UP: We know it was a public relations thing, but we like it when police officers mix and mingle with the public in non-confrontational ways. That’s what happened in Fostoria on Christmas Eve when a police officer and city councilman handed out gift cards instead of tickets to motorists who had been pulled over for minor traffic infractions. Of course, such friendly encounters can’t happen every day and with every person police happen upon. But the effort was appropriate during the season of giving. Kudos to Fostoria police for the effort.

UP: We don’t know how long the run has lasted, but Putnam County has become a traditional top 10 leader on the state’s lowest unemployment list for many years. With a 3 percent rate for November, the county was tied for second out of Ohio’s 88 counties. (Hancock County, at 3.1 percent, was fourth.) Putnam’s location may help keep it among the state’s lowest. Many in Putnam’s working class are employed in Hancock, Allen and other nearby counties. Whatever the reason, Putnam countians have figured out how to stay employed. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for other small, rural counties.

UP: If it seems like the Dalzell Ditch has always been in the news, it has. Governmental agencies have been talking about cleaning up the clogged little waterway for decades, but have had trouble figuring out who should pay the bill, and how much. Finally, in 2017, the complicated funding puzzle for such a project was solved, and 2018 should be the year when the Dalzell finally gets cleaned. What more can we say? Let’s get it done and move on. There’s got to be another ditch worthy of our attention!

DOWN: We choose to live in northwest Ohio, so we should accept cold weather, right? Well, the white was nice for Christmas, but the deep chill that followed couldn’t have been on anyone’s wish list. The bad news is a warm-up isn’t expected for another week. The good news is spring is only 80 days away!

UP: This year will go down as one of the most frustrating years in history for area motorists. But, as each roadway and bridge project has been completed and most of the orange traffic barrels have been put away (at least for the season), the frustration of getting around Hancock County has lessened. Little things can make a big difference to motorists. One example is the recent opening of the rebuilt Osborn Avenue bridge over the Blanchard River, near Riverside Park. The project may not have been that much of an inconvenience to so many had it not taken place at the same time downtown Findlay and Interstate 75 were torn up. But the new 252-foot bridge is much improved and includes sight improvements for motorists at the bridge approaches. We can only imagine the sense of relief once the I-75 widening project and related projects are completed.

DOWN: Is it just us, or did someone dim the streetlights in downtown Findlay? While the renovations there are complete, with the exception of some landscaping, which will have to wait until spring, and finishing touches remain on the Hancock Hotel before Main Street is fully open again, lumens on the streetlights may need to be increased — at least until motorists get more familiar with those midblock islands.