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UP: It was good news, times two, this week when it was announced that MPLX LP, Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s pipeline subsidiary, will create an estimated 150 Findlay jobs averaging $100,000 per year in the next three years, and that Marathon Petroleum will be making $80 million in investments. The jobs that Marathon will add are exactly the kind any area needs: white collar, high-paying, and in downtown. The trickle-down of added employment will benefit every person who lives in the area. Although the exact nature of the investments have not been announced, it likely involves a headquarters for MPLX LP, now located in the crowded Marathon Petroleum complex. It’s no secret Marathon has been exploring several options for new space to accommodate headquarters for MPLX LP, perhaps in the block where the former Elks building stands. That said, we’ll continue to wait on the edge of our seats for Marathon’s next bit of news.

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UP: If anyone has left a lasting mark on McComb, it is Fritz Meyer, who built a cookie factory in McComb more than 50 years ago. Meyer died Tuesday. In addition to being one of the founders of Consolidated Biscuit Co., now Hearthside Food Solutions, Meyer had a hand in attracting a restaurant, a pharmacy, some housing and a VFW building to McComb, and also worked to remove dilapidated structures in the village’s downtown. Friends and community leaders have described Meyer as a driving force in the community. Mayor Robert Schwab said it best. “He gave a lot back to the community. A person like that comes to a community once in a lifetime.”

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UP: The bar for charitable giving keeps getting higher in Hancock County. This year’s United Way of Hancock County campaign broke another record, finishing at just more than $3 million. Gene Stevens was this year’s campaign chairman, but he had a lot of help topping last year’s campaign mark of $2.8 million. As usual, the corporate division donations led the way at $2.4 million, but several campaign divisions exceeded their goals. Every United Way donation, regardless of its size, is important, of course, as it helps fund numerous community agencies and their programs. The funds will be distributed to programs and services through grants that are reviewed by citizens who serve on volunteer impact teams, and are also used for United Way operations. Way to go, Hancock County!

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UP: It’s been said in this space before, but it bears repeating considering the January that Mother Nature just put us through. We survived, in part, because of the herculean efforts of city, county, township and state road crews, which kept our roads passable until the temperature rose and salt was able to do its job. The amount of snow we received and the strong winds that often blew it about meant 24/7 work for many snowplow operators. Yes, there were accidents and some of us slid into ditches, but most of us made it through unscathed due to the labors of the men and women behind the plows. So hats off, once again, to all who cleared our way.

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UP: The conditions may never be right again in this area for snow rollers, but they certainly were early this week. The rare meteorological phenomenon, which turned up on some area landscapes Monday morning as uncompleted snowmen, happens when chunks of snow are blown along the ground by wind and pick up material along the way. The recipe for snow rollers requires a special combination of snow, ice, wind, and dramatic temperature shifts which happened to take place Sunday night and early Monday in much of Ohio. The snow rollers provided a whimsical memory of a month which will go down as one of the coldest and snowiest in recent history.

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UP: Hancock County may never be a top 10 travel destination, but more people are visiting here and spending a night. We know that because Hancock County collected a record amount of hotel bed taxes for the third consecutive year in 2013, a total of $502,156. Money from the county’s 3 percent hotel bed tax funds the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Sports activities at the Cube and the Marathon Diamonds have become a big draw for out-of-town visitors and should be again this year as Findlay hosts the USA national women’s softball team and the National Amateur Softball Organization’s national youth tournament. We need to continue to roll out the red carpet to visitors and convince them to stay even longer.

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DOWN: A propane shortage across northwestern Ohio and in 23 other states is forcing rationing and has doubled the fuel’s price. For 100 gallons of propane, someone could spend nearly $360, or about $180 more than last fall. That’s unfortunate, considering the propane shortage and resulting price spikes may have been avoidable. Company officials say propane is in low supply here because more is being shipped to China and Middle Eastern countries. Propane exports are up seven times over last year. In addition, flow in a major pipeline, which runs south and east from Canada into Chicago and northwestern Ohio, was reversed to accommodate other products going in the opposite direction.

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