UP: If ever there was a good year to run for political office in Findlay, 2019 is shaping up to be just that. While Mayor Lydia Mihalik had been expected to receive a challenge had she run for a third term, her decision to take a job in the Mike DeWine administration has opened the door wide for wannabe mayoral candidates. As reported Saturday, 1st Ward Councilwoman Holly Frische has already turned in candidacy petitions for mayor, well ahead of the filing deadline for the May primary. Mihalik’s departure could prompt others, who may not have wanted to run against the incumbent, to reconsider. By the end of February, the Hancock County Republican Party is tasked with selecting someone to serve as mayor the remainder of this year. If the GOP doesn’t pick Frische, and the appointee opts to run for a full term, it could set the stage for a rare GOP primary for the mayor’s seat in May. Perhaps other Republicans will run for mayor, too. It’s unknown if any Democrats will file for mayor, auditor, law director or any of the council seats up for election this year, but we hope every race is contested. Government works best when voters have options. Why not run if you believe you can add something to city government? Time is of the essence for Republicans and Democrats. Petitions, which can be picked up at the Hancock County Board of Elections, are due Feb. 6. Independent candidates don’t have to file to run until May 6. The opportunity awaits.

UP: Cha-ching! Average gas prices began the year at the lowest point nationally in over two years, and remain at sub-$2 a gallon levels in Ohio, one of 11 states where gas prices average under $2. On Monday, most stations in Findlay were selling gas between $1.899 and $1.929 a gallon. In some places in the state, gas was even lower. At Sam’s Club in Bedford it was $1.639 Monday. Some experts are saying gas prices will bottom out by mid-February and will likely rise to the $3 level by May. In other words, enjoy the low prices while you can.