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Editorials From Around Ohio

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

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, June 23

The mauling death of a Dayton woman earlier this year exposes serious weaknesses in Ohio’s statutes on vicious dogs that a group of responsible state legislators is pushing to strengthen.

Between the end of 2011 and this February, law-enforcement and animal-control agencies in the Dayton area received about 60 complaints about a home where vicious dogs were terrorizing residents. On Feb. 7, that terror turned deadly. Two approximately 60-pound mixed-mastiff dogs lunged at Klonda Richey, 57, ripped her coat off, gnashed at her ruthlessly and left her mangled naked body lying on the sidewalk.

Four months later, a grand jury in Montgomery County is investigating the appalling case but has not yet brought charges against the owners of the murderous mastiffs.

The Richey case illustrates problems in timely response to complaints of vicious and dangerous dogs and in appropriate punishment for those who irresponsibly allow their dogs to become killing machines.

In the name of balancing the rights of dog owners with the public’s right to safety, two state representatives have introduced bipartisan legislation to the General Assembly that they hope will help lessen the number of incidents that rise to the brutality evidenced in the Richey assault. The legislation’s noble goals merit support of all responsible pet owners in Ohio….

The legislation’s end game of reducing the number of dog attacks and serious injuries from dog bites deserves attention and speedy action. Dog bites, after all, take a shocking toll, particularly on young children, in our state and nation….

Online:

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Steubenville Herald-Star, June 23

The time is long past for the appointment of a special prosecutor to see what kind of fire is burning beneath the smoke screen of excuses and buck-passing that is the IRS response to the very serious charge of misuse of its authority to chastise political opponents.

The IRS accusations first came to light about a year ago when it could not hide that tax-exempt applications were being screened to see if they were somehow connected with the tea party.

Though blame was pushed onto Lois Lerner, who resigned as head of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit when she couldn’t push the blame down into the Cincinnati IRS office without it sticking to her, the investigation has remained ongoing.

Lerner has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and now comes the revelation that tens of thousands of her e-mails from a period crucial to the probe are missing.

The reason being given is a hard drive crash, but unlike most simple computer crashes, the data is unrecoverable. And as many as eight other IRS staff computers appear to have suffered similar fates.

Congress needs to get this probe immediately into the hands of a special prosecutor to determine who knew what and when, and who has acted to thwart investigations and questions being asked since as early as 2009.

Those missing e-mails sound suspiciously like erasures on the Nixon tapes.

Like those erasures didn’t stop the probes into Nixon’s misconduct, the missing e-mails shouldn’t be allowed to stand as an impediment to exposing the IRS and its activities to the light of day.

Online: http://bit.ly/TnCyO0

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, June 22

State Treasurer Josh Mandel, a greater Cleveland Republican, evidently likes to campaign. He traveled from Lyndhurst City Council to the Ohio House of Representatives to state treasurer in relatively short order — then, in 2012, challenged, unsuccessfully, Democrat Sherrod Brown for a Senate seat.

Now it’s 2014, and Mandel is being challenged for re-election as state treasurer by state Rep. Connie Pillich, a suburban Cincinnati Democrat.

And Ohioans are supposed to believe it’s a complete coincidence that, as the Dayton Daily News revealed, Mandel has become “the first Ohio statewide officeholder to hold (hour-long) ‘tele-townhall’ meetings with Ohioans.” The Daily News reported that Mandel’s office hired two teleconference vendors in April for $49,500 each — just under a threshold that would require state Controlling Board approval. The vendors dialed more than a half-million Ohio households; nearly 120,000 people accepted calls. Questions ranged from “bullying, to gasoline prices to consumer scams to pay-to-play fees for high school athletics,” The Daily News reported.

Just as well, perhaps, that questions weren’t limited to the treasurer’s duties. While Mandel isn’t the first state treasurer to miss meetings of the State Board of Deposit, which decides where to bank the state’s cash, he skipped 14 consecutive meetings early in his tenure — although PolitFact Ohio reported then that, “we don’t see evidence that the (treasurer’s) office is not functioning properly.”…

Regardless of what prompted the town halls, they suggest a lack of regard by Mandel for the taxpayers whose money he is charged with safekeeping and investing. He should desist.

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The (Findlay) Courier, June 7

Ohio’s new crop nutrient law won’t save Lake Erie from turning green this summer, but it could make a difference in coming summers.

The law, sponsored by Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, should help reduce the phosphorus runoff from farms, into our waterways and eventually to Lake Erie.

Algae feeds off the phosphorus and, when combined with warm water, can turn toxic. Unsightly and unhealthy algae blooms have discouraged swimming, fishing, boating and tourism in several Ohio lakes, including Lake Erie, the past several years.

Hite’s law starts the attack on algae.

Farmers who apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more must attend state-developed certification courses. It also provides legal protections for farmers who develop state nutrient-management plans and keep accurate records.

The education could save farmers money if they learn they are using too much phosphorus, and cut back.

The law took months to vet and required considerable legislative craftsmanship on Hite’s part to get approved….

Hite saw his efforts come to fruition … when House Bill 150 was signed by Gov. John Kasich.

While Hite has admitted the law isn’t a cure-all and knows more will need to be done to reduce phosphorus runoff, it is a significant development.

Years from now, when the algae blooms have disappeared, we will look back at House Bill 150 as the effort that got us on track to saving Lake Erie.

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