Editorials from around Ohio

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

The Marietta Times, Aug. 19

…High school soccer in Ohio and West Virginia begins this weekend and high school football next week, but any athlete in any sport has the potential of sustaining a concussion…

Local health officials say it’s a myth that an athlete must be knocked out in order to sustain a concussion. That’s just not true, although many players and parents believe it. In fact, a concussion isn’t always the result of a blow to the head.

When a hit to the head does occur, a short recovery time doesn’t mean a concussion was avoided. Local doctors have said a concussion can show up days after the initial blow…

A concussion, and repeated concussions, can cause serious health risks and even death. As a result, Memorial Health System has partnered with some local high schools to offer preseason scans that record what the athlete’s healthy brain is like prior to a hit. …The program offers the scans at a reasonable cost to any area athlete.

We urge schools to continue to emphasize the need to know and act on symptoms of concussions and use the local resources available… when possible. And most importantly, players should never be allowed to “shake it off” when a concussion may have occurred. No amount of playing time is worth worsening an injury to a player’s brain.




The (Newark) Advocate, Aug. 20

…While alleged embezzlement from a local government remains somewhat rare locally, there have been several high-profile thefts from groups with very public roles…

There are so many thefts … the Ohio Attorney General’s Office operates a Charitable Law section to monitor nonprofit groups and investigate possible problems. The office even publishes a booklet detailing the best ways to protect organizations that “rely on the good-faith efforts of invaluable volunteers and sometimes paid staff members.”

Many of us are intimidated by tracking funds for organizations such as churches or community groups. We’re grateful when people with financial management skills step forward to volunteer time for paying the bills and tracking funds. We also tend to be a bit too trusting.

But when people agree to serve on a board or in a leadership role in any organization, they must make sure they focus on protecting the organization. We realize that’s often easier said than done…

That’s why board members must ensure written procedures are being followed and pay close attention to all disbursements. Make sure no single person has sole access to deposits and reporting of financial information.

Reality tells us that as long as people have access to someone else’s money, there’s an opportunity for theft, especially if the treasurer is facing unknown personal challenges.

In other words, trust but verify.




The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Aug. 22

A troubling report from the federal government … reveals a dangerously poor track record among many of America’s passenger and freight railroads. It shows the majority of them have failed miserably to meet congressional mandates to increase public safety and decrease death and injury tolls from derailments and other accidents.

… The Federal Railroad Administration said many rail companies have made precious little movement in installing safety technology designed to prevent deadly collisions and derailments…

Contrast those realities with the multiple foot-dragging congressional extensions for rail companies to install and operate those … systems… Clearly, the speed at which that lifesaving system is implemented must accelerate quickly.

Congress passed a law … giving railroads seven years to put the technology in place, and last year extended that deadline for three more years…

… To be sure, the rail safety improvements … represent yet another in Congress’ string of unfunded mandates on businesses, health providers and state and local governments…

Could it be that greed and seedy power broking also explain why Congress has stonewalled in committee a key rail-safety bill…?

That bill … would ensure companies replace outdated tanker cars with more modern, crash-resistant cars, would provide a tax credit to companies that upgrade their cars and funnel millions to safety forces for first-responder training in properly handling accidents and derailments…




The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 22

Meanwhile in Congress, Ohio’s Republican and Democratic senators teamed up with half their colleagues to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to change course on changes that could force many small food stores out of the SNAP program. That’s the old “food stamps.”

Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown signed onto a recent letter to the USDA warning of unforeseen, costly consequences to the agency’s good intentions. The changes, they said, could put at risk 45 million families, seniors and children who count on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to avoid hunger.

The USDA had good intentions: To provide the poor with greater access to healthier foods by requiring participating stores to routinely stock a larger and greater variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, bread, cereal, meat, fish or poultry…

But the National Association of Convenience Stores points out retailers would have to have a deeper stock of staple items, displaying 168 different items to qualify for the program…

… The USDA’s good intentions could seriously backfire and leave the poor worse off by further restricting access to affordable groceries closer to home…

Even the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy concluded that the USDA had enormously underestimated … the cost of the healthier-food proposals to a single store. The USDA should reconsider, given strong warnings that it would force out a large number of small shops that now are able to participate in the SNAP program.