Voices From Across Ohio

The Lima News, Aug. 16

Life brings with it a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It is expected there are times when we will be happy or sad, angry or giddy, worried or carefree.

There will even be times we feel down.

Imagine being unable to shake that feeling of despair and hopelessness.

For someone suffering from depression – and one in every six people will at some point – that veil of darkness can last days or weeks. It can be so consuming as to affect daily activities such as work or school.

Every 13 minutes, it results in someone dying from suicide.

It’s unfortunate it often takes the death of a high-profile celebrity such as Robin Williams to open the channels of communication about depression.

Unfortunate not only because the world has lost a true comedic treasure, but also because greater awareness and open discussion of depression is paramount to preventing such tragedies in the future.

Depression is a real and serious health concern. In addition to compounding existing health issues, such as chronic pain, it can lead to fatigue, insomnia, persistent headaches or digestive problems and excessive sleep.

There is hope, though. Almost 80 percent of those who seek treatment for depression get better through a variety of treatments ranging from exercise to medication.

The key is being able to keep it in the forefront and talk about it without shame, prejudice or judgment.

That discussion has started.

Let’s keep it open.

Voices From Across Ohio

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug. 9

The opaque, slime-green water found in Toledo last weekend should be a wake-up call to residents in Ohio and across the country about the need to protect our natural resources.

The poisonous algae blooms that made water undrinkable – even untouchable – for nearly half a million Americans weren’t an act of God, or a one-time fluke. They’ve become common in lakes across Ohio and around the country due to fertilizer and sewage runoff. Algae blooms are less likely to occur in the Ohio River because the river water moves quickly, and Greater Cincinnati Water Works – which handles water treatment for communities from Warren County to Northern Kentucky – is capable of filtering the toxins that fouled Lake Erie water. But the Ohio River still experiences occasional algae blooms, and excess nutrients from the Ohio eventually make their way into the Gulf of Mexico, where they help cause “dead zones” that can’t support aquatic life.

Failure to act to improve water quality threatens public health; the toxins in Lake Erie water have made Ohioans sick and killed pets in other incidents. But fixing this problem should also be an economic priority….

There are solutions to this problem that require international and federal actions, but there are plenty of others that require action closer to home, from the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, to the decisions homeowners and business owners make every day.