Editorial roundup


The (Findlay) Courier, April 15

Lost in the discussion of prescription pain pill misuse and heroin overdose deaths these days is the still-alarmingly high number of people being killed by drunk drivers.

Last year alone, 40 percent of traffic-related deaths in Ohio involved an impaired driver.

It may take time to bring that number down, but a new law which went into effect earlier this month and is supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving should help.

“Annie’s Law” increases certain penalties for first-time offenders of the state’s operating a motor vehicle under the influence law, and should reduce OVI-related deaths.

Under it, the mandatory minimum license suspension is 12 months instead of six. Judges have the option of ordering ignition interlock devices — miniature Breathalyzers — that prevent a car from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit of 0.08 percent. …

Annie’s Law was named after Annie Rooney, 36, of Chillicothe, who was hit and killed by a five-time repeat drunk driver in Ross County in 2013.

MADD was among the groups which encouraged lawmakers to pass the bill, which was signed by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year.

… The states with the strongest interlock laws have seen the greatest results.

For example, West Virginia has seen a reduction of 50 percent in drunk-driving deaths and New Mexico 38 percent. Those states, however, require all drunk-driving offenders to use ignition interlock systems.

Ohio’s version isn’t that strict, but is still a step in the right direction. Municipal court judges must make great use of the new tool whenever possible, knowing that each time they do can potentially save a life.

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The Lima News, April 15

Providing alternative measures to receive a high school diploma is not the answer to improving the quality of Ohio’s high school graduates.

Yet, that’s what the State Board of Education is proposing.

The board worries that too many 11th-graders are at risk of not graduating next school year under Ohio’s new graduation requirements. Its solution: Allow students who do poorly with the tougher requirements to earn a diploma by meeting other conditions, such as strong attendance, participating in community service or completing career-technical training.

It is seeking the Legislature’s permission to move ahead with such alternatives.

We have a better solution: Stick to the basics. Let’s make sure a high school diploma ensures a student can read, write and do basic math.

A diploma needs to mean something academically. It shouldn’t be reduced to an award for painting fire hydrants or showing up for class.

Dumbing down the standards cheats students; it does not help them. It teaches teens to look for an easy way out. For many, it makes it even more difficult to escape the grip of poverty.

Most educators understand it is their mission to help students learn. Unfortunately, our state school board is so fixated on the possibility of declining graduation rates under the new standards that it is willing to allow unprepared students to walk out the door.

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Akron Beacon Journal, April 17

Perhaps the moment will be right next fall. The Cleveland Indians take the final step, capturing the World Series for the first time in seven decades, and then, as the joy lingers, announce the time has come to retire Chief Wahoo. The club could point to mission accomplished or to the launching of a new era. …

Yet, there on opening day at Progressive Field were sports icons Jim Brown, Austin Carr and Jim Thome throwing out the first pitch wearing jerseys with Chief Wahoo attached. The picture of the three captured the power of the logo. Many among the Indians faithful feel passionately about the chief. They see tradition, loyalty, even identity.

“It’s just a cartoon,” goes the frequent defense. When the talk turns to getting rid of the logo, many rush to the team merchandise shop, adding to the sales and club revenue. So it is easy to see why management nods to the concept of moving beyond the logo and then pulls up short. Hard to miss Chief Wahoo amply present in the crowd at the ballpark.

The trouble is, the chief isn’t just a cartoon. Neither is the opposition to the logo political correctness run amok. Here is a glaring stereotype that offends, and those who take offense deserve respect.

No doubt, the original purpose wasn’t to demean. The idea was to convey joy, the fun in following the team. The logo succeeded. Yet that goes back to the 1940s. Sensibilities have changed …

… Practically no one would accept a similar depiction of, say, African-Americans or Asian-Americans. Why then should American Indians face the offense while reassured it’s all in fun? The sooner the Cleveland Indians retire Chief Wahoo the better.

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