Looking back at 2020, Part 2 (April-June): In-person, or virtual?


April-June: COVID-19 kicks in

News Journal



Wilmington High School Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas during a stage presentation for individual graduates and their parents or legal guardians. At designated times over three days, the traditional Hurricane-style graduation stage was set up and a professional photographer was there to photograph each graduate in cap-and-gown with their diploma and parents.

Wilmington High School Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas during a stage presentation for individual graduates and their parents or legal guardians. At designated times over three days, the traditional Hurricane-style graduation stage was set up and a professional photographer was there to photograph each graduate in cap-and-gown with their diploma and parents.


Members of the East Clinton Class of 2020 held a “Cruise Thru” over the weekend when residents had an opportunity to go outdoors and cheer and show support for the new graduates who weren’t able to have the traditional, mass gathering commencement. The “Cruise Thru” caravan traveled through New Vienna, the high school campus in Lees Creek, and ended in Sabina, all part of the EC school district.


School was still in session — in homes all around Clinton County, so we asked readers to share photos of their kids doing schoolwork at home. At left in the first photo are: Kerstyn and Mollie, Wilmington East End fifth-graders; Wayde, a Holmes kindergartner; Elisabeth, who is homeschooled; and Emma, a WMS eighth-grader; in the photo at right are Wilmington Christian Academy students, seventh-grader Noah, sixth-grader Brooke and third-grader Blake.


Wilmington High School held its Class of 2020 virtual commencement on a Friday evening via Facebook and YouTube. The virtual event included the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance”, past photos of seniors during their final year, speeches by Senior Class President Chloe Williams as well as administrators, and a slide-show recognition of every graduating senior, capped off by a symbolic turning of the tassel.


A pandemic wasn’t enough to stop Wilmington High School from holding a 2020 prom as students and staff used their ingenuity to hold a virtual prom on Saturday night, May 9, which included posting photos and commenting.


The Art House made its long-awaited debut with a colorful open house and grand opening on a June Saturday at its new location on W. Sugartree St. The Art House offers a new space for creative community members of all ages to converge and to explore their talents in the facility’s studio space, and classes and workshops for both adults and kids, as well as a gallery and retail spot.


Area residents were giving back to those on the front lines. Some local citizens raised money to get gift cards/certificates so they can be given to the employees of the Blanchester Kroger. Kerry Stanforth, the project’s organizer, wanted to find a way to show appreciation to the 150 Kroger employees who she feels are overlooked.


A drone’s-eye view of a drive-in prayer vigil and candlelight service for Dr. Jeffrey Manser, the Wilmington pediatrician who was hospitalized with the coronavirus. (Photo by Ryan Powell.)


With Emma Marks, who provided the welcome, in the center, Wilmington College graduates moving their tassels from right to left — signifying their graduation — were speakers, clockwise from the top left: Vanessa Cheyann McKee, who represented main campus students; Warren Owens, Cincinnati Branch representative; Brandon Ford, who provided the welcome; and Kameron Rinehart, who introduced the keynote speaker.


This is Part 2 of the News Journal’s annual Year in Review of selected local stories and photos.

APRIL

5 COVID-19 cases

“Clinton County now has five confirmed cases of coronavirus, county officials confirmed Wednesday [April 1], with their ages ranging from 32 to 62. That is up from the total of three which had stood for several days. One of the five patients is hospitalized.

“’Those [five local] cases have all had exposures traced back either out of county, or even out of state’,” Clinton County Health Commissioner Pamela Walker-Bauer said. “Two of those cases are in the medical field.”

Wilmington keeping up

WILMINGTON — “’What a month this has been’,” said Mayor John Stanforth at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, held via the GoToMeeting app. Stanforth gave updates on city services and departments during the COVID-19 pandemic. He advised that the city’s transportation has been ‘hit hard’.

“’Out of 51 drivers, we have 15 that are still driving,” he said. “Remember, our drivers tend to be an older workforce’.”

Nice, big parking lot

WILMINGTON — “Around the country, aircraft are being temporarily parked as demand for passenger air travel decreases. The Wilmington Air Park, as a facility that can accommodate large aircraft arrivals and departures, is able to offer temporary space for parking of those aircraft.

