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IF Ohio ever wants to change its nickname from the Buckeye State, maybe Ohio should try the @#$% State.

An online marketing company, Marchex, found Ohioans cuss more than anyone else in the nation, based on more than 600,000 customer phone calls to businesses last year.

Apparently, Ohioans are the most likely to swear when they are upset with a company.

People in the state of Washington are more laid back and finished dead last in cussing out customer service.

But refraining from cursing does not mean you are polite. Massachusetts was the second-least likely to swear, but also the second least likely to say "please"  and "thank you."

Wisconsin is No. 1 in discourtesy.

The most polite states were, in order, South

Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia. Southerners are raised right.

West Virginia finished in the top 10 in cussing and in the middle 30 when it came to saying "please" and "thank you."

When West Virginians call a company to complain, they should ask themselves if they want to sound like an Ohioan. Someone is always keeping tabs.

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THE issue of how much sodium an adult should ingest each day, once considered

settled, has turned into a raging debate.

Officials estimate adults on average consume 3,400 milligrams each day, but the federal government

recommends 2,300 milligrams for the general public and as little as 1,500 milligrams for people over 50, black people and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

The American Heart Association thinks the recommendation should be dropped to 1,500 milligrams for everyone. But a panel at the Institute of Medicine says the science doesn't support that.

"Lowering sodium intake too much may actually increase a person's risk of some health problems," Brian Strom, the panel chairman and a public health professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, said in a statement.

The studies still "support previous findings that reducing sodium from very high intake levels to moderate levels improves health," he said.

The debate continues.

Studies on sodium intake, like all scientific studies, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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DECLINING enrollment has caused Fayette County to pare the number of schools from 38 in 1990 to just 18 today, but the problem of declining facilities remains, county school board members told state School Superintendent James Phares.

An architect estimated it will cost $122 million to meet Fayette's school construction needs. The county's bonding capacity is $67 million.

Phares was sympathetic. He is the former superintendent of Pocahontas County, which had 104 schools a century ago and has five today — with roughly the same number of students.

Transportation improvements aided consolidation. Communications improvements in the 21st century may eliminate the need for students to leave home.

Also, cross-county schools offer some promise if the taxation and representation issues can ever be resolved.


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PENSION promises are holding up the sale of Ormet Corp. to a subsidiary of Wayzata Investment. Ormet has an aluminum smelter in

Hannibal, Ohio, which is right across the Ohio River from West Virginia.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which

Congress set up in 1974, would have to cover Ormet's pension debts.

Ormet is in bankruptcy court, mainly due to its pension costs.

Congress set up the pension insurance backstop

39 years ago, making it easier for companies to make promises they couldn't keep.

Now the PBGC itself has a $34 billion deficit and  the federal government has indebted future generations to the tune of $16 trillion.

Taxpayers are the ultimate backstop for both.

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EFFORTS to persuade West Virginia University students not to burn couches appear finally to be paying off.

An annual report from the Student Rights and

Responsibilities Committee showed students com-

mitted only nine malicious burning violations this school year, down from 21 the previous year.

Every school has its traditions, but this one is dangerous. It's good to see it gradually disappear.



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