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A set of worn-out automobile tires here. A moldy and soiled mattress there. A beaten and banged-up water tank amid shards of glass everywhere.

For anyone who fails to see the direct connection between an anemic economy and surging food hardship and hunger in the Mahoning Valley, a pair of credible national reports provides more than ample enlightenment.

The “South Side Summer Experience” series of family-focused neighborhood events had its eighth iteration of the season tonight, drawing scores of South Siders out to share food, listen to music and play games.

For far too many individu- als in our state and region, pursuing the American dream too often descends into living an American nightmare.

The image of America’s housing crisis is of pricey, increasingly unaffordable housing in superstar cities. And there is too little housing—a scarcity—in those places. But there is another, even more disturbing side to America’s housing crisis: vacancy, and in some cases hyper-vacancy, in the nation’s hard-pressed Rust Belt cities.