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UP: If anyone in Hancock County deserves the spotlight, it would be John Hancock, the county’s namesake, whose statue has stood watch atop the courthouse for years. Hancock was once lit up and will be again after the Hancock County commissioners and First Federal Bank came to an agreement. The deal calls for the county to pay $500 a year to the bank, which, in turn, will supply the floodlight and the electricity to keep Hancock illuminated each night from across South Main Street. That should provide a nice visual for downtown and will be a fitting focal point on the county’s history.

UP: Unless you’re a farmer or read Ed Lentz’s column earlier this week, you probably didn’t know Tuesday was National Ag Day or that National Ag Week, which ends Sunday, is winding down. The aim is awareness. It encourages Americans to understand how food and fiber products are produced, to appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products, to value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy, and to consider careers in agriculture. While the number of family farms is decreasing, the role farmers play has never been more important, especially here in northwestern Ohio.

DOWN: Land where many an area golfer honed their game may soon be turned to farmland, now that Oak Mallett Golf Club has been sold. We understand why it had to happen. Mike Mallett, who owned the course the past decade, said it has been bleeding money since the golf boom ended. We still wish it wasn’t so. The course, previously known as Fairview Golf Course, and still referred to as “Johnson’s” by those old enough to have played with wooden-shaft clubs, was one of the area’s oldest courses. It was founded in the late 1920s, opened for business in 1930, and would be celebrating its 84th season had it opened this year. Regardless of one’s handicap, that’s a lot of nice shots!

UP: You may not feel particularly well after the winter we just survived, but overall this part of Ohio is healthier than most. That is according to an annual study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It found Putnam County to be the state’s second-healthiest county, based on longevity, infant mortality rates, access to health care and individual behaviors such as smoking. Also considered in the survey were social and economic factors like education, unemployment and income because of their impact on health and access to care. Other area counties which ranked in the top half of Ohio counties were: Wood (seventh), Hancock (12th), Seneca (18th), Henry (27th), Allen (35th) and Wyandot (37th). Hardin County ranked 59th.

UP: The Hancock County commissioners are expecting Findlay’s petition to clean Dalzell Ditch any day now. We hope the paperwork arrives soon, too. The much-talked-about project is long overdue. While the county is responsible for maintaining all ditches, Findlay has offered to pay as much as $300,000 toward this cleanup to lessen the financial burden on neighboring property owners. Previous estimates put the cost of cleaning the ditch at between $500,000 and $750,000. About 75 percent of the ditch runs through the city and affects thousands of parcels. We’re glad to see the city and county sharing the cost and working together on such an important project.

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