Editorial Roundup: Ohio

Columbus Dispatch. September 11, 2022.

Editorial: We won’t forget. Ohioans killed during 9/11 terror attacks still cherished

Most of us recall where we were and what we were doing at 8:46 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.

We remember the news reports grimly announcing that a plane — American Airlines Flight 11 — had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

We remember how the shock in the reporter’s voice turned to horror, mirroring our own, when, 17 minutes later, a second plane — United Airlines Flight 175 — struck the South Tower.

We remember watching in silent disbelief as ominous clouds of smoke plumed evilly from the wrecked skyscrapers. What initially appeared to be debris falling through the air turned out to be people jumping from the buildings. My God, people.

Over the next hour, two more flights would crash into the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania, the latter diverted from its target — possibly the U.S. Capitol or the White House — by courageous, selfless passengers who attempted to take control of the hijacked aircraft.

In this Sept. 11, 2001 file photo, a jet airliner is lined up on one of the World Trade Center towers in New York.

It was a day the nation would never forget: 2,996 innocent victims perished at the hands of Al-Qaeda terrorists who had meticulously planned the attacks.

Let that sink in for a second. People who were someone’s father, mother, brother, sister … someone’s child, someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Someone’s someone.

Ohioans among the fallen

The tragedy really hit home when the painful identification process revealed numerous Ohioans among the fallen. People like you, people like me — some visiting the Big Apple, some in town on business, some going about their daily routines to work, unaware it would be their last “See ya later,” their last morning goodbye kiss, their last day taking the kids to school. Their last day.

Douglas MacMillan Cherry, 38, from Wooster, was living in Maplewood, New Jersey, at the time of his death. Ohio native Georgine Rose Corrigan, 55, was living in Honolulu. Another Ohioan, Kathleen Anne Faragher, 33, a resident of Denver, was killed while attending a conference in the World Trade Center.

Columbus native Robert John Ferris, 63, was living in Long Island at the time. He was at a meeting on the 102nd floor of the South Tower when the plane crashed into it.

As the list grows, so does the sadness of imagining the loss, the inconsolable grief of the families, the children left motherless or fatherless, some so young they have no memories to cling to.

Wendy R. Faulkner, 47, Mason.

Susan M. Getzendanner, 57, originally from Shaker Heights.

H. Joseph Heller Jr., 37, was born in Lakewood.

Clevelander Thomas Warren Hohlweck Jr., 56.

Terrence M. Lynch, 49, was born in Youngstown and was living in Alexandria, Virginia, working as an Army contractor when he was killed in the Pentagon attack.

Also killed in the Pentagon attack was Teresa M. Martin, 45, born in Millersville.

The youngest victim, Mary Lou Hague, 26, was born in Marietta.

Ohioan Raymond Joseph Metz III, 37, was living in Trumbull, Connecticut.

William David Moskal, 50, lived in Brecksville.

James Robert Paul, 58, was born in Cincinnati, and lived in Manhattan.

Robert David Peraza, 30, a native of Warren County, also was living in New York.

Catherine Patricia Salter, 37, lived in Brooklyn, but was born in East Liverpool.

Arlington, Virginia, resident David M. Scales, 44, was born in Cleveland.

George Edward Spencer III, 50, also was born in Cleveland. He was living in West Norwalk, Connecticut.

Alicia Nicole Titus, 28, was from Springfield. She was a part of the flight crew on the plane that crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Mary Alice Wahlstrom, 78, was born in Portsmouth.

Todd Christopher Weaver, 30, was originally from North Canton.

These are not just anonymous casualties, not just something bad that happened to someone else.

They were our fellow Buckeyes. They might have been Reds or Bengals or Ohio State fans.

They should be remembered, not their attackers.

They were Ohioans.

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Toledo Blade. September 10, 2022.

Editorial: Yet another pension risk

There’s another reason developing to keep a wary eye on private equity.

We’ve detailed how public pensions like Ohio’s retirement systems have been putting progressively more money into high fee, high-risk investments. Now, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee is taking a look at a private pension risk from private equity, under Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio).

Mr. Brown presided over a Thursday hearing on the fast growing trend of pension risk transfer from corporate retirement plans, covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act law and the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, to private equity-owned insurance companies.

