Editorials from around Ohio

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

Steubenville Herald-Star, March 29

Since January, the parents of four area teens got phone calls that are every parent's worst nightmare — they learned their son or daughter had been killed in an automobile accident....

All four were 16 years old and had a whole life in front of them. Fellow students of the victims mourned the deaths, along with friends and family. The drivers of the vehicles made a mistake behind the wheel....

Teenage drivers have always been a worry to parents. Parents lecture their children about driving safe and the consequences of making bad decisions on the road. But there are too many distractions for teen drivers, especially with other children in the car.

Parents need to make sure teen drivers are well educated about the dangers of being on the road. Cell phones and texting are obvious points of discussion. Keeping eyes on the road is another. Parents also have to talk to their children about the responsibility of being a passenger. Distracting the driver can have bad consequences.

Teens' passengers can't pressure drivers to go faster or pass a vehicle. The responsibility of being a driver with passengers is great, no matter the age, but teens are inexperienced as drivers and may not see the dangers lurking around them that older drivers may detect.

Everyone has a responsibility to educate teen drivers and make sure they get experience behind the wheel that will lead to a lifetime of safe driving.

The tragedies that took the lives of four teens in the first three months of this year affected many people. But it can be a life lesson to all teen drivers that safety on the roads is important every time they get behind the wheel.

Online: http://bit.ly/P9xfQr

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, March 30

Ohio Senate Republicans want to freeze — at this year's required benchmarks — energy-efficiency and renewable-energy standards that a virtually unanimous General Assembly passed in 2008. Senate GOP leaders also aim in the bill introduced Friday to create an Energy Mandates Study Committee to determine what Ohio should do about energy, and about energy production using advanced and alternative technology.

But Ohio doesn't need more studies. The robust debate that preceded passage of the 2008 law, Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221, fairly determined what Ohio should do. And Ohio was doing that, until, that is, utility lobbyists and some big businesses that buy lots of electricity decided the immediate gratification of profits is preferable to giving environmental balance a chance to work in Ohio.

The proposed Senate freeze, Senate Bill 310, introduced by State Sen. Troy Balderson, a Zanesville Republican, wouldn't just suspend the 2008 law, letting it kick in again, automatically, at some date "X." The freeze would also mean that Ohio would have to pass an entirely new law that might, or might not, match 2008's....

Balderson's bill appears to be a bid by the Senate's Republican leaders to pass a measure less extreme than now-stalled Substitute Senate Bill 58, sponsored by Sen. William J. Seitz, a suburban Cincinnati Republican. Seitz's bill would have gutted the 2008 law. Given Ohio's pressing environmental needs, though, an open-ended freeze is functionally just as damaging as what Seitz aimed to do.

Online: http://bit.ly/1hTrOvU

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Warren Tribune Chronicle, March 31

There are all sorts of possibilities for using unmanned drone aircraft to make our lives better. No pun intended, but the sky's the limit.

Except in the United States. Here, the Federal Aviation Administration has decreed that there is to be no use of drones for commercial purposes.

You can buy one of the small aircraft for your own personal use, perhaps to inspect the shingles on your roof. But if you set up a business to do the same thing elsewhere in your neighborhood, for a price, you may run afoul of the FAA.

Some people already have. As The Associated Press reported, the Washington Nationals baseball team had used a drone to take publicity pictures of players on its spring training field in Florida....

But the FAA has not yet developed rules for commercial use of drones in the United States. Though drones have been around for years, it took action by Congress in 2012 to require the agency to develop the rules. They are to be phased in, perhaps beginning within a year....

Lots of ideas for use of drones, including delivery of everything from parcels to pizzas, have been suggested in the United States. But because the FAA has dragged its feet on developing rules for them, we lag behind other countries.

Americans used to be known as the world's top innovators. We invented things. We used and refined new technologies. We made lives better in the process. We were trailblazers, envied and emulated throughout the world.

What happened?

Online: http://bit.ly/1gTcIv3

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The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 27

In the heyday of rail travel, many cities used the word "Union" in the name of their central rail station, signifying a place used by different railroad companies. Cities like Columbus and New Orleans lost their Union Stations to demolition, but places like Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Union Station in Denver and Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn., have endured long past the decline of intercity rail service.

As a task force of Cincinnatians looks at the future of Union Terminal and the Cincinnati Museum Center located there, Denver and St. Paul are celebrating the resurrection of their Union train stations. While the restoration projects in those cities focus on using the stations as transit hubs, there are lessons in them for Cincinnati's efforts.

In Denver, metro residents approved a 0.4 percent sales tax increase in 2004 to fund a multibillion-dollar expansion of the region's public transportation system, with a portion going to fund the Union Station renovation....

Last month, President Barack Obama visited St. Paul's Union Depot to announce a competition for infrastructure funding in a station that's been renovated into a regional transit hub....

Of course, the future for Cincinnati's Union Terminal is different from these two transit hubs. The building, which houses the Cincinnati Museum Center, is decaying rapidly and needs about $180 million to fix it....

As business leaders and elected officials weigh whether and how to save Union Terminal, we can learn from the examples of other cities that have decided to repurpose remnants of their past for future generations.

Online: http://cin.ci/1fFI42Q

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