Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Lima News, Aug. 16
Life brings with it a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It is expected there are times when we will be happy or sad, angry or giddy, worried or carefree.
There will even be times we feel down.
Imagine being unable to shake that feeling of despair and hopelessness.
For someone suffering from depression — and one in every six people will at some point — that veil of darkness can last days or weeks. It can be so consuming as to affect daily activities such as work or school.
Every 13 minutes, it results in someone dying from suicide.
It's unfortunate it often takes the death of a high-profile celebrity such as Robin Williams to open the channels of communication about depression. Unfortunate not only because the world has lost a true comedic treasure, but also because greater awareness and open discussion of depression is paramount to preventing such tragedies in the future....
Depression is a real and serious health concern. In addition to compounding existing health issues, such as chronic pain, it can lead to fatigue, insomnia, persistent headaches or digestive problems and excessive sleep.
There is hope, though. Almost 80 percent of those who seek treatment for depression get better through a variety of treatments ranging from exercise to medication.
The key is being able to keep it in the forefront and talk about it without shame, prejudice or judgment.
That discussion has started. Let's keep it open.
Akron Beacon Journal, Aug. 17
Applaud John Kasich for mobilizing resources to attack the problem of toxic algae growth in Lake Erie. On Thursday, the governor unveiled a $154 million package of initiatives designed to curb the flow of phosphorus into the lake. The runoff works as the primary fuel for the algal blooms. The proposal serves to keep attention on the trouble that recently visited Toledo, 400,000 residents without drinking water because of contamination.
Yet, as quickly as the governor has moved, his proposal falls far short of what is required to protect the lake, which he rightly described as "one of Ohio's most precious resources." The bulk of the money comes in the form of no-interest loans for upgrading local wastewater systems and water treatment plants. The aim is sound, and the money (mostly federal) is needed. At the same time, Akron faces a $1.4 billion tab to repair its combined sewer system, overflows sending raw sewage into the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.
A similar dynamic applies to the $1.25 million directed to help farmers adopt best practices in reducing phosphorus-rich runoff from their fields. It makes perfect sense for farmers to plant more cover crops and build improved drainage structures. Yet the sum hardly matches the size of the necessary challenge in changing patterns of operation in the farming industry.
The governor may be quick to say that he gets all that, and better to move forward than not. Still, at some point, the policies concerning the lake must reflect those high-minded and accurate words about its preciousness.
The Marietta Times, Aug. 16
Improving the economy — providing more jobs — is the key to lifting individuals and families out of poverty. That has been made crystal clear during the last several years in Ohio.
Ohio's poverty rate, 16.3 percent at last report, is more than three points higher than it was in 2007, before the Great Recession. That is no coincidence; many Buckeye State residents simply cannot find jobs. Many others work in low-wage positions that leave their families below the federal poverty level ($11,670 annual income for an individual, $23,850 for a family of four).
Recognizing more effective steps need to be taken to attack poverty, Gov. John Kasich has established a new state office devoted to welfare reform. The Office of Human Services Intervention is intended to provide services to the poor more effectively, while lowering the cost to taxpayers....
One approach HSI Director Douglas Lumpkin may want to consider is obtaining current statistics. Even state officials who released a report on poverty earlier this year relied on numbers no more recent than 2012.
Kasich and Lumpkin seem dedicated to a comprehensive approach to the challenge, with initiatives in public education, health care, job training and placement and mechanical improvements in how benefits are delivered to those in poverty.
Lumpkin is to deliver recommendations to the governor before the end of this year. After careful analysis to ensure the plan is good — not full of politically correct feel-good initiatives — state officials should move quickly to implement it.
The Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 18
As Ohio youngsters return to school this month, a new testing regimen, along with more paths to a high-school diploma, are in place to help students become better prepared for later grades, college and careers.
It may seem daunting to the students who will be the first to take the tests, but it's an even bigger challenge for education officials, from the classroom teacher to local school boards to the state Department of Education, all of whom have been working to put in place what lawmakers decreed.
Although the legislature voted in 2009 to ask the education department for a new set of high-school exit requirements as well as new proficiency tests for third- through eighth-graders, and even though the department had developed a plan, as late as last winter bills were being proposed to delay or water down the new requirements....
Now, it's time to let schools go to work with these new tools.
But one of the most important of the new tools is the Common Core content standards in math and English, and a determined and ill-advised group of lawmakers is trying to take away that tool....
Rejecting the Common Core would leave the state without new content standards in English or math. It also would invalidate the years of hard work that have gone into designing tests to reflect the Common Core standards. Those tests, replacing the old Ohio Achievement Assessments for English and math, were field-tested this summer and will be ready to give to students next spring.