I have had numerous discussions with my (millennial) children about the importance of the local press. It was bittersweet that shortly after midnight Monday morning (Aug. 19) my son (who believes all things worth knowing are on the internet), e-mailed me a link to a national news site detailing the recent arrest of the alleged potential terrorist in New Middletown. I felt “vindicated” to be able to reply that I was aware of the event thanks to the early morning Sunday edition of The Vindicator.

There are too many Vindicator articles to mention that have served the community by highlighting the workings of the political machinery in the Valley and by providing background and depth to important stories. I really enjoyed the follow up article by Graig Graziosi regarding the radicalization of the individual apprehended, and also Bertram de Souza’s “Unsolved Mystery” series which underscores the importance of investigative reporting. How can a national news outlet or a local news broadcast provide that level of detail?

I wish the entire talented staff the best of luck in this unfortunate atmosphere in which (to our detriment) the importance of a free, fair press is not appreciated.

Barbara Roberts, New Castle, Pa.

Thank you, sympathy and apology to Vindy

When first read- ing the announcement of The Vindicator’s closing back in June, it was like hearing about the terminal diagnosis of an old friend, which indeed it is.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone in that reaction. Undoubtedly, grief of that impending loss affected many thousands of readers throughout the Mahoning Valley. It isn’t simply the vanishing of a venerable source of news which is disturbing. We lose the protection of independent, local journalists, embedded in the community acting as a check against the corruption of our local organizations.

That it takes a village to raise a child is a given; that it takes an institution such as The Vindicator to keep watch over the decision makers and leaders of our village, has been taken for granted. How many of us get our news online, believing it’s brought to us for “free”? We forget that the people covering the stories not only have a job to do, but a livelihood to earn. The publisher, journalists, carriers and all the behind-the-scene folks, need to earn a paycheck for their endeavors. Too many seem to believe that the fruit of their labor is somehow, the proverbial free lunch. We all just found out how quickly that feast can come to an end.

Back in 2015 when the U.S. Postal Service announced its intention to close the mail processing plant in downtown Youngstown, The Vindicator was instrumental in helping get that news out to the community. I credit that coverage for the outpouring of support we received, which ultimately helped keep the plant open. So it is now with great irony and sadness that just a few years later, The Vindicator, located just a few blocks from the postal plant, will be shuttered and its employees left scattered to the wind.

My father suggested to me that perhaps if The Vindicator’s owners had warned us how bad things were, maybe more people would have subscribed. Perhaps they did let us know, but we just weren’t listening. How many of us fail to reach out to an old friend before their passing, only to learn that we’re too late? We’re left with guilt and regret that we didn’t act sooner and the hard lesson that you don’t always get a second chance.

A community treasure is gone. Consider this a Thank You note, a sympathy card, and an apology from all of us. To the owners and all of the dedicated employees of The Vindicator, thank you for 150 years of watching out for us.

Goodbye old friend; we’re going to miss you.

Jim Varner, Youngstown

Varner is president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 443

1869: Good year for nation, Valley

The year 1869 was a good year. It was four years after our Civil War and the re-united states were prospering again. On May 10 of that year, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads met at Promontory Point in Utah. The meeting of the two railroads meant the western USA was open to the eastern USA, the people of the East and West were joined. A golden spike was driven into the joining rail to commemorate the occasion.

In Youngstown, Ohio, a golden idea was also being formulated. J. H. Odell wanted to introduce the people of the Mahoning Valley to the world and introduce the world to the people of the Mahoning Valley. On June 25, 1869, he published the 1st volume of The Mahoning Vindicator, a weekly newspaper that he hoped would accomplish that task.

In 1887, William F. Maag Sr. purchased the newspaper and it became a daily paper. The Maag family bloodline still survives in the Brown family ownership of the paper today. It has had name changes over many generations of Valley people; from its original name, it became The Youngstown Vindicator and finally, just … The Vindicator.

