Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
Warren Tribune Chronicle, Jan. 4
If you still have any doubts that the shale oil and gas industry is making an economic impact on our region, we would direct you to a survey recently released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy.
The numbers show that while the Utica and Marcellus shale industry supported nearly 39,000 jobs in Ohio during 2012, that number could grow to as many as 266,000 jobs by 2035. Even more important than the raw numbers, most of that growth is expected to occur in Eastern Ohio, from Monroe to Trumbull counties.
Looking at it from another angle, as the number of wells and processing facilities in Ohio increases, the industry's contribution to the state's economy is expected to grow as well. Last year, the industry directly contributed $4.1 billion into Ohio's gross state product, a number that is projected to grow to more than $35 billion by 2035....
Workers for Halcon Resources began working this week on the first Trumbull County well that is expected to reach the Utica formation. The well is in Burghill.
BP, meanwhile, plans to drill 10 Trumbull wells by April.
All this could be the precursor to pipelines to midstream processing plants to downstream factories, all of will would provide a long-term boost to the local economy.
When you take a close look at the numbers in the survey, they support this anticipated boost.
The Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 7
Many economic indicators are going in the right direction in Ohio: the state's unemployment rate has dropped below the national average in recent months, and 132,900 jobs have been added in the past two years.
But a leading factor in higher poverty rates has seen a marked increase in Ohio over the past decade: The state is one of more than a dozen that have seen a 6 percent or greater decline in the number of families with two parents present....
Research shows time and again a high correlation between one-parent families and poverty; married couples with children have an average income nationally of $80,000. Single mothers' average income is just $24,000.
The effect is compounded by the fact that poor children are less likely to do well in school and get good jobs when they grow up, meaning the cycle of poverty becomes hard to break....
There aren't easy fixes for cultural changes that have been accelerating for decades, resulting in negative consequences. A New York Times story in July, based on a Brookings Institution report on the negative effect on children from the decline in marriage, drew flak from some for violating the politically correct view that people who say kids need two parents are judgmental squares. But at least this type of dialogue in the media provokes a discussion we should be having about the root causes of poverty and the kind of future we're giving our children.
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, Jan. 6
The sad saga of Penn State's sex scandal is getting even more sordid with the emergence of Gov. Tom Corbett in the role of chief apologist and whiner for the university. Corbett filed suit last week challenging the sanctions imposed on Penn State for its complicity in the long-term sexual abuse of adolescent boys by a former Nittany Lion assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky.
Corbett was joined days later by state Sen. Jake Corman, who represents the area where Penn State's campus is located and chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. Corbett's suit argues that the NCAA is violating antitrust law by sanctioning Penn State for the misdeeds within its football program....
We're willing to bet that Corbett and Corman, both Republicans, are on record as being strenuously opposed to frivolous lawsuits — unless such a lawsuit might serve some political advantage for them.
The Penn State tragedy provided an opportunity for the university and the state to examine the priorities and values that were exposed when people at the highest levels in the university and its football program looked the other way while Sandusky molested children. When the leaders of any institution become so consumed with winning that they are blind to evil in their midst, there is a price to be paid.
Corbett, Corman and others who have joined a chorus of complainers about the severity of the sanctions against Penn State are obviously losing sight of that, which is, quite literally, a shame.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 6
Open, transparent government is a foundation of democracy.
But the foundation is slowly being chipped away in Ohio. Little by little, nick by nick, state leaders are chipping away Ohio's Open Records Law, the law that allows the public to know what their government is up to.
Taken individually, these exemptions to our right to know might seem insignificant. Taken together, they represent a piecemeal attack on open government that deserves attention from anyone concerned about the quality and fairness of government.
Over the years, Ohio's Open Records Law was weighed down with so many exemptions that, in keeping track of them, they've lapped the alphabet and are now on (cc). That's 29 exemptions. As The Enquirer's Paul Kostyu reported, the just-ended legislative session saw at least 44 bills related to open records, most of them restricting access.
More are expected in the upcoming session. Some legislators and public officials are saying they see a trend of political opponents using public records requests as tools of harassment. With that as their cover, they're contemplating further restrictions on the public's access to records, ostensibly to ward off "harassment" of public officials.
It may be true that, in some cases, repeated requests for public records may be used as a form of political harassment. But that doesn't warrant restricting access to the general public. That kind of a "fix" would be worse than the "problem" they're trying to cure.