Bexley: 5 top stories from 2020

Chris Bournea
ThisWeek
5 Top Stories of 2020

The citywide response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic tops the top five stories in Bexley for 2020. 

Here’s a look at five significant stories published in the ThisWeek Bexley News during the past 12 months.

COVID-19 RESPONSE – In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the city of Bexley adopted a number of safety measures beginning in March. Mayor Ben Kessler formed a COVID-19 task force comprised of medical professionals and issued an executive order requiring customers to wear masks at indoor businesses. City Council and all boards and commissions began holding meetings remotely, and the David H. Madison Bexley Community Pool remained closed all year. Also in March, Bexley schools transitioned to online learning. The district began the 2020-21 school year Aug. 24 with remote learning and shifted to a hybrid learning model Sept. 21. The Bexley Public Library closed for in-person browsing and began offering curbside pickup and home delivery. 

Related story:Bexley's mandate for wearing of face coverings at businesses begins July 3

Related story:Bexley school board eyes new decision-making plan

PLASTICS BAN – After initiating a citywide ban on plastic bags in January 2020, the city of Bexley postponed the ban until January 2021 due to concerns over how the ban would financially impact businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and that reusable bags may spread the virus. In a 7-0 vote Nov. 17, City Council approved Ordinance 49-20. The ordinance bans plastic grocery and carryout bags at all businesses within Bexley city limits and at all city facilities and city-sponsored events beginning Jan. 1, 2021. The ordinance also removes a provision from the previous ban that enabled businesses to charge customers for paper bags and other alternatives to plastic bags, bringing city law in line with a law that the Ohio General Assembly passed in October.  

More:Bexley’s ban on plastic bags shifted to Jan. 1 start

INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT – This fall, the Bexley schools said farewell to Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller, who joined the district in 2017, and welcomed former Columbus City Schools superintendent Dan Good as interim superintendent. The board voted 5-0 to hire Good on Oct. 6. Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools announced Miller was hired as its superintendent following a Sept. 30 special meeting of its board. 

More:Bexley superintendent in contract negotiations with Eastland-Fairfield for similar post

CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD – City Council voted 7-0 on Oct. 13 to approve Ordinance 38-20, which codifies the Bexley Citizen Review Advisory Board that Kessler created with an executive order in June. Kessler said the board was created in response to the national dialogue on how to improve police-community relations in the aftermath of the Minneapolis police-involved death of George Floyd on May 25. The board is charged with reviewing complaints pertaining to unlawful discrimination or bias directed by city employees that are under appeal to the mayor. Ordinance 38-20 expands the board from the three members to five and establishes three-year terms for each member. 

More:Bexley City Council codifies Citizen Review Advisory Board

More:Bexley mayor creates liaison post, advisory board to monitor police

DIVERSITY INITIATIVES – Throughout the year, the city of Bexley, Bexley schools and community organizations took on a number of initiatives designed to promote cultural diversity. In a 7-0 vote Aug. 11, City Council approved Resolution 06-20, which adds a Bexley Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy to the city’s strategic plan. The city of Bexley and the Bexley Minority Parents Alliance also launched a series of virtual town hall meetings and “listening sessions” between police and community members. Director of Student & Community Engagement Leisan Smith, an African-American woman, is leading the district’s efforts to promote diversity, inclusion and antiracism with students and staff, including meetings with current and former Bexley students involved with the Bexley Anti-Racism Project (BARP). BARP is one of several community organizations that formed this year to address race relations in Bexley and beyond.   

More:Bexley mayor creates liaison post, advisory board to monitor police

Related story:Social media bullying involving Bexley, Columbus Academy students investigated