UP: If Tuesday’s candidate forum for Findlay council at-large races seemed unusual, it was. First, there are six candidates seeking the three positions to be decided Nov. 7. That’s unheard of in a city where most races are decided in primaries and, more often than not, uncontested. Second, three of the six candidates are Democrats. Say what? That, in itself, is noteworthy. Findlay is still a Republican-leaning city. Still, the forum provided a much-needed voice from the “other side.” That’s needed in every community, especially those where one party dominates politics. Regardless of who wins in November, the courteous, open exchange of ideas by all the candidates was a good exercise for the community.

UP: Amid all the construction commotion, the “new” Dorney Plaza has emerged in downtown Findlay. The much-talked-about project began earlier this year after years of discussion and debate about its design, cost, security and what trees to plant. The new Dorney has a simpler, cleaner look. Its wide angled walkway invites movement between Main and Main Cross, and actually leads to the Findlay Muncipal Building. A large stone, visible from Main, identifies the space and serves as a reminder of the generosity of the plaza’s namesake, L. Dale Dorney. There will be differences of opinion, of course, about the result, like there is with any public project. But it’s done. In a year of what must be a record amount of construction downtown, done is good.

DOWN: Summer fish kills in three area counties should be a wake-up call that more education needs to be provided about spreading of livestock manure on farm fields. Fines were imposed recently on farmers after creeks in Hardin, Allen and Crawford counties became tainted by ammonia-laden manure that had been put on fields and then washed into the waterways following heavy rains. Lake Erie’s well-documented algae problems have been traced to similar farm and municipal runoff. But the fish kills show it’s not just the lake that can be affected. Awareness is growing, but must continue. Imposing fines on violators may be necessary to improve compliance.

UP: There’s no good excuse for not voting in Ohio, where early voting started Wednesday and will continue through Nov. 6. In-person early voting takes place weekdays at most boards of elections between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Oct. 27; from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 30-Nov. 3; from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4; 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5; and from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. Absentee ballots, meanwhile, must be postmarked by Nov. 6 in order to be counted, but can also be dropped off at the board of elections on Election Day. Of course, “traditional” voting takes place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. One way or the other, find time to vote!

UP: If you’re like most Ohioans, you’re being bombarded by TV ads and mailings about State Issue 2, an initiative action that aims to reduce prescription drug prices for certain state agencies. The issue is hotly contested and millions are being spent by both sides. In an effort to provide a better understanding of the issue, a forum on Issue 2 will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the University of Findlay Gardner Pavilion. Representatives of the proponents, Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, and the opponents, No on Issue 2 Campaign, will be given an opportunity to make their case, and answer audience questions. If you’re confused about the issue or just want more information, attend the forum, which is sponsored by the Findlay branch of the American Association of University Women, The Courier and WFIN/WKXA.