I-75 dangers, School counseling

The replacement of the U.S. 224 bridge over Interstate 75 is well underway, but the headaches may be just starting for those passing through the construction zone.
A series of collisions in a several-mile stretch Monday may or may not have been related to the construction commotion, but should still raise the level of caution for anyone traveling this area of the interstate.
The first accident took place on the northbound side just north of U.S. 224 interchange. That triggered two collisions well behind it as some were unable to stop for traffic slowing for the first scene to clear.
Five people were injured, two seriously, but it could have been worse. The interstate was shut down for two hours, agony for those forced to wait.
We have a feeling the State Highway Patrol will be keeping a close watch in and around the construction zone until it is completed sometime this fall. Perhaps stricter enforcement of the 55 mph speed limit will help slow down motorists who make a habit of driving 10-15 mph faster than the posted limit.
Even though traffic has been maintained during construction, narrower and shorter exit and entrance ramps, and the presence of traffic barrels, make the area tricky to navigate, even for area motorists who know the intersection is in transition.
It’s worth noting that none of those involved in Monday’s accidents was from this area.
The construction area itself is clearly marked, but perhaps additional signs north and south of it could help forewarn motorists of the problems ahead. In some urban areas, large overhead electronic signs are used to alert drivers when there are traffic delays ahead due to accidents or construction.
Such signs may not be possible here, but perhaps mobile roadside ones could be used.
Hopefully, word of the three accidents and the delays that resulted will travel far, and will prompt motorists to be more cautious when crossing through Hancock County.
If not, it could be a long, dangerous summer.

Schools can’t make an at-risk student undergo counseling, but they can make it more convenient for them to get it.
That’s what Findlay City Schools plans to do next school year by allowing counseling sessions to take place before or after school.
That could help accommodate students and parents, who may not be able to make it to counseling appointments at mental health providers Family Resource Center and Century Health.
While the new policy won’t be completed until next month, the school district deserves credit for addressing an issue that people don’t always want to talk about: the need for mental health services for school-aged youth.
The suicide of a student earlier this year has prompted the discussion about how to better serve students with behavioral issues, those at risk of suicide, or those affected by a mental illness.
Such cases, school officials have said, have been on the rise in recent years.
But schools can only do so much.
Teachers or guidance counselors who identify an at-risk student can recommend they receive an assessment and counseling, if needed, but it is up to a parent to follow through with the recommendation.
Superintendent Dean Wittwer said providing access to counseling during non-instructional periods at schools could help some families deal with schedule conflicts and make it more convenient for both students and their parents.
Clinicians from the Family Resource Center and Century Health, who are already in the schools as needed, would offer the counseling under the updated policy.
The decision to get counseling remains with the parent, but the school district will be doing its part to encourage it to happen.



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