- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

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

The Lima News, April 5

In coming weeks, the Ohio Legislature needs to find an effective balance between the priorities that Gov. John Kasich laid out in his biennial budget, and the needs of local governments and agencies.

Kasich deserves kudos for engineering a turnaround that has seen the state’s unemployment rate drop to 5.1 percent with the creation of more than 245,000 jobs, and for producing a balanced budget and a $1.5 billion rainy day fund after inheriting an $8 billion budget shortfall in 2010.

But Ohio’s recovery was built in part on the backs of local governments and agencies. They saw their state funds slashed as the governor shifted the funding of programs to the local level. The result was schools, municipalities and agencies cutting services as voters continued to reject new taxes.

With the new budget showing even less money for local governments and agencies, it’s clear the hardships they face continue to be underestimated by the governor, and thus need to be carefully addressed by legislators. …

As Putnam County Township Trustee Association president David Wieging aptly put it, “We’re operating with slim and none, and slim is on the way out of town.”

Online: https://bit.ly/1PcA7GG

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The Columbus Dispatch, April 4

Kudos to members of the Columbus Division of Fire for making the extra effort and volunteering their own off-duty time to cover shifts for the Cincinnati fire department so that firefighters there could attend the funeral of one of their own.

Daryl Gordon died last week in Cincinnati after falling down an elevator shaft during a fire. He was married with two young daughters, and had served as a firefighter for more than 30 years.

In all, 126 Columbus firefighters signed on to cover shifts. Several hundred more headed to Cincinnati to attend Gordon’s funeral.

It’s natural for firefighters to feel empathy for and help out their brethren; they live under the threat of injury and death every day. Still, it’s a complicated undertaking to actually cover for those in another city.

“This is a big legal nightmare because I got guys from Columbus working in another city representing Columbus Fire . it’s taken quite an effort,” said Jack Reall, a Columbus battalion chief and fire-union president.

Mayor Michael B. Coleman helped expedite the process. Said Coleman, “Our Columbus firefighters are honored to help support the Cincinnati Fire Department during this time of need.”

This display of compassion and duty exemplifies the best qualities of Columbus firefighters.

Online: https://bit.ly/1HIaJ6t

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The (Toledo) Blade, April 2

In recent years, colleges and universities in Ohio and across the country have borrowed billions of dollars to finance a spree of lavish building projects. Gov. John Kasich’s task force on college costs must work with the state’s public universities to rein in such spending and pass the savings on to students.

The cost of American higher education has risen by more than 20 percent since 2009, according to a recent report by the Ohio conference of the American Association of University Professors. That’s more than double the rate of inflation over the same period and greater than increases in the cost of food, rent, and health care.

Students at many public universities in Ohio can expect to pay more than $20,000 a year for tuition and housing. …

University officials say they must spend money on sports and upscale facilities to remain competitive and keep enrollment up. That’s no excuse for squandering public dollars on programs that don’t help students learn, and saddling students with tens of thousands of dollars of debt.

Governor Kasich’s task force on college costs should examine such spending, while being careful not to target academic programs such as tutoring. …

Online: https://bit.ly/1HIaB6W

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Ironton Tribune, April 3

A bill introduced this year, which recently passed in the Ohio House of Representatives, seeks to strengthen existing adult protective services laws by improving the response to elder abuse incidents and by encouraging reporting of elder abuse cases. …

But elder abuse isn’t just physical abuse that results in an injury. The definition also extends to unreasonable confinement, intimidation, neglect/abandonment, mental anguish or financial exploitation.

If signed into law, House Bill 24 would allow the Ohio Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission to increase awareness and improve education on elder abuse, improve policy, funding, and programming related to elder abuse, and identify ways to coordinate statewide efforts to address the issue.

The Ohio Elder Justice Act would also expand the list of persons required to report suspected elder abuse to include financial institutions, and it would give adult protective services the ability to seek protective orders regarding irreparable financial harm.

The bill is pending in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and we encourage those legislators to help move the effort forward.

Seniors deserve to live out their lives in comfort and without the fear of being hurt or taken advantage of by family members, health care providers or anyone else.

Online: https://bit.ly/1PcA7GG

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