- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

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

The (Steubenville) Herald-Star, May 11

College and high school seniors in the next couple weeks will be preparing to enter another part of their life…

Alcohol and graduation parties just don’t mix…

The graduate may try to pressure parents to offer beer or other alcoholic drinks at the party, so their friends will think they are “cool.” The parents also will be asked to look the other way during the party as the graduate and their friends help themselves to a couple cold ones from the keg or a few shots from the bottle.

Parents need to know the law is very clear about supplying alcohol to anyone under the legal age…

Underage drinking is one of the leading causes of death for teenagers - car accidents. Underage alcohol use also is linked to two-thirds of all sexual assaults, date rapes of teens and increases the chance of sexually transmitted diseases…

Parents need to make it clear the party will be alcohol free - even for the adults.

Parents also need to talk to their children about attending other graduation parties. Find out who is hosting, if alcohol will be available, who is invited and how many adults will be present.

Also, have discussions with your kids about what to do if they are at a party with alcohol present…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1EMlFxm

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The Ironton Tribute, May 15

No child should have to worry about where his or her next meal will come.

That’s why Fairland Local Schools has joined the growing number of schools and organizations that are starting food pantries.

Some students’ only solid and reliable meal is one that comes from a school cafeteria. Unfortunately, that still leaves children hungry on the weekends, holidays and summer breaks.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates more than 16 million children don’t know where their next meal will come from - that’s one in 4 children.

It’s no myth that hunger impacts children’s ability to learn. Hungry children have a much harder time concentrating during class, which in turn leads to lower grades.

Children with low grades can fall behind their classmates and miss out on a multitude of educational opportunities. Hunger can also cause behavioral problems and a lack of overall energy.

It’s simply not fair for a child to take focus away from his or her education to worry about how to get a meal.

That’s why it is more important than ever to support the food pantries and organizations in Lawrence County and throughout the Tri-State. Keeping those shelves stocked makes all the difference in the lives of children who just need a little help to succeed.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1RQuijv

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The Columbus Dispatch, May 15

Awareness is growing that human trafficking is the crime behind much of the sex trade and some cases of modern-day slavery involving immigrants.

New laws and initiatives have been put in place in Ohio and across the country. Now, workers in Ohio hair and nail salons are being enlisted in the fight against trafficking in the workplace.

Starting this year, Ohio salon workers are required to have one hour of training on human trafficking every two years as part of their continuing-education requirements. The training may be done in person or online, using a video tutorial and quiz created by the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force…

In Ohio, sex trafficking so far has been a much larger problem than forced labor: In his annual report on human trafficking, Attorney General Mike DeWine stated that 135 trafficking victims were identified by law enforcement around the state last year, with all but four being victims of sex trafficking.

There have been salon-related arrests in Ohio, however, and much of this crime likely goes undetected or unreported around the country. In 2010, for instance, a northeastern Ohio nail-salon owner was arrested in a human-trafficking case involving immigrants, mostly from southeast Asia, who were forced to work in nail salons using fake licenses.

DeWine told The Dispatch in a 2013 interview that people should be aware of salon workers who don’t speak English and who avoid eye contact. There might even be sleeping bags in a corner, he said, because workers are forced to live at the salon…

Online:

https://bit.ly/1IG7IWP

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The (Canton) Repository, May 13

Until the U.S. Supreme Court hears a challenge to the program and declares it a violation of the Fourth and possibly the First Amendment, some lawmakers appear hellbent on seeing it preserved. That’s troubling…

The central question remains whether lawmakers can strike a balance between protecting Americans’ privacy and safeguarding our national security…

Congress must enact legislation to end bulk data collection - not simply allow certain provisions of the Patriot Act to sunset.

One proposal could accomplish this, but needs to be strengthened. The USA Freedom Act would end the NSA’s collection and storage of bulk phone records, but would allow it to request records from phone companies based on specific terms - a person, an entity, an account or device. It also would force the declassification of decisions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court - the court that authorizes whether the government needs the data in the first place. Such transparency would place added scrutiny on the NSA and could discourage it from making overly broad requests.

The latest version of the USA Freedom Act still could be vague enough in some sections to be interpreted in bad faith, as groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have pointed out, but it is far better than the overly ambiguous version rejected by Congress last year.

It’s also the only option thus far that doesn’t allow the NSA’s data mining program to continue unchanged or severely limit the agency’s ability to gather intelligence necessary for fighting terrorism.

Online:

https://bit.ly/1H7wyKT

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