The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Trying to automate how an Ohioan can apply for and receive human-services benefits is enormously complex. That helps explain, but does not excuse, the serious problems hungry Ohioans are experiencing in applying for food stamps under a new automated system Ohio recently implemented. The system appears to be wrongly excluding needy Ohioans while handicapping Ohio’s network of food banks in their attempts to intercede for poor and elderly food-stamp recipients.

The situation is unacceptable and needs to be fixed immediately.

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Some of the problems are technical glitches that can be fixed, but others appear to require a rethinking of how the system operates when it comes to low-income, elderly or rural Ohioans who lack easy access to electronic filing.

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Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services acknowledges the system’s problems, but suggests — without providing data to back that up — that missteps by county Job and Family Services caseworkers spawned the biggest problems. ...

Whatever the reasons, Ohioans are going hungry through no fault of their own, and right now it’s impossible to figure out if or to what extent the new Benefits System is the cause.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2H82da3

 

The Toledo Blade

A new report on the growing number of hate groups and hate crimes in America provides sad confirmation of the obvious.

Anyone paying the slightest attention to the news already knows that hate in this country is out of control. Yet it’s good to take stock of evil — to quantify it and pinpoint some of the sources — so that government, nonprofit groups, and individuals can better figure out how to combat it.

The Oct. 27 Tree of Life tragedy in Pittsburgh figured prominently in the annual Southern Poverty Law Center report, which counted a record 1,020 hate groups in 2018, up from 954 in 2017. ...

The hate groups listed in the report operate more or less on the public radar. More difficult to quantify and becoming more pervasive are the cyber-backwaters where zealots can meet, vent and swap conspiracy theories with anonymity.

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But here’s one positive note: The dark-hearted and irrationally angry are driven to these marginal spaces because, as the report notes, "they continue to feel the squeeze online and in real life." Members of these groups know that their views are anathema to most of society, and that means good people have the upper hand.

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Online: https://bit.ly/2Tma3Du

 

The Youngstown Vindicator

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And so it goes that some discord has greeted Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s rollout Thursday of a proposed Department of Transportation budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 that includes a 64 percent increase in the state’s gasoline tax — from 28 cents per gallon to 46 cents per gallon.

As such, ODOT leaders proposing the first increase in the tax in more than 15 years owe it to Ohioans to justify the hefty increase and other aspects of the proposal that have met with initial skepticism, questions and opposition from several segments of the state.

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It is now incumbent upon ODOT to convincingly justify the need for such a large-scale bump. Marchbanks began that mission Thursday, telling legislators, "Due to flat revenues, highway-construction inflation and mounting debt payments, ODOT is in jeopardy of being unable to fulfill its mission."

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Given there are about four months before the new biennial budget must be passed, there’s adequate time to proceed cautiously and responsibly with a full and robust discussion and possible tweaking to ensure maximum fairness for all parties affected by the tax while doing the best job possible to repair our state’s bruised transportation network.

Online: https://bit.ly/2Xnk2Yg

 

The Sandusky Register

Children are a parent’s greatest challenge. They come into this world without a how-to hand book or instructions and we as parents have to figure it out day by day.

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That day came recently for Norwalk’s Ethan Lindenberger. After celebrating his 18th birthday in September, Lindenberger decided on his own — and against his parent’s wishes — to get immunized.

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Perhaps there is some merit to the Lindenbergers’ stance, but until science proves otherwise they seem to be in the minority.

In fact, the vaccination hesitancy has led to resurgence of measles in the United States. Just 14 years after the elimination of measles was documented in the U.S., there was a record 667 cases of the disease reported in 2014 in 27 states. More recently, there have been measles outbreaks reported with potential exposure coming from U.S. airports.

This is a disease that is easily preventable through vaccination yet remains one of the leading contributors to child mortality around the world because of the lack of vaccinations in many third world countries.

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We applaud Ethan’s decision to think for himself and make what he believes was the healthy choice.

Online: https://bit.ly/2IBYGmF