- Associated Press - Monday, May 22, 2017

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

Sandusky Register, May 22

It is becoming more apparent with each passing day that Put-in-Bay village council is obligated to disband its police department and contract with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office to bring professional law enforcement practices to Put-in-Bay. …

… Not answering questions about allegations of drunken, disorderly or violent behavior involving off-duty officers should not be an option for any police chief, and it should not be tolerated by the village council.

Police Chief Steve Riddle has refused to answer any questions about three recent allegations of wrongdoing by at least two of his officers. He’s refused to release details of two alleged physical altercations between off-duty police officers and private citizens, or say what, if any, disciplinary action was taken to address the behavior. …

The Put-in-Bay police department has a horrendous past record of brutality, false arrests and failure to properly investigate crimes, including rape allegations and instances where rape victims were drugged before being sexually assaulted.

The more recent instances - this month - of allegations of violent behavior by officers now under Riddle’s command raise alarming questions: Is this a return to the days of the beat ‘em up boys violence and a lack of accountability for the police department? It sure looks that way. …

Online:

http://bit.ly/2r9k8Wm

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The Canton Repository, May 22

… We take for granted the role art plays in our everyday lives. Art helps unleash our children’s ability to interpret, criticize and visualize the world around them. It instills in them discipline, motivation and a positive attitude.

… ArtsinStark, the county’s arts council, has been in existence since 1968. In its nearly 50-year history, the council has promoted the valuable role the arts play here in Stark County.

Today, ArtsinStark looks to continue that mission, but it needs the community’s help. It is nearing its fundraising goal of $1.65 million. As of Friday, it had collected more than $1.5 million for its annual campaign. The deadline for donations is Wednesday.

We’re under no illusion that the community won’t carry ArtsinStark over the finish line. It has done so going on 11 straight years now. Of the 60 united arts fund drives in America, only ArtsinStark can boast of such an impressive streak.

But if proposed cuts in the federal budget to the National Endowment for the Arts are implemented, some of the recipients of ArtsinStark funding could be left scrambling. …

In addition to managing the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton, the county arts council also supplies funding to Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Massillon Museum, Canton Palace Theatre, Players Guild Theatre and Voices of Canton. Those organizations reach 150,000 people annually through their programs. But it also assists smaller programs and artists who have a profound impact on the people they interact with and the communities in which they function.

These funds are critical to keeping our community vibrant. …

Online:

http://bit.ly/2rL3uZB

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The Cincinnati Enquirer, May 19

The video footage is difficult to watch. It shows 8-year-old Gabriel Taye, a student at Carson Elementary School, laying on the floor motionless for six minutes as more than a dozen students walked past. Some students kicked him, others poked him, until an assistant principal came to Gabriel’s aid.

More disturbing and confusing was the school’s response to the incident, which on the surface has been less than transparent. Gabriel’s mother has said no one at Carson told her about the episode when she came to collect him that day. Her son died by suicide two days later and bullying might have been a contributing factor, she has said. …

… Unfortunately, Gabriel is not the first young person in this area to have his death linked to bullying. Thirteen-year-old Emilie Grace Olsen, a student in Fairfield City Schools, took her own life in 2014. Emilie’s parents said their daughter, who was Asian American, was a victim of constant bullying that the school district failed to properly address.

Cincinnati Public Schools has stressed that no official link has been established between Gabriel’s death and bullying at Carson. But the reality is that no school is immune from the bullying problem. Even though many schools have tried to address it with programs, policies and awareness messaging, the problem still persists. There are still too many Emilies and Gabriels. …

Online: http://cin.ci/2qa1zgA

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator, May 19

For a brief time it seemed that President Donald J. Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey had derailed the agency’s investigation into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election. But now, with the appointment of the highly regarded former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the probe, fair-minded Americans desiring the unvarnished truth have reason for optimism.

It is most noteworthy that neither the president nor any member of his White House staff had a say in Mueller’s selection by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. …

Rosenstein is overseeing the FBI’s investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself due to his own undisclosed Russian contacts during the campaign.

Indeed, Trump’s firing of Comey has added a new and significant layer to the investigation because of the specter of obstruction of justice.

The New York Times reported Tuesday the president asked Comey to drop an investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. …

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, according to a written record of the meeting kept by the FBI director. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let it go.”

… On Wednesday, the newspaper reported Flynn told Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign.

“Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser,” the Times reported. “The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.” …

Against the many backdrops that have fed suspicions about the activities of some Trump associates, Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation takes on singular importance.

The mandate he received from the Justice Department extends beyond any specific Trump-Russia connection to cover “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

… Mueller left the agency with glowing reviews for his honesty and forthrightness, which is why his appointment as special counsel is a step in the right direction.

He must be given free rein.

Online:

http://bit.ly/2qNcujv

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