Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news.

Local primary elections are a good sign of interest in one’s own community.

Kudos to the dozen Eau Claire residents who stepped forward to file their candidacies for the City Council this week. The candidates are seeking five at-large seats on the council, meaning Eau Claire voters will have to whittle down their choices for civic leadership by two candidates before the April 2 general election. A year ago, nine candidates filed for five seats, and two more filed for an open at-large position.

The interest could be the result of dissatisfaction with a city issue or simply a resident’s feeling that it is time to do their part and give back to Eau Claire. The bottom line is the more the merrier when it comes to candidates for local office. Choices are good.

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The federal government partial shutdown could get real for all Americans very soon.

If you think the fight over a border wall that has closed some federal offices doesn’t affect you, think again. The Associated Press reported this week that the Internal Revenue Service generally does not issue tax refunds during a government shutdown. That’s right. The IRS would accept your money during a shutdown, but you can forget about getting that much anticipated and, in many cases, much needed refund because federal workers who would process refunds would be furloughed for the nonessential work.

The AP noted low-income people would be disproportionately affected if they didn’t receive refunds because they generally use the money to pay down debt.

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Collaboration between secondary and higher-education schools in the Chippewa Valley is growing and helping to meet the needs of the next generation.

The Eau Claire school district and Chippewa Valley Technical College announced this week a partnership between the schools that will allow high school students to graduate with an associate degree in business management, according to a story by the Leader-Telegram’s Samantha West. The program is free to students, except for Advanced Placement test fees.

“We look at this as a win-win-win,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker.

— Gary Johnson, editor