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The current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone in one way or another

Editor’s Note: As 2021 draws to a close, the News Journal looks back on the best stories of the year. Today we end our countdown by reviewing stories # 2 and # 1 of 2021.

Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base received a new assignment in 2021.

In August, the 179th Airlift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard learned it had been selected as the location for the Air Force’s new cyberwarfare mission.

“The Cyber ​​Warfare Wing (CWW) will place Mansfield at the center of the military’s advanced cyber capabilities and the fight against emerging cyber threats. The mission will also bring approximately 180 new jobs to the base,” the Senator said. American Sherrod Brown. A press release.

Following:Mansfield Air Guard Base Selected for National Cyber ​​Warfare Mission

Following:‘A True Game Changer:’ Brown Praises New Mansfield Air Guard Cyberwar Mission

“Ohio is acquiring a cutting-edge mission that will strengthen the fabric of the military community and further consolidate Ohio as a national leader in cybersecurity excellence,” Governor Mike DeWine added.

On August 3, the 179th Airlift Wing hosted a two-day in-person visit to the Cyberspace Wing site at the base at Mansfield Lahm Airport.

Lahm was one of two locations under consideration, the other being Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota.

Among the criteria taken into account in the decision were manpower, recruitment and retention; capacity building and connectivity; environmental; construction costs and the cost of living, the governor said in his press release.

“Not only will this new mission bring more jobs to the community, but it will also spur more economic growth and create new opportunities for industry and academic growth. This is a huge victory for Mansfield and for the whole. state, ”DeWine said.

“Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base is the pride of Richland County,” Brown added. “The establishment of the new cyberwarfare mission at Mansfield will help the people of Ohio perform critical missions in support of the fighter and expand the strategic capabilities of service members at the base. “

As a result of the new cybernetic mission, the Air Force will hand over the eight C-130Hs stolen from Mansfield, Brown said, adding that he would advocate for additional resources to support the new operational mission.

The community has supported the airlift mission for generations, since its transition from fighter jets to the C-130B model in the 1970s.

Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker said many people had worked on the project, including local, state and national leaders.

“I am very happy. They were very impressed with the support the base has received from the Mansfield community,” Theaker said. “It had an impact on their decision.”

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., adjutant general of Ohio, said: “This selection will build on the legacy of excellence of the 179th Airlift Wing to open a new chapter in the field of cyber The transition to a cyber-wing places the Ohio National Guard at the forefront of harnessing advanced technologies and capabilities for national defense and mitigating emerging threats. “

The Air Force has not yet announced a timetable for the new mission; however, the next step should be an environmental site assessment.

Hundreds of people gathered along Park Avenue West last month to protest against vaccination warrants.

Featured Article # 1: COVID-19 Pandemic Continues To Affect Lives

For the second year in a row, News Journal staff have called the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic main story.

As of March 2020, the world has been adjusting to a new way of life brought on by the disease that has claimed the lives of more than 800,000 Americans alone.

In 2021, vaccines became available to the public. Those who received two injections of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one from Johnson & Johnson were considered fully vaccinated.

Later that year, medical experts recommended a booster shot as new variants of the coronavirus emerged.

For some, it is just too much. Many people have complained of fatigue due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

It was seen in schools. Mansfield St. Peter’s became the first school in Richland County to require students and staff to wear masks indoors. Others followed, including Lexington, Ontario and Madison.

Following:Lexington School Board votes 3-2 to implement mask mandate from Monday

The mask’s tenure has become particularly controversial in the local Lexington School District, with angry parents attending several school board meetings to express their displeasure.

A number of parents have said they, and not school board members, should decide whether their children should wear a mask.

Others, worried for the health and safety of their children, backed down.

At least the area did not appear to see physical violence against school board members who supported the masks, as has been the case in other districts, including some in Ohio.

The delta variant appeared earlier in the year, while late 2021 saw the omicron variant sweep the country.

Indications are that many people are traveling this holiday season, which many people missed in 2020. Many fear the meetings could lead to an increase in the number of new cases.

People were allowed to return to stadiums and arenas to play sports and music, but not everyone did.

One exception was the return of the INKcarceration music and tattoo festival, which returned to the Ohio State Reformatory in early September after a year-long absence.

More than 75,000 visitors attended the three-day festival, which required people to be fully vaccinated or to show proof of a negative test. There were few complaints from spectators.

Meanwhile, employers have struggled to get people to work during the pandemic, a situation that continues. Restaurants seem to be particularly affected.

Towards the end of the year, many people in the medical field feared they would lose their jobs if they did not get the vaccine.

Following:‘It’s not freedom’: Hundreds rally in Mansfield to protest COVID-19 vaccination warrants

In November, more than 200 people lined up on Park Avenue West in Central Park to protest against the vaccination warrants. Most of them carried signs, while others carried flags.

Protesters urged passers-by to honk their horns, adding to a noisy atmosphere.

Local health officials and workers were preparing for the impending federal mandate that would require an estimated 17 million healthcare workers in 76,000 hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities to be fully immunized against COVID-19 d ‘here Jan. 4.

Unlike the mandate for private companies, the emergency order issued on Nov. 4 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would not give healthcare workers who refuse vaccination the opportunity to get tested instead of vaccination.

However, the new regulations have been stayed by federal courts and pending lawsuits create uncertainty as to whether the new requirements will ultimately be implemented.

Whatever the outcome of 2022, it’s a safe bet that COVID-19 will continue to grab the headlines.

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Twitter: @MNJCaudill