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DOWN: There’s only one thing that could make this snowy and cold winter worse than it has already been: another flood. Things are still frozen, but officials are monitoring the forecasts to see if a flood warning will be needed. Weather watching is nothing new in these parts, of course. Some of us worry every time it rains or when the snow starts to pile up. As eager as we are for spring to arrive and for the snow to disappear, we should all hope it goes away slowly.

DOWN: Speaking of snow, credit must be given to all those who have labored this winter to keep their sidewalks passable. But other property owners apparently still need a little prodding. Go down just about any street and you’ll still find an unshoveled walk or two. That’s understandable if the property is abandoned or occupied by someone physically unable to shovel. On the other hand, if you’re able, get out there and get the job done!

UP: We’re glad Ohio lawmakers are taking a long look at a measure which would shorten the school year to 169 days due to the extreme winter. State law calls for 182 days of school each year, but allows for up to five calamity days and four teacher professional development days. That brings the number down to 173, and House Bill 416 would give schools an extra four calamity days. A vote on the bill has been pushed back until next week. Meanwhile, some school districts are already doing the right thing by making up for lost time by adding hours at the end of the day, scheduling classes on holidays, or adding days at the end of the school year.

UP: Some races will be decided in the May 6 primary in Hancock and surrounding counties. But most candidates, once again, will be uncontested. While the deadline to get on the primary ballot has passed, it’s not too late to run as a write-in in May or as an independent in November. The filing deadline for write-ins is Feb. 24, while independents can make the general election if they sign up at their board of elections by May 5. People often complain about their elected officials. Now’s the time to sign up or shut up.

UP: Arrest and crime reports compiled by many police departments at private universities and hospitals would become public under a bill introduced last week. More than 800 privately-employed police officers in Ohio are authorized by the state to carry handguns and make arrests, but, unlike public departments and officers, are not required to provide records to the public. The bill would make private police forces, including those at 17 nonprofit hospitals and 16 private universities, subject to Ohio’s public records laws. Attorney General Mike DeWine believes such a change is warranted. So do we.

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