“’Together with Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services (Airborne), we are hoping to provide relief for airlines that have to find places to store these aircraft’,” said Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers.

Almost double figures

“As of April 8 Clinton County’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 currently stands at nine with four hospitalized, according to county officials. The total of nine is unchanged from Monday, but those hospitalized is up one to four. Also, four people are categorized as recovered now.

“The age range remains at 32 to 78.”

Project is postponed

WILMINGTON – “The City of Wilmington announced Tuesday that Phase 1 of the Rombach Avenue project — from Fife Avenue to the eastern corporation limit — will be postponed one year with construction delayed to begin during the summer of 2021.

“’This is the best solution for both the city, the state, for our local businesses’,” said Mayor John Stanforth. ‘Delaying the project gives the state the financial flexibility to address needs in the healthcare system due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It also allows our businesses to be open for business when the healthcare crisis is over, without the additional interruption a large construction project brings’.”

Yes, we have no bananas

WILMINGTON — “The Rotary’s Banana Split Festival, scheduled for June 12 and 13, has been cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis.

“’We are thankful for the volunteers and festival committee members who have already given so much time and effort as they prepared for the festival over the past year’,” said Marian Miller, Chairman of the 2020 Banana Split Festival. ‘As a 25-year tradition, it was a difficult decision to cancel. Our decision was made from an abundance of caution for the safety of our volunteers, guests, and vendors, as well as practicality’.”

Praying for Dr. Manser

“A drive-in prayer vigil and candlelight service was held at dusk Wednesday for Dr. Jeffrey Manser, the Wilmington pediatrician who remains hospitalized battling the coronavirus.

“The event, outside his office on W. Locust St., included a welcome and prayer by CMH Chaplain Veronica Grabill, prayers with pastors Paul Crisp and Dave Hinman, prayer by Robyn Morris, and songs from Elevation Singers and from Charity Gayle. It’s now been several weeks since his family and friends have been able to visit him due to quarantining.”

Tax passes; Snarr victor

WILMINGTON — “The City of Wilmington’s current 0.5-percent income tax levy will become a permanent one after it passed 897-567 in unofficial results Tuesday night.

“Tanya K. Snarr won the Republican nomination for Clinton County Recorder in Ohio’s primary election. Snarr placed first in a close three-person contest with 36 percent of the votes (1,245 votes); Jonathan McKay finished second at 33 percent (1,156 votes); and Kelly Hopkins came in third with 31 percent (1,096 votes).

— — —

MAY

Dr. Manser returns home

WILMINGTON — “In his work, Wilmington pediatrician Jeffrey Manser meets with children and their parents. Things were turned around when he became critically ill with COVID-19; then it was Manser and his family finding themselves wrapped in support and love from the community.

“Dr. Manser returned home this week after being hospitalized a month, during which he lost 50 pounds and experienced a concerning setback after having shown improvement.

“’It’s been a long and at times seemingly dark road, but you know our church family, our families at work, just everybody that has called and written cards and brought food and prayed and prayed and prayed for Jeff. It’s been amazing. We’re just forever grateful’,” said his wife, Dr. Tina Gabbard.”

Local SSCC closing

WILMINGTON — “The closing of Southern State Community College’s Wilmington campus is among the actions outlined by President Kevin Boys in response to anticipated cuts of up to 20 percent in state subsidy during the 2020-21 academic year

“’We’ve always been appreciative of the Legislature’s and Administration’s support for its state colleges and universities. Quite simply, it’s the reason we’ve been able to keep our tuition affordable’, said Boys at the May 8 board of trustees meeting. ‘As the state is experiencing significant drops in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re planning for a reduction of up to 20 percent, or $1.6 million in state dollars’.”

Big donation for college

WILMINGTON — “Wilmington College’s largest gift received in the 150-year history of the landmark institution will accelerate the ongoing renaissance WC has enjoyed in recent years as a result of enrollment records, new academic programs, major gifts, fiscal stability, and new and renovated facilities.

“With the disbursement pending, the College expects to receive $13.5 million from the estate of Catherine (Cathy) Withrow, widow of 1958 alumnus Andrew (Andy) Withrow. They join a fellowship of key supporters who continue to demonstrate their confidence in Wilmington College.”

