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UP: Followers of Piper, the cat who had to be coaxed from a downspout at Donnell Middle School last month, must have purred with approval this week upon learning that the 12-year-old yellow tom has made a full recovery and has been adopted. The feline developed a wide fan base and received countless offers of adoption after news organizations heard of his plight. His 15 minutes of fame may be over, but it appears Piper will have a leisurely retirement. His new family has pledged to keep him indoors.

UP: Ohio’s senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, and Rep. Bob Latta have penned another letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, seeking support of federal-funded flood control in the Blanchard River watershed. The three officials have asked the corps to support the project a number of times and have urged it to include the region in funding in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. In their latest letter, they stressed the watershed’s economic importance in a “region primed for growth” and also pledged to fight on behalf of northwestern Ohio’s citizens until the corps commits the funds necessary for the project’s completion. Will the letter make a difference? It’s hard to tell, but it can’t hurt.

DOWN: If Hardin Northern Local School District is accepted into the Northwest Central Conference this spring, it will be a bittersweet development for sports fans. While the move should make HN sports teams more competitive, it will also mean the school will be withdrawing from the Blanchard Valley Conference. HN was one of the founding members of the conference in 1965. The move appears to be due to declining enrollment: Hardin Northern has 50 boys and 55 girls in grades 9-11. Of the 10 current BVC schools, only Vanlue (30 boys, 34 girls in grades 9-11) has a lower enrollment. The NWCC schools, which include Lima Perry, Sidney Lehman, Upper Scioto Valley, Ridgemont, Waynesfield-Goshen, Riverside, and Lima Temple Christian, average 74 boys and 72 girls in grades 9-11. While we wish HN the best of luck, count us among those who will miss the Polar Bears’ long-established rivalries.

DOWN: The theft of two firearms from a Fostoria police officer’s personal car outside his Toledo residence earlier this week is troubling, considering the weapons have yet to be recovered. But just as problematic is the fact there is nothing in police regulations that govern the storage of equipment when officers are off duty. Fostoria police policy had once dictated where weapons were to be stored and prohibited them from being left in vehicles. But that policy, and the department’s entire operating procedure manual, apparently was abolished by former Police Chief John McGuire in 2006. Considering that was eight years ago, and in light of the theft, now would be a good time to revive policy and procedure.

DOWN: By most accounts, Rep. Rex Damschroder, R-Fremont, has been a good representative of the 88th House District. He was expecting an uncontested run for a third two-year term this year before he was forced to drop out of the race when he forgot to sign two of his election petitions. Plans now call for Damschroder’s wife, Rhonda, to run as a write-in candidate in the May primary instead. If she wins, she would withdraw from the race and Rex would replace her as the GOP candidate in November. While Rep. Damschroder has apologized for his paperwork error, time will tell if voters accept it and keep him in office.

UP: Sports often overshadows academic achievement. But two Liberty-Benton graduates, Aaron Craft and Amanda Hyde, have demonstrated it’s possible to compete on a high level in the classroom and on the basketball court. Both have been named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I men’s and women’s basketball first teams. Craft, a senior at Ohio State, is a three-time first team honoree, and will leave the Buckeyes with his name listed throughout the basketball record book. Hyde, a senior at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, is the first athlete from the school to be selected for the first team. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30, and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Well done, Aaron and Amanda!

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