Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, April 5
Six decades ago, the United States valiantly came to the defense of South Korea in a war against Communist expansionism, costing this country more than 33,000 lives.
Sixty-four years after the end of that conflict, South Korea itself is waging war against America, costing the U.S. thousands of jobs. Its brutal economic attack has hit the Mahoning and Shenango valleys particularly hard.
Today’s conflict stems in part from the Republic of Korea’s production of oil country tubular goods (OCTGs), which comprise a variety of steel pipes for the U.S. oil and gas drilling industry.
It is selling these products far below production costs, a practice known commonly as dumping. And let there be no doubt that the U.S. has become a prime dumping ground.
As a result, our nation has reached a record trade deficit of $26.5 billion with South Korea, a 60 percent increase over the past five years. That’s a far cry from the “jump-start” to the U.S. economy promised in a so-called fair-trade agreement with South Korea signed in 2012.
As of last year, the trade deal had cost at least 106,000 American jobs, mostly in OCTGs, according to conservative estimates. …
… (T)o guard against unfair contraction in the U.S. market, (the U.S. Commerce Department) should set its sights squarely on torpedoing the overarching threat from South Korea.
Then it, along with leadership from President Donald Trump, himself a fierce fair-trade advocate, should work to ensure the nation and our region no longer stand idly by as patsies of patently unfair trade policies from any corner of the globe.
The (Toledo) Blade, April 6
The University of Toledo had the second-best grades among all 14 Ohio four-year public colleges in an analysis of five-year plans to fight rising expenses. Bowling Green State University did well too. Now they need to make sure students see the impact in their wallets and keep looking for even more ways to save money while improving the quality of education.
If achieved, the savings and revenue increases across the 14 schools would add up to $1.2 billion, according to the report, which was issued in February by the three business executives on a task force Gov. John. Kasich created to make higher education more efficient.
The report graded the schools on how well their plans met seven previously issued recommendations. Only Ohio State University did better than UT. …
OSU is expected to leave $1 million in students’ pockets in a single year by using digital textbooks. For its part, Bowling Green found $1.9 million in savings through the seemingly modest step of working with other institutions to contract for copiers and printers.
UT’s and BGSU’s competitive results are worth cheering. They are evidence that northwest Ohio’s universities are making progress toward saving money that can be used to reduce students’ financial burdens and improve educational quality.
And while the task force didn’t combine the scores into a ranking, if UT and BGSU can take pride in their comparatively good results, let’s hope that motivates them to keep making progress. For the really important thing is not what bureaucrats think of paper plans; it’s whether the universities can, in practice, save money, add revenue and thereby help students graduate with better educations and less debt.
The Columbus Dispatch, April 7
We’ve heard a lot about “STEM” training lately. It stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
One reason it is a trendy acronym is because of a big push to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in those fields. If they can see themselves in those jobs, they can pursue an educational path that will lead them there.
Society needs more young people excited about science, in general. All of those young minds are needed to help dream up and develop whatever big things come next to cure diseases, develop the next generation of computer systems or a transportation system we can’t even imagine at the moment — to name a few things.
It’s important to inspire young people to consider careers in science because the average age of scientists in the United States is increasing, according to research by Ohio State University economists Bruce Weinberg and David Blau. The average age of employed scientists rose from 45.1 to 48.6 between 1993 and 2010.
At Ohio State, 37 percent of tenured or tenure-track STEM faculty members are 55 or older.
Scientists entering their 50s are at least a decade away from retirement, so we have time to get people ready to take over. But parents, teachers and other mentors need to encourage children who have the aptitude and interest to open their minds to the possibilities of a STEM career.
And not just because retirement looms for some scientists. The Ohio State researchers also note that revolutionary ideas have come from youthful scientists, so young minds could inspire uncounted discoveries.
The Ironton Tribune, April 7
It’s spring, and vegetable and flower gardens are on the minds of many. So are plush green lawns. But before you get started spreading your fertilizers and lawn treatments, stop to consider what you’re doing, and if you really need to do it.
It’s accepted by now that fertilizer run-off, from farm fields and home applications, accumulate in our streams and waterways and contribute to algae blooms. Both the toxic algae that force municipalities to shut down their water filtration plants, and the green slimy stuff that looks bad in your pond. …
The commercial agricultural applications are, of course, the major source of fertilizer runoff, but home use contributes as well.
And if your lawn care product is primarily nitrogen and phosphorus based, as many are, you may not even need it at all. At least, not in Ohio.
Studies going back to the late 1990s show that agricultural areas of the Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, have significant levels of nitrogen in their rainwater already. In Ohio, these nitrogen levels range from 5 to more than 7 kilograms per hectare. While this may not be enough fertilizer if you are commercially growing corn or wheat (it would be around 5 to 15 percent of your needs, respectively, for those crops), it probably means you don’t need to fertilize your lawn.
So, while you might still want to spread manure or compost on your garden for phosphorus, and might even be OK using a liquid fertilizer when you water, think twice before you fertilize your lawn. Ask yourself if you really need it. Chances are, with a little TLC, you can do just fine without adding any fertilizer, and save yourself a little money at the same time you’re helping save the creeks from algae.
When in doubt, manure-based sources of phosphorus are less intense than chemical fertilizers, and lead to less environmental accumulation.