- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Feb. 18

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine served up some sage advice to about 1,200 police officers, faith leaders, drug counselors and others earlier this week at his second statewide conference on the ever-intensifying opioid epidemic.

He urged them to strengthen local anti-drug initiatives in every nook and cranny of the state. It is advice that all stakeholders in fighting the heroin and opiate plague in the Mahoning Valley should take to heart.

“The communities that are really making some progress in this area are communities that have come together - it’s really been a spontaneous grass-roots effect - to do things and bring everybody together: the business community, law-enforcement community, educators, service clubs and also the faith-based communities,” DeWine told them.

With no real signs of the deadly opiate scourge subsiding anytime soon, DeWine’s case to those on the front lines of the epidemic is compelling.

New data from the Ohio Department of Health show that one Ohioan now dies every three hours as a result of heroin or opiate abuse. And that rate is likely to accelerate…

The benefits of such locally engineered programs could be bountiful. That’s why leaders in the Mahoning Valley’s efforts to tame the monstrous drug epidemic should accept and act on DeWine’s challenge.




The Marietta Times, Feb. 21

Several presidents have treated their vice presidents notoriously and sometimes irresponsibly badly. The late President Harry Truman knew all about that. When he took office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he had to be told about the atomic bomb. Roosevelt had kept him in the dark.

Vice President Mike Pence should not be subjected to such treatment. His boss, President Donald Trump, allegedly failed to tip Pence off that former national security adviser Gen. Mike Flynn lied to him in a way that embarrassed the vice president publicly…

It is up to presidents and their vice presidents to handle their working relationships, of course. Pence is far from the first person in his position to have suffered ill treatment at the hands of a president.

Coming just weeks into the Trump presidency, however, the Pence episode is disquieting. A substantial number of voters last fall set aside concerns about Trump’s temperament and voted for him in large measure because they respected Pence, after all.

Trump is going to need all the friends and political allies he can get in Washington. For his own good - as well as that of the nation - let us hope he turns over a new leaf in his relationship with Pence.




The Findlay Courier, Feb. 21

Compared to some of the 80 or so drug courts in Ohio, Hancock County’s is still in its infancy. Now at the end of its second year, it’s experiencing some setbacks that are not unusual with specialty courts that aim high.

One goal is to help people break the bond of addiction and detour them from a criminal lifestyle. If that happens it benefits us all; the community’s incarceration costs are reduced and offenders become contributors to society.

But our drug court is still evolving and facing additional hurdles due to the heroin/opioid epidemic.

Over the first two years, there has been a failure for every success. To date, 140 people have been screened, with 53 accepted into the voluntary drug court program, which can last up to 18 months. Twenty-nine are currently in the program, 11 have dropped out, and 10 have “graduated.” Three others have been given neutral discharges, due to a mental health issue.

Several recent failures have overshadowed earlier successes.

Two weeks ago, the very first graduate of the program was indicted on new drug charges. Late last year, another graduate re-offended.

But those overseeing the program are taking the right approach by examining failures as well as successes to help determine what can be done better…




The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Feb. 19

Prior to the election, we feared Donald Trump would be a threat to freedom of speech if elected president. Since assuming the highest office in the land, Trump has made those concerns seem prescient by feuding with the media and attempting to delegitimize any outlet that publishes or broadcasts news critical of Trump or his administration. The now-familiar cry of fake news no longer means made up stories, but has expanded to any coverage Trump or his staff dislikes.

While we find these attempts to silence critics unbecoming of a president, it is not unprecedented for a president to fight with the media tasked with covering him. However, Trump took it a dangerous step further late Friday by declaring the media an “enemy of the people.”

The president is absolutely free to respond to media coverage he feels is unfair and provide his administration’s perspective on events - and anyone who claims he is not being given a venue to do so in the “mainstream media” is turning a willful blind eye. But efforts to silence or threaten critics - and make no mistake, labeling the media an “enemy of the people” is an attempt to do just that - is quite simply un-American…




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