Northland: 5 top stories from 2020

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5 Top Stories of 2020

The world changed in 2020, with the COVID-19 coronavirus, civil unrest in major U.S. cities and a polarized political climate as just a few examples.

Northland and central Ohio as a whole had their share of news, too. Here’s a brief recap of five significant stories published in the ThisWeek Northland News during the past 12 months.

Sheetz orders up central Ohio expansion – Sheetz, a family-run chain that combines a gas station with a fresh-foods cafe and convenience store, announced its big plans for the central Ohio market in September.

After the company, which got its start in Altoona, Pennsylvania, broke ground on its first central Ohio facilities in Delaware and Obetz, its leaders revealed they intend to open a dozen locations each year through 2025 in central Ohio.

Some other known sites Sheetz has targeted are on Cemetery Road in Hilliardon Bethel Road in northwest Columbus, on Hilliard-Rome Road in west Columbus, at Johnstown Road and Walton Parkway in the New Albany International Business Park and at Grandview Avenue and Dublin Road in Grandview Heights.

Previous story:Sheetz breaks ground in Delaware and Obetz, plans about 50 stores in central Ohio

Previous story:Sheetz gains initial approval for Hilliard site

Previous story:Sheetz planning another location just south of Hilliard

Previous story:Sheetz update: Plans taking shape for store in northwest Columbus

Previous story:Sheetz plans location in New Albany

Previous story:Planning commission begins consideration of Sheetz application

Census lets residents know they count – The U.S. Census drew plenty of headlines in early 2020, even with being overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic.

But a new addition to the process could not have been more timely when census invitations started to be received in March: For the first time, residents had the option to fill out the census form online, in addition to the options of responding via phone and mail.

Several support organizations in central Ohio also worked to make sure new Americans understand the importance of participating in the census. Although the spread of the coronavirus made in-person education difficult, those organizations provided educational resources online and reached out by telephone.

Previous story:2020 census includes online-response option

Previous story:Central Ohio agencies want immigrants to know they count for 2020 census

Furry friends offset stay-at-home stress – The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and the state's associated stay-at-home orders transitioned many central Ohioans to work-from-home status.

But one positive was that many traded coworkers for furry friends, and those pets probably had – and still might be having – a positive impact on their mental well-being, according to experts.

Research has shown that interacting with a pet, whether in a physical or mental way, even for intermittent periods of time, can have profound mental- or physical-health benefits, according to Rustin Moore, dean of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Previous story:Pet therapy: Furry friends might offset stay-at-home stress

Did their guitars gently weep? – Before the pandemic changed the dynamics of public gatherings, ax aficionados from Ohio and across the country, strumming acoustic guitars or plugging into amplifiers, flocked to the Makoy Center in Old Hilliard on Jan. 5 for the biannual Ohio Guitar Show.

The show had 100 vendors and drew about 1,200 attendees, ranging from people who were inspired by Chuck Berry to plug into an amplifier to those not yet born when Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain helped define alternative rock.

Previous story:Ohio Guitar Show in Hilliard plays up vintage instruments

Pizza enthusiast squares up history – Local writer Jim Ellison, commonly known by his nom de plume, CMH Gourmand, recently wrote “Columbus Pizza: A Slice of History," published by Arcadia Publishing and the History Press.

Even the most casual observers likely will recognize Columbus’ characteristic thin crust, ladled with a slightly sweet sauce seasoned with oregano, spread edge to edge with toppings and, most noticeable of all, cut into squares, also known as a party-cut style.

It was believed to be adopted by Romeo’s – not related to the regional chain – founded in 1950 by Jimmy Massey and Romeo Sirij at the corner of West Fifth and North Star avenues. Needless to say, dozens of other pizzerias adopted the style, including Donatos, Rubino’s, Iacono’s and Terita’s.

Previous story:Hip to be square? New styles have shaped Columbus' pizza history

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