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Editorials From Around Ohio

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

The (Findlay) Courier, May 10

It’s crunch time for those who make a living off the land.

Spring is always a busy time for farmers as they repair equipment and prepare their fields. But a cold and wet spring, and a late-arriving one at that, means most crops still need to be planted.

Through (May 4), only 8 percent of the Ohio corn had been planted, down from the five-year average of 25 percent at that point, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service….

Farmers prefer to have corn planted by mid-May, followed quickly by beans.

That means country roads will soon to be inundated with tractors, planters, spreaders and sprayers as farmers scramble to make up for lost time. Mix slow-moving farm equipment with faster-traveling cars and trucks and the potential for collisions increases dramatically….

It can take 300 feet for a car traveling 55 mph to avoid a collision with a farm vehicle traveling 15 mph. Even if a motorist has to slow down and follow a tractor for one mile, that would only take about three minutes, which is about the same as waiting for a stoplight….

Considering the likely rush to plant in coming weeks, motorists will encounter farm equipment along any rural route. It’s a critical time of the year for those who work the earth and help provide us food. The least we all can do is slow down and give farmers the space to get safely to and from work.

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, May 9

It was a transcendent and timely tribute to two women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, who had survived the unimaginable and whose stories provide hope to the families of the missing.

Berry and DeJesus were the star attraction at Tuesday’s 12th annual Hope Awards Dinner hosted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

But the missing-children’s center left someone out: the former Michelle Knight, now known as Lily Rose Lee, the longest-held of Ariel Castro’s three captives.

The center didn’t intend to insult Lee.

“As a children’s organization, we honored the two women who were children at the time of their abduction and whose cases we worked on,” Adrienne M. Owen of the center wrote in an email to the editorial board.

Yes, Lee was 21 years old and an adult when Ariel Castro abducted her in August 2002. Both Berry and DeJesus were teenagers, 16 and 14, respectively, when they were subsequently kidnapped by Castro, in April 2003 and April 2004, respectively.

All three women were subjected to the same sexual, emotional and physical abuse day after day, year after year….

(Lee’s) mother had reported her missing, but police later concluded she was a runaway, according to news reports. The FBI reportedly removed Lee’s case from its missing-persons database after 15 months….

And Lee became “The Forgotten One.”

And, unfortunately, that is also how the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children treated her Tuesday.

Maybe she doesn’t meet their criteria, but if ever a survivor symbolized hope, it is Lee. She deserved to stand on that stage with her sisters-in-survival, Berry and DeJesus.

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The Lima News, May 9

As Michael Davis learned, the laws regarding cell phones are murky at best when it relates to what police can or cannot do involving search and seizure at a crime scene.

Davis said he was doing nothing wrong when he used his cell phone to record a Lima Police Department traffic stop and the arrest of a person on drug charges. Police told him they wanted his cell phone. He refused to turn it over. What happened after that is a matter of opinion, but police ended up with the phone and Davis ended up with a trip to the hospital after a Taser was used on him.

He also has a court date in a few weeks for obstructing justice and resisting arrest, as well as a lesson in the law: What a person “thinks” the law might be can actually be very different from what the law truly is.

In the case of Davis’ cell phone, the law currently allows police to confiscate a phone that records video if it possesses evidence of a crime and police reasonably believe the evidence could be lost or destroyed….

It is an issue that eventually will be settled in the courts. We can only hope that when that happens, the courts do not attempt to carve out new laws but instead adhere to the Constitutional principles on which our nation was founded….

Meanwhile, the Lima Police Department did nothing wrong under existing laws in seizing the phone of Davis, and Davis was not wrong to film the incident.

Online: http://bit.ly/SSXHzV

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The Columbus Dispatch, May 12

A proposal that would allow the state of Ohio to seize casino winnings to pay back child support is based on common sense and fairness.

Those who haven’t been paying their required child support shouldn’t be out gambling to begin with, and any money they win should first go to feed and clothe the children they are neglecting.

House Bill 483 has passed the House, and has begun Senate hearings. It would allow winnings large enough to require reporting to the Internal Revenue Service to be withheld up to the entire amount of the winnings — so if someone wins $2,000 on a slot machine and owes more than that in back child support, he could go home empty-handed; his children would be the winners. The minimum amount that must be reported to the IRS varies by type of gambling, but is $1,200 from a slot machine or $600 or more on a $2 bet at a race track….

Officials see the law as a way to help the state reach its goal of increasing the amount of child support it collects by September 2015 to 70 percent, up from the current 68 percent….

A law that would be fairly easy to implement, save taxpayers money and compel people to meet their obligations to their children sounds like a good deal. And if it makes people think twice about gambling away money that rightfully belongs to their children to begin with, that’s a laudable outcome, too.

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