Editorials from around Ohio
Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Akron Beacon Journal, Oct. 7
How severe is the opioid crisis? Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, put aside the usual partisan hair-pulling and dysfunction to address the problem in a comprehensive way. Both the House and Senate gave overwhelming approval in sending the legislation to President Trump last week. The measure falls short of what is needed, as many experts have noted, with 72,000 Americans dying of drug overdoses in 2017. Yet it moves the country in the right direction.
Among those lawmakers at the front are U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat. For instance, Portman pushed a provision to block the shipment by mail of illegal drugs into the country. This aims, in particular, at opiates such as fentanyl, deadly in small quantities.
The Postal Service will collect electronic data about the sender and the contents. Private carriers such as FedEx already do so. If the information is not provided, the Postal Service, too, can halt or destroy a shipment.
Brown took the lead on a provision that ensures Medicaid will reimburse facilities that help infants who are born dependent on drugs. Among other things, it extends payment for treatment beyond age 1.
The legislation repeals an outdated rule that bars states from spending federal Medicaid money on residential addiction treatment at facilities with more than 16 beds. This change should make available more spots for those with low incomes suffering from drug addiction. The bill permits nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe medication such as buprenorphine that helps addicts break their dependence. It routes funding to research on alternatives to opiates in treating pain.
Both Portman and Brown know how hard the opioid crisis has hit Ohio. The state Department of Health recently reported that overdose deaths climbed last year, to 4,854. Fentanyl-related deaths have soared, from fewer than 100 annually before 2014 to 1,115 in 2015, 2,357 in 2016 and 3,431 last year. If the state has done a better job containing pill mills and prescribed opiates, it still isn’t keeping pace with the problem, let alone getting ahead.
Which goes to what many experts stress: For all the positive aspects of the legislation, it isn’t enough.
That is especially the case for making available both adequate medication-assisted treatment and long-term residential care, during which a recovering addict can begin to build and sustain a better life. This combination is the best practice. Yet in roughly $8 billion during the next five years, Congress has not provided sufficient resources. ...
The Toledo Blade, Oct. 8
You’ve heard that Millennials balk at buying houses or getting drivers licenses. Now comes news that the Millennial generation is reversing another trend of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations — they aren’t getting divorced nearly as much.
Surprising new research from the University of Maryland revealed that the U.S. divorce rate plummeted about 18 percent between 2008 and 2016. And the researchers give the credit for that decline to Millennials who are getting married later in life and staying married.
The sociology professor behind the study said he expects the divorce rate to continue declining as this generation matures and their parents and grandparents age.
The divorce rate for those parents and grandparents, by the way, is accelerating, according to Bowling Green State University’s Center for Family and Marriage Research. The divorce rate doubled between 1990 and 2015 for people 55-64. For people older than 65? It tripled.
Asked to explain the longevity of Millennial marriages, the researchers pointed to the fact that fewer of them are getting married at all. And Millennials are getting married later in life — in 2017, the average age for first marriages was at an all-time high at 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men — after they have gotten an education and become more financially stable.
Many have theorized that Millennials are taking a much different approach to marriage than previous generations, viewing it less as social or financial necessity. Instead, Millennials see marriage as an option and hold out for better suited partners at more opportune times.
So maybe today’s 20 and 30-somethings learned something from the marriage mistakes of their Gen X and Boomer family members. If it wasn’t what to do, it may have been what not to do after you say I do.
The Courier, Oct. 5
It’s been a rocky road, to say the least, this decades-long process to reduce flooding in the Blanchard River watershed.
Developments that seemed big along the way were really just bumps in the road. Doubt, planted by those who believed that nothing would ever be done, has been overcome by those who knew better.
Thursday’s shovels-now-ready ceremony to mark the start of Phase 1 construction, while mostly symbolic, should give the community pause to recall its journey. Certainly, Phase 1 is not the be-all and end-all, but a major milestone. It’s historic.
All the roadblocks, the time and money invested in studies, the frustrations with the Army Corps of Engineers, the differences between city and county, and even engineering missteps, seem less significant because the community, as a whole, pressed on.
Next, Helms and Sons Excavating crews will begin moving dirt and by this time next year their work will provide us some relief the next time we flood.
The benching project, which will give the Blanchard River more room to flow, marks the high point in a process that began shortly after the August 2007 flood, the river’s second-worst ever.
It’s important to note the broad community buy-in to seeing the project through. A list of supporters would fill this column.
For one, voters in 2009 approved a sales tax increase for 10 years that has funded various studies, allowed officials to buy some of the most flood-prone properties, and financed the Phase 1 project. And, there’s still millions in the bank.
We’re also paying closer attention to maintenance of the Blanchard, Lye and Eagle waterways, and realizing that keeping them clear must be ongoing.
Engineers say Phase I, when complete, will reduce flooding by a foot on Main Street should another 100-year flood take place. No, that won’t be enough and some places will still flood during major rain events, but it’s a good start. ...
Sandusky Register, Oct. 8
The “pocket park” at Erie Boulevard and Cleveland Road is a great example of neighborhood redevelopment in Sandusky. City officials and neighbors envisioned a new corner from the remnants of an old bank building. And, it wasn’t just any old bank building. Architecturally, the building was unique — in the shape of a pyramid — but it’s been mostly vacant for the last 25 years.
Now it’s an oasis of contemplation, for sitting, visiting, and taking it all in. Using the building and converting it into an outdoor shelter, with gardens and tables and benches is truly a brilliant use, or re-use of what was there and reinventing it to be something everyone likes. The city celebrated its neighborhood development efforts this week. The downtown revitalization — driven to a great degree by private money investing in the business district — gets all the headlines.
Downtown Sandusky is the neighborhood we all share, and we love reporting on the progress that’s been made, and plans for the future. It’s an amazing story.
But neighborhood revitalization has been chugging along, and “Pyramid Park” is just one example of that progress.
The city has awarded $357,000 in grants to homeowners in just the past year for improvements to their homes. It’s established tax abatement zones for new construction in neighborhood. The city has repaired or replaced 11,600 square feet of sidewalk, and resurfaced streets across our city.
The demolition of the old American Crayon building was complete, making way for redevelopment there, and razed other vacant commercial properties, including the old Hopper’s Mobile Home Park on Tiffin Avenue at Venice Road and the G&C Foundry property on West Monroe Street.
It was just a few years ago — before the Issue 8 tax money was approved by residents — when the city was unable to even knock down vacant homes, but since then dozens of abandoned eyesores in our neighborhoods are now gone.
Downtown revitalization grabs the headlines, but make no mistake, the city has made enormous progress in our neighborhoods and we’re confident city commission and city manager Eric Wobser have a commitment to continuing to build a better Sandusky from border to border.