Owen Crawford is shown checking out The Highland County Press’ popular Real Estate Monthly. (Photo courtesy of his parents, Logan and Holli Crawford.)
Owen Crawford is shown checking out The Highland County Press’ popular Real Estate Monthly. (Photo courtesy of his parents, Logan and Holli Crawford.)
And they say newspapers can no longer attract young readers.

One of the bright spots for this grizzled old newspaperman came from a recent photograph of young Owen Crawford reading The Highland County Press’ popular Real Estate Monthly.

Owen is the son of Logan and Holli Crawford of Adams County. Logan and my son, Colin, were baseball teammates for Coach Rob Meade’s North Adams Green Devils, and the two have remained good friends. In fact, Owen is Colin’s godson.

When they shared the photo with me, I felt compelled to use it in my column. It’s a happy new year, indeed, when our embattled print industry picks up a younger reader or two. (Or more.)

Thank you, Owen. And remember, as former Ohio Senator Cooper Snyder used to say in his impassioned speeches about education: “It all begins with reading.”

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DeWine/Husted era begins

Ohio’s 70th governor, 72-year-old Mike DeWine, was sworn in this week by his son, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine.

So much for separation of powers in the Buckeye State, as some have said half-jokingly. (I guess they were joking.)

DeWine, the oldest elected governor of Ohio, took the oath with his hand atop nine family Bibles, held by first lady Fran DeWine. Say what you will, but DeWine looks good for 72, and the first lady looks like she could match another former first lady pushup for pushup. It must be something in all that Cedarville ice cream.

Former Secretary of State Jon Husted (my preference for the top of the ticket in 2018) also took the oath of office as Ohio’s light governor. His wife, Tina, held only the family Bible (Fran’s arms are longer than Tina’s) as the oath was administered by State Sen. Stephanie Kunze. The group of approximately 70 people included the parents of the Lt. Governor, Jim and Judy Husted, as well as his three children, Alex, Katie and Kylie.

In the photo provided by Josh Eck, the younger of the children appeared to have stolen the show with a priceless expression of “Let’s get this over with, already, Dad.” All fathers understand that look.

Good luck to the new Republican administration. (Is there any other kind in Ohio?)

* * *

Team Kasich has 2020 vision

Speaking of the Ohio governor’s office, no sooner had Fran DeWine put down the nine family Bibles than we received the following from “Team Kasich” citing the former governor’s USA Today op/ed this week:

“It’s a new year and almost two decades into a new century, yet so much about American life and our political leadership – notably in my own Republican Party – seems stuck in the 1950s,” Kasich wrote. “While nearly every aspect of the world around us has been changing, sometimes with breakneck speed, and while the complexion and complexities of our demographics have shifted so dramatically, those who fancy themselves as leaders are plodding far behind the march of time. Sadly, too many Americans are content to plod along with them.”

Just who are those “who fancy themselves as leaders?”

Kasich doesn’t say, but it’s clear that he fancies himself as a leader.

“In this changing world, successful leaders must look each problem squarely in the eye, listen to their customers and realize how dramatically those customers have changed,” the former New Hampshire, er, Ohio governor wrote. “No one will survive by practicing politics the way Sears or RadioShack practiced retail, stuck in the 1950s while the world moved on with Amazon, Uber and others who have broken the mold. For Republicans, this means breaking their own self-made mold of being naysayers instead of doers. It means designing market-driven, center-right solutions that actually solve problems while revealing their compassion. Republicans must get in step or they fall behind. We’ve done that in Ohio.”

How about that. The same former governor just two years ago warned Ohio lawmakers that Ohio is “on the verge of a recession.” He may have been right, but his timing may have been off.

Meanwhile, he can ride off into the New Hampshire primary with 2020 vision, knowing that he left DeWine with a considerable “Rainy Day Fund,” Ohio counties and townships with considerable cuts in local government funding and the state of Ohio as home to the country’s worst oversight of charter schools. Cha-ching.

And to think, in 2016, I thought a Jeb Bush/John Kasich ticket would have been a good thing. Dare I say that I even thought a Kasich/Marco Rubio ticket would have been acceptable.

The nation does not need a former big-government governor who outspent his Democratic predecessor with each biennial budget. If Ted Strickland deserved the label as a “tax-and-spender,” Kasich was a “spend-and-spender.”

He should hear what the Republican officeholders in the real heartland say when he’s not around and when they’re not kissing the ring. Good luck with that 2020 vision. By the way, Amazon has had its share of troubles recently, too. Bring back the Sears and Roebuck Catalog.

* * *

Moody's blue on higher education

This one is no real surprise: For the second straight year, Moody’s Investors Service gives higher education a negative forecast.

Cailin Crowe reported last month in The Chronicle of Higher Education (https://www.chronicle.com/article/Moody-s-Gives-Higher-Ed-a/245258): "The next year and a half is expected to be grim because of low revenue growth from tuition – the primary source of revenue for colleges and universities. Other sources of revenue, such as state funding for public colleges, should be stable, but Moody’s predicts that operating expenses will outpace revenue growth at most institutions."

It's always those darned expenses when it comes to higher ed. As Crowe points out: "Labor is the biggest cost for universities and colleges, accounting for up to 75 percent of expenses at most institutions."

Don't be surprised if a college near you starts whispering the L-word (rhymes with Chevy) again soon.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.