- Associated Press
Monday, July 17, 2017

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

The Toledo Blade


July 17

A British judge is reconsidering his decision that Charlie Gard should die. Charlie is 11 months old; he’s seriously, neurologically ill; and his parents want to try an experimental treatment. But doctors at a British National Health Service hospital said he’d be better off dying - and Justice Nicholas Francis has ruled that Charlie should, as many reports have put it, “be allowed to die with dignity.”

But there is no dignity in having the state decide your life isn’t worth saving.

The courts found that Charlie was probably suffering, and that the treatment his family wanted to try wouldn’t help. “He has no quality of life and no real prospect of any quality of life,” the hospital said.

But Charlie’s father, Chris Gard, said the boy would “fight to the very end.”

When to give up on life is an intimate, personal matter. It’s for an individual or family to decide - and in the case of a baby, who cannot possibly choose, his parents must. Doctors and judges have no business overriding what Charlie’s family wants.

The family may be grasping at wisps of hope. But that is no excuse for their government to dispel those wisps and take away whatever chance of a meaningful life Charlie has.

Online: http://bit.ly/2uuXLfc

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The Sandusky Register

July 12

Erie County Health Department officials were shocked to discover about half of the children they voluntarily tested at a recent Wightman Wieber Kids Festival had high levels of lead in their blood.

Of the 90 kids tested, health officials were expecting maybe five would yield such high lead level results.

Instead, 41 children had high levels of lead in their blood, according to the tests.

Were the tests valid? If so, what is the source of this lead? Are the results a statistical anomaly, or an indication of an even bigger problem?

Clearly, the shocking results raise more questions than answers, but one thing is for sure - more testing of children is needed.

Experts say lead poisoning rarely produces immediate symptoms, but young children’s developing brains can be affected and can be permanently damaged.

There simply is no “safe level” of lead exposure, and adverse outcomes of lead poisoning are usually not known until a child reaches 6 or 7 years old. By then, it is often too late and the damage has been done.

We encourage Erie County Health Department and City of Sandusky officials to develop a testing program to get more answers.

Online: http://bit.ly/2u12p2f

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The Columbus Dispatch

July 17

Sen. Rob Portman was right to reject a Republican health-care bill that would have slashed the Medicaid spending upon which millions of Ohioans depend for basic health care. As the GOP effort to replace the Affordable Care Act grinds on, Portman finds himself in a position of great influence to stand up for an approach that balances fiscal pragmatism with compassion and decency.

He already has shown a willingness to put Ohioan’s interests over party politics. He was among the handful of moderate Republicans whose opposition behind the scenes scuttled a July vote on the ill-thought, secretly crafted Senate replacement, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Ohio’s other Senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, has publicly offered to work with Republicans to craft a replacement. This could produce a historic accomplishment, but it would require true statesmanship on the part of a GOP leadership that has shut out Democrats - even as they’ve offered help.

Though Portman and Brown differ philosophically, both have demonstrated the integrity to put aside politics for the good of public policy. And Brown is a realist. He has made no bones about what has become painfully obvious: The Affordable Care Act requires improvements. We take his offer to participate as genuine.

Online: http://bit.ly/2t7Etcf

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The Akron Beacon Journal

July 17

How large was the iceberg that broke away from Antarctica last week? The Associated Press equated its size to twice the volume of Lake Erie. The land mass was equivalent to 34 times the size of Akron. Whatever the comparison, the moment was significant. If scientists are uncertain about the precise role of climate change in the loss to the Larsen Ice Shelf, there is consensus that this is how things will proceed as the planet’s temperature keeps rising.

Ice sheets are crucial to the structure of Antarctica. If they begin to erode, the foundation of the ice and glaciers becomes more exposed to collapse.

Scientists have warned about such events, going back decades, citing the impact of global warming. Those insights are a reminder that the science traces even to the 19th century, subject to rigorous peer review, and that the modeling efforts, or projections, of scientists largely have proved true.

The news from Antarctica reinforces the disappointment in the decision of the Trump White House to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The agreement hardly measures up to the immense challenge, but it does represent the global framework necessary for an effective response, each country making a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States, the world’s largest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide, belongs in a leading role pushing to keep those pledges.

Online: http://bit.ly/2t7wH1J


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