- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

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

Warren Tribune Chronicle, Nov. 30

If there is nothing else in America that should be totally transparent, it is when government executes someone.

But not according to some Ohio legislators and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. These elected officials have argued that more secrecy is needed in order for Ohio to overcome difficulties in obtaining the drug “cocktail” needed for Ohio executions. Few companies have come forward to make and sell the drugs used for executions, possibly due to pressure from the public or from their own governments overseas.

Recently, by a vote of 61-25, the Ohio House passed HB 663, a sweeping measure that, among other things, will keep secret the source of drugs used in executions by lethal injection. …

The bill now is being taken up in the Senate. If it moves forward there, even more ways need to be sought to keep the execution process open and transparent.

If it remains essential to protect identities of drugmakers and distributors, then redact the names for a limited period of time. And, as the Ohio Newspaper Association has argued, maintain confidentiality for the physicians and public employees who carry out the executions. …

The most fundamental right of all is the right to life. There must be transparency and accountability when government itself is putting people to death.




The Marietta Times, Nov. 28

… Several local stores and countless businesses across the country are now opening their doors on Thanksgiving afternoon or evening and encouraging shoppers to give up their holiday traditions in exchange for the best deal.

Why not simply offer those deals online on Turkey Day for those who want to shop and leave the brick and mortar stores closed? (Leave) those who are desperate to find the right gift and those who have to ring it up free to enjoy the day.

So much of the holiday season is already consumed by traveling and hustle and bustle. Let’s keep our next Thanksgiving free of long lines and price comparisons.

There’s a simple way to reverse this trend: stop going. If the demand isn’t there and shoppers don’t show up, retailers won’t feel a need to open hours or a full day ahead of schedule.

There is already a long list of people who need to work on holidays ranging from first responders to convenience stores clerks to, yes, journalists. Let’s not make the list unnecessarily longer.




Akron Beacon Journal, Nov. 29

Justice has been served by DNA testing. Many of those wrongly convicted have been freed, their innocence proved after years, even decades, in prison. Now Ohio must do a better job applying the technology to the other side of the legal equation, using the tests to identify and prosecute those who committed rape yet long have eluded arrest, the trail cold, or the evidence somehow insufficient.

State Sens. Shannon Jones, a Springboro Republican, and Jim Hughes, a Columbus Republican, have proposed legislation that would eliminate the current statute of limitations of 20 years on rape and sexual assault when DNA evidence is available to establish the attacker. …

The legislation put forward by Jones and Hughes complements the work of Mike DeWine, the state attorney general, who has invited cities and other jurisdictions to submit their untested rape kits, long on shelves, to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for DNA analysis. …

Other states have moved ahead, 27 having extended or suspended statutes of limitations on rape or sexual assault charges if DNA testing can identify a suspect. They take various approaches. Some put no time limit on rape cases. Others require the filing of charges within one year, or three years, five or 10 of the DNA match. Better to follow the path of removing the statute of limitations altogether, the crime so heinous. …




The (Toledo) Blade, Nov. 30

Public forests make up just 4 percent of Ohio’s land, but that isn’t stopping private industry from seeking to exploit that precious resource. Ohio’s largest coal company wants state permission to mine beneath part of Barkcamp State Park.

Ohio’s record of accommodating coal interests suggests that the proposal is likely to go forward. But it shouldn’t.

Murray Energy Corp., which owns the rights to minerals beneath Barkcamp, seeks to mine under 16 acres of the 1,000-acre park in southeast Ohio. The company says that mining activity need not affect the surface of the park.

It cites as evidence its mining beneath Dysart Woods, an old-growth forest near Barkcamp. Studies have not found damage to the forest since mining began.

But this doesn’t mean that problems will not arise. Conservation organizations express trepidation over mining beneath public land, which can cause sinking and other surface damage.

The mine that Murray proposes to expand is operating with a Clean Water Act permit that expired in 2005. Because the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t updated the permit, the mine is legally operating under outdated regulations and could be damaging the health of waterways and wildlife.

The Murray mine is not an isolated case. Thanks to a state administration that is very close to the coal industry, it’s one of many sites allowed to operate under loose regulation. …



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