Now, the golden spike was replaced long ago, but the golden idea of The Vindicator has continued to shine brightly as it has joined the world and the people of our Valley for 150 years. It has added to the richness of our area for a long time. It will be missed when it is gone.

Donald Butler, Warren

Vindicator helped mold official of NY Yankees

The Vindicators would be stacked – up to a week’s worth – in the weathered metal magazine rack on our living room floor. Sometimes after a home-cooked “supper” and before I fell asleep in my narrow twin bed, my father would shuffle over in his worn slippers and tube socks, grab a heaping clump of papers and then shuffle back to the couch where he’d sit on the opposite end from my mother. His unfashionable reading glasses and thin black marker would rest by his side on the dark wood octagon end table. My parents would lounge there in silent contentedness, passing the paper’s sections to each other only after checking off and initialing their completed reading material.

I’ve lived my adult life in New York City, reading as many as 10 daily local and national newspapers as part of my role within the New York Yankees Communications Department. A good portion of my job involves weighing the relevance and importance each Yankees-centric story has on our organization’s baseball and business operations.

And I still enjoy holding those papers in my hands. How else can I take in the news judgment inherent in the placement of headlines and photos, things that don’t translate to the computer screen? There’s also the softer factor at play; hearing the paper crunch and crinkle is a reminder that people – humans – labored to produce it. My staff – comprised mostly of millennials – look quizzically in my direction as they burrow their faces into smartphones and tablets.

My technique is an ode to my upbringing. But the reactions elicited from my younger, more-tech-savvy, Terminator-like co-workers is a peek into the fundamental issue that has brought such peril the core of the newspaper business.

The world around me has grown exponentially since I departed the North Side of Youngstown, and so has my appreciation for the comfort that comes from a hometown newspaper. It informs. It challenges. And it provides the sturdy framing for the place we call home.

The essence of a newspaper, regardless of its circulation numbers or the pockets of communities it covers, is to find and report truths. Youngstown’s truths – at least in my lifetime – have been rough and ragged and unvarnished. My hometown’s truth has been struggle.

But Youngstown’s truths have also been borne form grit and resilience and strength. And I felt all those things, oftentimes on the same day, when I leafed through the ink-stained pages of The Vindy.

I find myself looking back on the Youngstown of my youth more often than I ever thought I would. I’m currently very much entrenched in middle age (graying hair, reading glasses, and my very first colonoscopy). But those memories of my parents reading The Vindy blend and merge with snow days spent sledding down the hill and into the creek at Crandall Park, celebrating my dad’s payday by buying fish for my 20-gallon tank from Lucy’s Tropical Fish on Elm Street, and playing Wiffle ball in my back yard on an endless loop, wearing out the pachysandra patch while trying to uncover home run balls.

Somewhere in my office here at Yankee Stadium is a worn, yellow-tinted copy of the front page article that ran in The Vindicator the day after the Rayen Tigers won the high school basketball state championship in 1985. My best friend Peter Sniderman and our families followed that team all around the state, finally settling into our seats in St. John Arena for the historic game. The 12-year-old me watched Mike Lyle and Floyd Showers run out of the tunnel to mid-court and I burst with anticipation as the bleacher seats began to sway.

I’m here in Manhattan with a wife and a 7-year-old daughter (who recently completed the kid’s New York Times crossword puzzle for the first time). Peter has a wife and two children and now calls Charleston, S.C., home. My mom took ill with Alzheimer’s too many years ago, and lives in an assisted living residence in New Middletown. In 2016, my now-76-year-old dad moved to the outskirts of Poland to make his daily visits to her more agreeable.

That magazine rack managed to make the move, too, but its contents have receded with the years.

Ohio – Northeast Ohio – figures to play a vital role in next year’s presidential election, and of course the national media will come around. They’ll spend some time in Youngstown, checking in with the patrons at lunch counters and coffee shops to see how they reflect on the national news. That’s how things trend today. It’s all about the big picture, the global angle, the perfectly evocative spot for the CNN standup.

