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UP: Friday’s story, “New year, new lease on life” (Page A6), is uplifting and should prompt conversations about living organ donation. The article is about siblings Mike Hulbert and Sandy Wurth, and Wurth’s life-extending gift of a kidney to Hulbert, who had been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. Many people have taken steps to be an organ donor upon death, but few may be aware that donations can be made while one is still alive. Living organ donation dates to 1954, when a kidney from one twin was successfully transplanted into his identical brother. The number of living organ donors is now more than 6,000 per year and one in four donors isn’t biologically related to the recipient. By offering a kidney, the lobe of a lung, portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine, living donors can offer another person an alternative to the national transplant waiting list for an organ from a deceased donor. Anyone who donates an organ is special, but donating while one is still alive is extraordinary. Research it if you care.
DOWN: It’s hard to put a positive spin on the new year’s frigid weather, which is expected to continue well into next week. But we’ll try. Look at the calendar. It’s early January. It’s Ohio. Anyone who has lived here very long should be used to wild, unpredictable winters by now. Perhaps we should just stop fighting the season, get venturesome and go outside. Take a walk (a short one), build a snowman (when it gets a little warmer), or ski or skate. OK, it’s just a thought. Here’s another: Spring is just 75 days off.
UP: At least 923 people died on Ohio roads in 2013. While additional deaths are still under review that could raise the total to 981, that number would mark the first time that fewer than 1,000 traffic deaths have occurred since record-keeping began in 1936. The previous low was 1,016 in 2011 and in 2012 there were 1,122 deaths. The trend is encouraging when one considers that, starting in the late 1960s, Ohio had logged at least 2,500 traffic deaths for five consecutive years, with a record high of more than 2,770 in 1969. Officials say many factors have contributed to decreasing fatalities, including awareness and enforcement of traffic laws. They believe the number can go even lower. Even one traffic death is too many, of course, and more work needs to be done, including in Hancock County where six people lost their lives in accidents last year. Imagine the fatality number if drivers refrained from calling/texting while driving and from operating a vehicle while impaired.
UP: Not too many people know yet exactly what Marathon Petroleum Corp. has in mind for property it purchased last year at the southeast corner of Main Street and East Hardin Street, where the Elks building now stands. Recent hiring has seen the company outgrow its downtown headquarters and left it in need of additional office and parking space. Rumors will continue to swirl until plans are announced, but we’re confident whatever is built will go up, not out, and will complement the building just to the north.

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