UP: A person with no affinity for cats may consider it a waste of time, but the concerted effort to free a feline from a downspout at Donnell Middle School provided many a warm, fuzzy break from a long, hard week. Seeing Findlay Superintendent Dean Wittwer, school Principal Don Williams and Hancock County Dog Warden Dana Berger searching for a solution to the situation showed compassion for an animal in trouble. In case you missed it on today’s front page, the story had a happy ending when the cat finally surfaced Friday. So much for the misconception that newspapers only print bad news.

UP: Findlay City Council has approved a $64.3 million budget for 2014 which is about $3 million more than was appropriated last year. It’s good that part of the increased spending is being directed to city departments which most need them, particularly the safety forces. Three of 10 firefighting positions lost last spring will be restored, bumping the department’s shift size from 14 to 15. The Police Department, meanwhile, will be able to bring back the Special Assignment Unit when two officers are added this year. With recent shootings and drug activity, the additions would appear to be coming at the right time. As for hiring a communications liaison, that idea has been nixed, at least for now. That, too, is a good move.

UP: The countdown to the opening act at the Marathon Performing Arts Center is about to begin. Come March, shovels will be in the dirt at Main Cross and Cory as the former Central School auditorium undergoes a $10 million transformation. The privately-funded project seems sound. Traffic flow concerns raised this week shouldn’t be dismissed, but may not prove to be much of a problem. After all, we’re only talking about routing several hundred cars into the Arts Center parking lot, not 5,000. And most events at the center will be in the evenings or on weekends, when other traffic is minimal. As we continue to wait and wonder about our flood-control projects, it will be exciting to see the Arts Center emerge in downtown.

UP: We were glad to see several new Findlay City Council members question the all-too-common practice of fast-tracking legislation this week. With more than 50 percent of ordinances and resolutions approved by council last year without being given three readings, it is an issue worthy of further discussion. Certainly, there are legitimate reasons to ram through some legislation, but the process shouldn’t be overused. The public must have an opportunity to know about and respond to legislation before it gets approved. We hope the issue gets further debate, and officials redefine when a bill is an emergency and when it is not.

UP: The strategy the City of Findlay Public Works Department implemented during this week’s snowstorm showed great results. Given the cold temperatures and wind they had to deal with, crews had the main thoroughfares clear and drivable within hours of the last snowflake falling. They worked around the clock to clear drifts and get into residential streets so that citizens who had to get out and go to work or travel for an emergency could do so. The significant snowfall and arctic cold could have been an easy excuse to not get the job done, but they answered the call with public service excellence.


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