Editorials

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Satisfying soccer ...

Soccer isn't a sport that probably excites as many Americans as say, football, especially in our part of the country. One reason for that locally is that not all area high schools offer soccer programs, so it does not get the attention it may get elsewhere.

But it is a sport with a great deal of interest nationally, and that has been demonstrated by the number of Americans paying attention to the United States' participation in the World Cup soccer tournament that is going on in Brazil and will conclude on July 13.

The U.S. team has never fared well in World Cup competition, where the European and South American teams traditionally dominate. But the U.S. has fielded a competitive team thus far with a win last week and a heart-breaking tie on Sunday with Portugal, which scored with seconds remaining to end the game in a 2-2 draw.

According to The Washington Post, television ratings for the match reached their highest level ever "for a World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2."

Although soccer likely will never be considered the national past-time in this country, these ratings show the viability of the sport, and suggest a lot of national pride when the United States fields a team in international competition.

Nutrient law

Ohio's new crop nutrient law won't save Lake Erie from turning green this summer, but it could make a difference in coming summers.

The law, sponsored by Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, should help reduce the phosphorus runoff from farms, into our waterways and eventually to Lake Erie.

Algae feeds off the phosphorus and, when combined with warm water, can turn toxic. Unsightly and unhealthy algae blooms have discouraged swimming, fishing, boating and tourism in several Ohio lakes, including Lake Erie, the past several years.

Hite's law starts the attack on algae.

Farmers who apply fertilizer to 50 acres or more must attend state-developed certification courses. It also provides legal protections for farmers who develop state nutrient-management plans and keep accurate records.

The education could save farmers money if they learn they are using too much phosphorus, and cut back.

The law took months to vet and required considerable legislative craftsmanship on Hite's part to get approved.

Hite saw his efforts come to fruition ... when House Bill 150 was signed by Gov. John Kasich.

While Hite has admitted the law isn't a cure-all and knows more will need to be done to reduce phosphorus runoff, it is a significant development.

Years from now, when the algae blooms have disappeared, we will look back at House Bill 150 as the effort that got us on track to saving Lake Erie.

The (Findlay) Courier

Vicious dogs

The mauling death of a Dayton woman earlier this year exposes serious weaknesses in Ohio's statutes on vicious dogs that a group of responsible state legislators is pushing to strengthen.

Between the end of 2011 and this February, law-enforcement and animal-control agencies in the Dayton area received about 60 complaints about a home where vicious dogs were terrorizing residents.

On Feb. 7, that terror turned deadly. Two approximately 60-pound mixed-mastiff dogs lunged at Klonda Richey, 57, ripped her coat off, gnashed at her ruthlessly and left her mangled naked body lying on the sidewalk.

Four months later, a grand jury in Montgomery County is investigating the appalling case but has not yet brought charges against the owners of the murderous mastiffs.

The Richey case illustrates problems in timely response to complaints of vicious and dangerous dogs and in appropriate punishment for those who irresponsibly allow their dogs to become killing machines.

In the name of balancing the rights of dog owners with the public's right to safety, two state representatives have introduced bipartisan legislation to the General Assembly that they hope will help lessen the number of incidents that rise to the brutality evidenced in the Richey assault. The legislation's noble goals merit support of all responsible pet owners in Ohio.

The legislation's end game of reducing the number of dog attacks and serious injuries from dog bites deserves attention and speedy action. Dog bites, after all, take a shocking toll, particularly on young children, in our state and nation.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator

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