Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 14
The injuries 6-year-old Zainabou Drame received in a pit-bull attack last month are heartrending and unacceptable.
Disturbingly, there's little in either Ohio or Cincinnati law to punish dog owners in such situations, let alone prevent something similar from happening again.
Police shot and killed the two pit bulls, and the owner is facing possible prison time - but not because of the attack. Zontae Irby has been indicted on drug charges that could put him in prison for up to 8 1/2 years.
The only law Irby broke in his dogs' attack was one requiring dogs to be leashed or confined, according to Cincinnati Prosecutor Charlie Rubenstein. It's a minor misdemeanor under Ohio and city law, carrying a $150 fine since the dogs hadn't been previously designated "dangerous," he said.
The pit-bull attack in Westwood, which follows a similarly serious one in December, has some questioning whether the city of Cincinnati should reinstate its pit-bull ban...
Another option ... is to put the onus on owners to control their pets' behavior. This could include penalties up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for a dog attack that causes harm, and up to 6 months and $1,000 for an attack that causes serious harm or kills another animal.
We say no more free bites.
An attack that kills a person can already be prosecuted as involuntary manslaughter, and that would remain the case.
The (Findlay) Courier, July 12
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine deserves more credit, and less criticism, when it comes to how his office is handling the collection and testing of rape kits.
It was DeWine, after all, who in December 2011 launched a state effort to get so many of the kits from law enforcement agencies, which often had them locked away for years in evidence rooms. The kits are samples collected when a rape is reported and can help identify the rapist through DNA evidence.
DeWine encouraged police to send the kits to the state crime laboratory where they would be tested for free....
But David Pepper, a former Hamilton County commissioner who is running against DeWine in November, doesn't believe the kits are being tested fast enough and says the backlog of 3,900 cases is unacceptable.
Earlier this week, Pepper suggested DeWine farm out the testing to other labs to speed up the process.
DeWine earlier this year had added 10 additional lab workers at the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct the tests....
Certainly, it would be better to process the rape kits more quickly, if only to obtain more matches and bring rapists to justice faster. It could be argued that, by not doing so, a rapist could continue to commit crimes.
On the other hand, DeWine's call to do all the testing in-house seems wise.
DeWine's program isn't perfect, but it's better than letting rape kits continue to collect dust.
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, July 11
A funding bill released Tuesday by a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee floats the boats of both hope and dismay for the Great Lakes.
The optimist is buoyed by the bipartisan support that keeps the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative on course with $300 million for fiscal year 2015 - the same level of funding it received in 2014.
The subcommittee's recommendation restores the $25 million that President Barack Obama mystifyingly drained in his proposed 2015 budget, even though it was Obama who originally launched the initiative with an unprecedented $475 million in 2010. That remains the biggest single-year cash infusion a president ever committed to the Great Lakes....
On the down side, the bill muddies the waters by narrowing the definition of which small streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. The subcommittee needs to deep-six that kind of meddling.
An Environmental Protection Agency rule to clarify which tributaries are protected is open for public comment through Oct. 20.
Significantly, these smaller waterways can carry fertilizer runoff from farmland that feeds toxic algal blooms throughout the Great Lakes region.
On Thursday, scientists predicted a "significant bloom of cyanobacteria" in Lake Erie this year.
Don't water down the Clean Water Act. As Todd Ambs of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition notes, "It's not called 'The Partially Clean Water Act.'"
The (Willoughby) News-Herald, July 13
Cleveland is once again a major player on the national scene.
The Republican National Committee's decision to hold its 2016 convention here over Dallas proves that Cleveland can finally shake the negative moniker, "mistake by the lake."
The RNC's announcement July 8 means that as Cleveland benefits financially, so will its suburbs and surrounding areas, such as Lorain, Lake and Medina counties.
Some reports say that Cleveland will host up to 50,000 Republican visitors. A study showed that the GOP's 2012 convention in Tampa, Florida, pumped more than $200 million into the economy there. Economists contend Cleveland will benefit just as Florida did.
Congratulations to the Cleveland business, community and political leaders who knew what they needed to do to attract the convention. After losing the GOP's bid in 2008, Cleveland added more hotel rooms and a new convention center. Some of those rooms are in neighboring counties. Northeast Ohio is now one of the first places large groups and organizations will look to hold conventions....
We hope that all northeast Ohio residents will welcome the Republican National Convention when it comes to Cleveland. The event offers a tremendous opportunity to bolster the area's economy and raise Cleveland's profile in the eyes of people who could be future visitors, residents or business owners.
We also hope that our local political and business leaders learn from the collaboration of people with different beliefs and ideologies that they can come together to work on solving problems to benefit our communities.
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