I wonder, though, what happens when they all leave? Who will write Youngstown’s stories, the ones that would never make it into The Washington Post, but that still need telling? Who’s going to be there to document the school closing, the wedding announcement, the local government subterfuge, the next state championship? It’s been left to us, reluctantly, to become the storytellers.

I’m so sorry to see The Vindicator go. But storefronts shutter, those closest to us move on, while others pass on. Those things we’ve counted on for so long to bring us measures of reliability, evenness and a sense of balance break our hearts when they leave.

But we’ll continue on, gripping firmly to the things of our past that make us what we’ve grown to become.

Jason Zillo, New York City

Jason Zillo is vice president, Communications and Media Relations, New York Yankees

Bertram’s columns will be missed

It is with great sadness that I learned that the great newspaper The Youngstown Vindicator was ceasing publication today, Aug. 31, 2019.

I, and many others in the Mahoning Valley, have come to depend on Bertram de Souza’s columns to keep us up-to-date on the latest events, such as the closing of the General Motors Lordstown plant after 53 years of production. Also, the fine and important exposure of the many cases of graft and corruption, of local politicians and businessmen. Your readers came to depend on his column to keep us informed.

I am left to wonder where this information from his Sunday column will be available to your readers anymore.

In closing, I must say that this letter could be a lot longer, but I can only write that there will be a large void where The Youngstown Vindicator, and Bertram’s vital columns once appeared.

I felt secure that we would learn the truth, in The Vindicator reporting, when I went to my paper box each and every day of the week. The daily countdown was painful and distressing.

I wish the paper’s staff the best in their future endeavors.

Sherry George, Salem

Closing came as surprise

I really did not expect The Vindy to close even though it was obvious that t hings were changing in the industry. While not always in agreement with the columns of Bertram de Souza, I enjoyed his perspective on politics! Good luck

Kathy Miller, Boardman

Integrity of Vindicator cited by Liberty schools chief

On behalf of the Liberty Local School District, I would like to express my sincere appreciation of The Vindicator and its long-standing commitment to covering public education in Trumbull and Mahoning counties

In my experience as a superintendent, I have appreciated The Vindicator’s integrity and objectivity when reporting school news – positive or negative.

Although, we at Liberty Schools were delighted to learn part of The Vindicator’s legacy will continue with the Tribune Chronicle, we lament the loss of The Vindicator, its editors Todd Franko and Mark Sweetwood and the other members of the paper’s staff, particularly reporter Samatha Phillips, who most recently was the journalist assigned to Liberty.

Samantha always provided truthful reporting of the news and events pertaining to Liberty schools. She worked honorably to showcase the efforts of the Liberty Local School District, its students, staff and administrators.

I will be forever grateful of the work of The Vindicator, as it has allowed so many people in our community to recognize the good things that happen daily within the world of public education and the lives of our families.

Superintendent Joseph Nohra Liberty Local Schools

Family’s Vindicator tradition kept alive through the years

My father worked for The Vindicator for more than 40 years in the advertising collection department. He loved his career, his colleagues and respected the Brown family. His salary paid for my college education. Today, my daughter, Tammy Miller, is an editor at The Vindicator. She has enjoyed her time there, and her grandfather would have been so proud.

My grandfather sold the paper at his general store in North Lima. Almost everyone bought it. I learned to read the funnies with Sister Sue, who, I think, was on WFMJ radio. I learned about art from Clyde Singer, and we all paid attention to the polio reports The Vindicator published each year. We learned about the first cases in the city, when public pools would close and when water fountains would be turned off.

My grandson participated in the Spelling Bee a few years ago. It was an exciting time for me, and he enjoyed the experience.

I am a total Vindicator “phile.” My favorite parts are the Sunday Best section and the Years Ago column.

I wish the Brown family the best in the future – be sure you will leave a void in the Valley. Thank you for the great reporting, the talented staff, and keeping us informed. Au revoir and God bless.

Ardell Tiller, Poland