August 30, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
64°F

Cheers & chidings

CHEERS: to Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier for tackling not only his caseload, but 120 hours of coursework on complex science and technology issues.
Scientific advancement “is happening so fast that it is often difficult for a person that works just in the law to keep up with it, let alone the juries and attorneys,” Collier said. As one of 14 judges in Ohio to be recognized last month as an Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource fellow, his knowledge will aid him in understanding how, for example, alcohol and drug addictions affect individuals chemically and biologically. He also will serve as a resource for other judges and juries.
“Here’s what we’re hoping: When we’re confronted with new scientific pieces of evidence, or cases where the new science is implicated, that we can help render a fair decision and help juries understand and sort though what is real science and what is not real science,” Collier said.
The better understanding juries have of complex issues should foster that hope into a reality.

CHEERS: to the York Township Historical Society, which is preserving Medina County farm life. With the help of a grant from the Letha E. House Foundation, the Historical Society was able to acquire an 1891 bank barn from Montville Township, reconstruct it and preserve it. It’s the newest addition to the society’s collection of historic buildings — including a restored granary and one-room schoolhouse — on Spellman Street in Mallet Creek. The barn houses an array of farm tools, from a buggy to a horse-drawn plow.
History is recorded in books, but the society’s efforts make it tangible.

CHIDINGS: to the overuse of prescription painkillers that is having deadly consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug-related death rate roughly doubled from the late 1990s to 2006. Heroin and cocaine are still major players, but most of the increase was attributed to painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.
“There has been a dramatic change in how doctors prescribe opiates,” said Caleb Banta-Green, a University of Washington research scientist. Today, about one in five U.S. adults and one in 10 adolescents are prescribed an opiate each year, he said. In fact, deaths related to painkillers have surpassed traffic fatalities in 16 states, including Ohio. Either Ohioans are driving safer or we have a pill-popping population. We hope it’s the former.

CHEERS: to all those who contributed to building an observation well in Westfield Township. The well, fittingly dedicated to Tom Gallatin, a dairy farmer who advocated conserving area water resources, will be dedicated this afternoon in his memory. No public funds were used to construct the well at 6680 Mud Lake Road, which will monitor water levels in the area as part of the Ohio Ground Water Observation Well Network overseen by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“He was a good steward of the land,” Tim Gallatin said of his brother, Tom, who died in 2007.
The observation well dedicated in his memory should help Westfield and surrounding areas be good stewards of the groundwater.