It’s a win-win deal for the corporation ridding itself of a lingering long-term liability and the private equity firm with new money to manage at fat fees. But it’s an abdication of responsibility by the U.S. Department of Labor to allow workers to be stripped of PBGC insurance and ERISA law protection when pension risk is transferred. Enriching corporate and financial interests while endangering worker’s retirement is a good indication of why populism is all about culture wars nowadays.

The Federal Insurance Office lists many issues for oversight in a letter responding to Mr. Brown’s questions ahead of hearings, but none as significant as the loss of federal protection with the transfer of pension liability to a single entity owned by a private equity firm.

Unsurprisingly, private-equity owned pension insurers follow their fund management parent company to offshore locations, where the FIO reports “regulatory arbitrage” is possible. That means asset reporting suffers from the same lack of transparency we have consistently opposed from Ohio’s public pensions. The regulatory rules in offshore money havens have been established to attract dollars, not to protect the beneficiaries of the funds.

“The full scope and magnitude of risk,” is masked to regulators because of less stringent reporting requirements in offshore locations, according to the FIO. Add the standard private equity risk of untrustworthy asset valuations supplied by fund managers with conflict of interest, and you have the ingredients for another retirement-fund scandal.

Mr. Brown was behind the bailout of a multiemployer Teamster pension turned insolvent from bad investments managed by Goldman Sachs and Northern Trust. The federal bailout restricts the pension investments to transparent, liquid, publicly traded options.

Now unions covered by corporate-controlled pensions are fighting to bar asset transfers out of federally regulated and insured status. That the government allows it to happen without a majority vote from worker-beneficiaries is evidence Washington follows the money.

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Youngstown Vindicator. September 11, 2022.

Editorial: Unclaimed funds returned to Ohio owners

Ever do a load of laundry and notice a few shiny coins at the bottom of the washing machine, then exclaim “Finders, keepers?” It’s hard to resist, isn’t it?

Fortunately, the folks at the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Unclaimed Funds don’t employ the same philosophy. In fact, the agency helped return nearly $390,000 to those who visited the Unclaimed Funds booth at the state fair this year. The agency said more than 800 claimants stopped by, and nearly one in three of those people had missing money waiting for them.

One individual found more than $71,000, the result of dividends that had belonged to his late mother. (In fact, many of the funds recovered were the results of dividends and insurance policies being left behind by deceased individuals.)

“Each year, we reconnect tens of thousands of people with their money and property through advertisements and participating in outreach events like the Ohio State Fair. The fair provides us the opportunity to connect with people from across the state,” said Akil Hardy, superintendent of the Division of Unclaimed Funds.

While hundreds of thousands of dollars returned at the state fair is significant, it is worth noting the division returned $134.5 million to Ohioans last fiscal year. It still has more than $3 billion in what it calls “forgotten” money.

Call 877-644-6823 or go to unclaimedfunds.ohio.gov to find out whether any of that is waiting for you and start a claims process. The Division of Unclaimed Funds is holding up its end of the bargain. The rest is up to you.

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Sandusky Register. September 9, 2022.

Editorial: Just doing our jobs

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 302 journalists have been murdered for their work worldwide between 2011 and 2021.

Of those killings, only four happened in the U.S., all of which occurred during the June 28, 2018 mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland.

So it’s very concerning to us, and no doubt journalists across the nation, to hear news of the murder of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. German was found stabbed to death outside his home this past Saturday.

Even more troubling was news Wednesday of an arrest made in connection to German’s killing; the suspect being a Las Vegas-area local government official, Robert Telles, who lost his reelection bid after German reported on allegations of bullying, favoritism and a relationship with a subordinate staffer in Telles’ office, according to the Associated Press.

“We are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,” said Review-Journal executive editor Glenn Cook.

What separates the United States from undemocratic nations across the globe is a free and unrestricted press. Freedom of the press was among the first freedoms codified in the Bill of Rights.

Journalists must be free to report on crime and wrongdoing without the fear or threat of death hanging over their heads. No one has the right to raise their hand to a journalist for the work they do, least of all elected officials whose actions, or inactions, affect their entire communities.

If a court or jury determines the guilt of the suspect in this case, we hope they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

END