Editorial: Ohio needs to press federal government for utility aid (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

In a swift turnaround, Ohio promises to do more than simply join the conversation about prying emergency funds from President Bush to cool the homes of poor elderly and disabled people in Northeast Ohio.

That's a welcome change from earlier indications that Ohio officials would take a seat in the shade while other organizations pushed to boost the fund, which was nearly drained by winter's high fuel costs and rising demand.

Bill Graves of the Ohio Department of Development says Ohio will send the president a request on behalf of the shrunken Home Energy Assistance Program in the next few weeks.

High prices seem here to stay but Gov. Ted Strickland can ease the pain by banning utility cutoffs - a step he boldly took last winter - if this summer turns out to be an extended scorcher.

With its growing elderly population and poverty rate, Ohio should be first in line to request more funds.