It’s OK to dine-in

WILMINGTON — “Thursday, May 24 was the first day in Ohio for dine-in service at restaurants and bars since the coronavirus shutdown, and the Jim Finnegan family of Wilmington made a beeline for the Bob Evans Restaurant in Wilmington.

“At 11:30 a.m. Thursday there were three tables of customers there. Some of the dining room tables are not available in order to maintain social distancing. Jim Finnegan sat on one side of a booth, while his son Jim Finnegan II and daughter-in-law Mindy sat on the other side. They indicated they are happy to be back at a restaurant, with Jim Finnegan I adding, with a chuckle, that he’s tired of cooking.”

— — —

JUNE

Fair must go on

WILMINGTON — “After much discussion from the Fair Board directors, county officials, and 4-H committee members, the board voted Monday night to move forward with as much of a full fair as possible with modifications. ‘We will operate in 2020 with no rides due to our ride company’s ability economically to operate their business with several fair cancellations on their route’.” [It was later decided to allow rides, and even a Ferris wheel.]

“All other aspects of the Senior Fair are currently on, and being reviewed to determine the feasibility of meeting all the health department and governor’s guidelines along with the costs associated,” a news release from the Clinton County Agricultural Society stated.”

No rock this year

WILMINGTON — “The annual Rock the Block summer day of concerts will have to wait until 2021, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Susan Valentine-Scott announced late Wednesday afternoon:

“’After careful review and orders from our governor in Ohio, we are postponing Rock the Block to next year — July 30 and 31, 2021’,” she said.

WC graduation held online

WILMINGTON — “President Jim Reynolds hearkened a favorite song from his childhood, the Rolling Stones’ 1969 hit, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’, as he presented the keynote address at Wilmington College’s 144th Commencement, which was presented online Saturday morning, June 6.

“He said today was an ‘unpleasant reminder’ that we can’t always get what we want.

“The COVID-19 pandemic forced the closing of the physical campus for students from March 16 through the Class of 2020’s online graduation ceremony.”

Only 2 active COVID cases

“Clinton County has had 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nine probable ones for a total of 55, local officials announced.

“The age range is now 17 to 91, comprised of 28 males and 27 females. Officials report that 53 of the cases are listed as resolved; no Clinton Countians are currently hospitalized due to the virus.

“Statewide, as of Tuesday afternoon Ohio reports 42,767 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,360 probable ones for a total of 46,127.”

Wilmington High School Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas during a stage presentation for individual graduates and their parents or legal guardians. At designated times over three days, the traditional Hurricane-style graduation stage was set up and a professional photographer was there to photograph each graduate in cap-and-gown with their diploma and parents.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_WHS-grads-1-5.20.jpgWilmington High School Class of 2020 graduates received their diplomas during a stage presentation for individual graduates and their parents or legal guardians. At designated times over three days, the traditional Hurricane-style graduation stage was set up and a professional photographer was there to photograph each graduate in cap-and-gown with their diploma and parents.

Members of the East Clinton Class of 2020 held a “Cruise Thru” over the weekend when residents had an opportunity to go outdoors and cheer and show support for the new graduates who weren’t able to have the traditional, mass gathering commencement. The “Cruise Thru” caravan traveled through New Vienna, the high school campus in Lees Creek, and ended in Sabina, all part of the EC school district.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_EC-grads-5.27.jpegMembers of the East Clinton Class of 2020 held a “Cruise Thru” over the weekend when residents had an opportunity to go outdoors and cheer and show support for the new graduates who weren’t able to have the traditional, mass gathering commencement. The “Cruise Thru” caravan traveled through New Vienna, the high school campus in Lees Creek, and ended in Sabina, all part of the EC school district.

