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April 1, 2012
Salem News

Student loans doubling unless Congress acts soon

To the editor:

Student loans backed by the federal government are set to double this summer from the current 3.4 to 6.8 percent.

Millions of students will be in for a shock this summer unless Congress acts. The rate hike affects new subsidized Stafford loans, which are issued to low and middle income undergraduates. With tuition costs at a high, students are taking on unprecedented levels of student debt. College students leave owing an average of $25,000 in loans, and student loan debt now surpasses credit card debt.

Recent filings with the federal government as a plaintiff increased 25 percent as cases concerning defaulted student loans surged 58 percent. Does it make sense for student loan recipients to face higher loan costs than homeowners are getting on mortgages or that banks are able to get?

Even greater burden faces students that require graduate school after college. Many careers require the additional education.

I hope that people don't let this go under the radar because it is going to deny college access to many middle class and working families. The higher interest rates would affect loans taken out after June 30 and thus would hurt incoming freshman and sophomores the most.

Hopefully because it is an election year we will see Congress put a priority on higher education. An interest rate increase on student loans potentially could become an election issue if it motivates collage-age students to turn out at the polls in big numbers. With college cost increasing, with family finances struggling, and an uncertain job market, now is not the time to increase rates on student loans.



Recorder takes stand against commissioners

To the editor:

During the last two weeks the Columbiana County Commissioners have voiced their opposition to putting 11 years of documents online. Their reasons have included losing the county revenue and wanting to wait for a new recorder in nine months.

The commissioners' arguments have little legitimacy, but there is a larger issue at stake. For years politicians like Mike Halleck, John Payne, and Jim Hoppel have paid lip-service to voters saying that their main goal is to bring good paying jobs and opportunities to Columbiana County.

Today we have the opportunity to gain thousands of jobs from the oil and gas industries. Unfortunately, the message our county is sending to these potential employers is a bad one.

By not adopting the proposal to put records online our board of county commissioners is sending a two-fold message to companies seeking to do business in Columbiana County. One is that Columbiana County government is not willing to embrace technological change, and two is that county government will not change to address a very serious need for its residents and potential companies. Both of these statements tell potential investors and job creators that Columbiana County is not business friendly.

Currently there are 32 counties in Ohio that offer documents online. The reality is that the days of needing to take a trip to the courthouse to look at dusty books are coming to an end. Despite what county commissioners may believe the internet is not a passing fad and is used daily as a valuable tool. People are expecting easier access to information and government officials have a responsibility to provide it for them. The commissioners' unwillingness to adopt this proposal shows an unwillingness to accept technological change, but that is not the only message they are sending.

The Columbiana County commissioners are sending a very negative message to companies like Chesapeake, Anadarko, and Shell. Putting records online is a minor change that will allow both residents and companies to have quick and easy access to documents. It is a change that will save both voters and investors time and money. To stand opposed to such change makes our county look inflexible and out of touch. This is a message we as residents do not want to send to people investing billions of dollars in our region.


columbiana County Recorder,


Dated leases keeping landowners from profit

To the editor:

The Marcellus and Utica shale drilling presents our community with tremendous potential for economic growth and a new era of prosperity here in Columbiana County. We have already experienced a boost to our local economy and it appears the best is yet to come. Unfortunately, hundreds of our local families are forced out from taking advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity. It is not widely known that mineral leases signed as far back as the 1930s deny landowners the right to profit from the investment in their land. These leases are used exclusively by gas transmission companies to store excess natural gas underground.

Chesapeake, DPS Penn and others want desperately to lease the mineral rights from these landowners but are blocked from doing so by the corporate leaseholders. This has to change.

There may be a whole range of solutions to this problem, among them unnecessary and expensive litigation. I think we can do better and I urge the governor and state legislature to cooperate, step in, and give this problem the attention it deserves.



Reader agrees with op writer about social decay

To the editor:

Cal Thomas recently wrote an editorial in this paper which he in tidied "The God gap in American politics is growing wider."

Mr. Thomas speaking with direct bluntness and tells it like he sees it. He speaks with the conviction that can only come from a person of true faith. He is concerned, as we all should be, with the condition and direction our society is heading. Without God in our lives we become unaware or tend to disregard the greatest rules of human behavior ever set before man. "The Ten Commandments."

I quote from Mr. Thomas, " Materialism and pleasure contribute to social decay. Social decay precedes national decline. He goes on to say these have become our twin false Gods, contemporary "golden calves, as unable to produce satisfaction as the idols in biblical times."

Our leaders in Washington are afraid to ask the people to make any kind of sacrifice in our lifestyle. Our clergy are afraid to mention these problems for fear of making their flocks uncomfortable. He goes on to say, "Too many ministers and priests allow the secular world to influence their preaching."

Are we proceeding in the direction of the Roman Empire? Their empire lasted 500 years before collapsing from within. Every empire or society has a terminal life span. I would hope that our Republic which has existed just slightly over 200 years hasn't reached that point of no return. We as individuals should take a few moments to take stock of the situation.

Whether our younger generation is up to dealing with these problems, I don't know, because through no fault of their own they were born and raised in a liberated society and many tend to resent our capitalist system of government, believing there is a better way if sharing the wealth. I would ask any one of our learned young people to come forth and show me any form of government that will offer the individual freedom that the capitalist system offers. We have a Democratic system with a big brother Republic watching over us. I'm afraid until we have experience the lost of personal freedom we will never know the tragedy of it.

Those words of Ben Franklin keep coming back to me . He was asked by someone "What kind of government are you making for us? His answer, "A Republic if you can keep it?"





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