Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Youngstown) Vindicator, June 12
One year and 10 months ago, Ben Lupo, the Mahoning Valley’s serial polluter, caught a huge break when he was fined a mere $25,000 for violating federal environmental protection laws 31 times.
To be sure, Lupo was sentenced to two years and four months in federal prison, a sentence he began serving on Sept. 30, 2014…
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court against Lupo, two of his companies and three of his employees, seeking more than $25,000 in penalties under state law. The suit alleges that the defendants “discharged and caused the discharge of brine, oil-based drilling muds and other oil-field wastes and wastewater” without a permit into the storm water drain that flowed into the Mahoning River tributary…
In 2014, after Lupo pleaded guilty in federal court, DeWine made the following comment: “Ben Lupo put his own business interests ahead of the health and safety of our citizens, our natural resources and wildlife. He will now be held accountable for this terrible crime.”
We urge common pleas Judge John M. Durkin to consider the ramifications of the defendants’ actions and to show no mercy.
The Marietta Times, June 8
Islamic State terrorists being pushed out of the critical Iraqi city of Fallujah have slowed the advance of Iraqi troops with a very effective tactic – use of human shields.
An estimated 50,000 Iraqi men, women and children are trapped in Fallujah, U.S. and Iraqi officials say. Those who try to flee the fighting are being shot down by IS forces.
Regaining control of Fallujah would be a major victory for Iraqi troops, who seem to be gaining in both skill and morale as they force the IS back, block by block. But the offensive has been slowed because of concern about the civilians.
IS leaders clearly have a dual purpose in hiding behind the civilians. First, they are using them literally as human shields, in the knowledge Iraqi soldiers will be reluctant to fire on IS positions for fear of killing innocents.
Second, the IS thugs are hoping to score a major propaganda victory…
It is imperative, then, that U.S. commanders and air crews redouble safeguards already in place to protect Iraqi civilians. Morale appears to be breaking among some IS troops – who also are being shot while trying to flee. A big propaganda victory for the terrorists could reverse that.
The Lima News, June 10
Heroin and opioid addiction are unlike any drug problem we’ve faced before, and it’s time to start treating it differently.
…In many cases, these addicts get their first dose quite legally, through a doctor’s prescription. Then they lose control…
Once that legal opioid hits your system, it likely reprograms your brain. Once your body and brain believe they can’t live without the drug, the depths of your decline know no bounds. You might turn to the streets to buy it once your prescription ends. You might settle on a lower-cost alternative, such as heroin. Before long, you’re committing crimes and making other bad decisions…
There have been efforts to combat this drug, sometimes with unexpected consequences. A 2006 Ohio law meant to reduce people from “pill shopping” kept them from getting the drug legally but led to the rise of street heroin in the state. During a more recent crackdown, opioid prescriptions dropped 11.6 percent from 2012 to 2015, yet the number of arrests around the drug continues to rise…
It’s a complicated issue, with solutions needed from law enforcement, the medical community and the drug treatment community.
Most of all, it’s an issue the public needs to face and embrace. It’s much easier to fall into this addiction and dive deeper into its throes. We need to be more sympathetic, less judgmental and more eager to help…
The Columbus Dispatch, June 12
It’s disappointing that congressional Republicans are holding up federal funding needed to stop the spread of the Zika virus. Every day that passes without a full-on assault in the research lab and with education allows a frightening health threat to grow.
Just as federal response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic was slowed by an abdication of leadership, political ideology is trumping public health with Zika funding. With 14 confirmed cases in Ohio, including one woman from central Ohio who tested positive in late May after a trip to the Dominican Republic, there’s no time to waste in combating the mosquito-borne virus…
It would cost much more to educate and provide medical care should thousands of babies be born with microcephaly, a birth defect linked to Zika that causes an abnormally small head and brain. For most people, Zika is a mere annoyance… But for women who are pregnant or hope to be, Zika is terrifying…
Congress should follow the guidance of public-health experts in allocating the proper amount of money and not allow partisanship and ideological budget differences to let Zika advance. Congress can and should hold Obama accountable for properly spending the money. But if Congress dithers, the public can and should hold its members accountable, too.