School was still in session — in homes all around Clinton County, so we asked readers to share photos of their kids doing schoolwork at home. At left in the first photo are: Kerstyn and Mollie, Wilmington East End fifth-graders; Wayde, a Holmes kindergartner; Elisabeth, who is homeschooled; and Emma, a WMS eighth-grader; in the photo at right are Wilmington Christian Academy students, seventh-grader Noah, sixth-grader Brooke and third-grader Blake.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_school-at-home-4.01.jpgSchool was still in session — in homes all around Clinton County, so we asked readers to share photos of their kids doing schoolwork at home. At left in the first photo are: Kerstyn and Mollie, Wilmington East End fifth-graders; Wayde, a Holmes kindergartner; Elisabeth, who is homeschooled; and Emma, a WMS eighth-grader; in the photo at right are Wilmington Christian Academy students, seventh-grader Noah, sixth-grader Brooke and third-grader Blake.

Wilmington High School held its Class of 2020 virtual commencement on a Friday evening via Facebook and YouTube. The virtual event included the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance”, past photos of seniors during their final year, speeches by Senior Class President Chloe Williams as well as administrators, and a slide-show recognition of every graduating senior, capped off by a symbolic turning of the tassel.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_WHS-grads-5.26.jpgWilmington High School held its Class of 2020 virtual commencement on a Friday evening via Facebook and YouTube. The virtual event included the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance”, past photos of seniors during their final year, speeches by Senior Class President Chloe Williams as well as administrators, and a slide-show recognition of every graduating senior, capped off by a symbolic turning of the tassel.

A pandemic wasn’t enough to stop Wilmington High School from holding a 2020 prom as students and staff used their ingenuity to hold a virtual prom on Saturday night, May 9, which included posting photos and commenting.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_WHS-virtual-prom-5.12.jpgA pandemic wasn’t enough to stop Wilmington High School from holding a 2020 prom as students and staff used their ingenuity to hold a virtual prom on Saturday night, May 9, which included posting photos and commenting.

The Art House made its long-awaited debut with a colorful open house and grand opening on a June Saturday at its new location on W. Sugartree St. The Art House offers a new space for creative community members of all ages to converge and to explore their talents in the facility’s studio space, and classes and workshops for both adults and kids, as well as a gallery and retail spot.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_Art-House-Ribbon.jpgThe Art House made its long-awaited debut with a colorful open house and grand opening on a June Saturday at its new location on W. Sugartree St. The Art House offers a new space for creative community members of all ages to converge and to explore their talents in the facility’s studio space, and classes and workshops for both adults and kids, as well as a gallery and retail spot.

Area residents were giving back to those on the front lines. Some local citizens raised money to get gift cards/certificates so they can be given to the employees of the Blanchester Kroger. Kerry Stanforth, the project’s organizer, wanted to find a way to show appreciation to the 150 Kroger employees who she feels are overlooked.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_Blan-Kroger-June-4.jpgArea residents were giving back to those on the front lines. Some local citizens raised money to get gift cards/certificates so they can be given to the employees of the Blanchester Kroger. Kerry Stanforth, the project’s organizer, wanted to find a way to show appreciation to the 150 Kroger employees who she feels are overlooked.

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_Cape-May-June-12.jpg

A drone’s-eye view of a drive-in prayer vigil and candlelight service for Dr. Jeffrey Manser, the Wilmington pediatrician who was hospitalized with the coronavirus. (Photo by Ryan Powell.)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_manser-vigil-4.24-Ryan-Powell-photo.jpgA drone’s-eye view of a drive-in prayer vigil and candlelight service for Dr. Jeffrey Manser, the Wilmington pediatrician who was hospitalized with the coronavirus. (Photo by Ryan Powell.)

With Emma Marks, who provided the welcome, in the center, Wilmington College graduates moving their tassels from right to left — signifying their graduation — were speakers, clockwise from the top left: Vanessa Cheyann McKee, who represented main campus students; Warren Owens, Cincinnati Branch representative; Brandon Ford, who provided the welcome; and Kameron Rinehart, who introduced the keynote speaker.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_WC-grads-June-9.jpgWith Emma Marks, who provided the welcome, in the center, Wilmington College graduates moving their tassels from right to left — signifying their graduation — were speakers, clockwise from the top left: Vanessa Cheyann McKee, who represented main campus students; Warren Owens, Cincinnati Branch representative; Brandon Ford, who provided the welcome; and Kameron Rinehart, who introduced the keynote speaker.
April-June: COVID-19 kicks in

News Journal