UP: No one thing can halt Ohio’s heroin epidemic, but House Bill 170, signed into law last week by Gov. John Kasich, should have a significant impact. The law expands access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Health care professionals soon will be able to provide all first responders, as well as family members and friends of addicts, with the overdose antidote. The law also protects physicians and first responders from criminal, civil or disciplinary actions for providing or administering naloxone, and it grants immunity to relatives and acquaintances if they call 9-1-1 after administering it. Naloxone, which has already saved hundreds of lives in Ohio, including one in Findlay last week, should slow the heroin death toll and help get addicts to treatment.
UP: It’s hard not to applaud farmers, especially in northwestern Ohio, where agriculture rules. Rex Cunningham and Fred Mengert, both vocational agriculture teachers and farmers, were recently inducted into the Hancock County Agriculture Hall of Fame during the 27th annual Farmers’ Share Breakfast. Burnette “Buzz” Powell and Herb Wilson were also honored, posthumously. Hats off to the inductees, past and present, and all other farmers who help put food on our tables.
UP: The latest controversy at the Putnam County Board of Elections appears to be over. Last year, Secretary of State Jon Husted had to replace two elections board members who violated Ohio’s open public meeting laws. Husted was called in again recently when the elections board couldn’t agree on reappointing a deputy director. However, that matter got resolved internally when Rebecca Hermiller was named to the board. State law requires bipartisan representation on each of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections. Each board is made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, all of whom must be voters in the counties where they serve. Political disputes go with the territory, but we have to believe Putnam’s board is now on the right track.
UP: Hancock County Sheriff Mike Heldman won’t have grounds to complain when Ohio’s new jail standards go into effect next month. That’s because Heldman headed up a committee that rewrote the standards during the past two years. The standards, passed on Monday, establish new minimum requirements for most jail operations, including classification of inmates, security, housing, medical, food service and visitation. The revised rules should help reduce the 349 city and county jails’ liabilities and save some operating costs. Most importantly, it means annual inspections, which had been put on hold while the review of the standards was conducted, can now resume.
UP: Combining some old debt with some new at a lower interest rate will save Findlay taxpayers more than $266,000, Findlay City Council was told recently. Auditor Jim Staschiak obtained a rate of 0.96 percent after calling in bond issues from 2003 ($1.7 million) and 2004 ($2.8 million) and combining that with $3.6 million of new debt for the planned projects at the Water and Sewer departments. The new $8 million debt was issued for five years. Numbers can be boring, but saving money never is.
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