Best of Columbus 2019: Editors' Picks for Around Town

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Cody Vickers' viral moon shot

Literary Late Bloomer

It took her 63 years to write it, but Delana Jensen Close finally published her first novel in 2018—at age 95. The resident of Dublin Retirement Village, a Utah native, says her 806-page historical romance,“Rock House,” about a woman shaped by the trauma of giving up her illegitimate child, sprang from notes scribbled in odd moments throughout a life that included a WWII-era job making howitzers and, later, raising children and working in Central Ohio restaurants. “I always had it in my head,” she told The Columbus Dispatch.

Erotic Arrest

Franklin County Sheriff's deputies and viewers of A&E's Live PD program got more than they bargained for when the TV crew broadcast from a Central Ohio home as the police served a warrant on a 23-year-old woman. They eventually found her hiding under a staircase, and during her arrest, loud porn began blaring from her TV, to the surprise of officers and a nationwide audience.

Grassroots Rainbow Rebellion

When organizers of the first-ever Newark Pride celebration asked Licking County commissioners to light the county courthouse in rainbow colors for the event, using the building's new LED exterior lights, the request was rejected; Newark Gay Pride Day, officials said, was not one of 19 county-approved holidays and observances (which include three health awareness days and the Spring Equinox). So community members rainbowed it themselves, using gel-covered flashlights.

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Bible-Holder, Democratic Edition

The most surprising Statehouse photo op of the past year occurred in early January, when Rep. David Leland, a former chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, held the Bible for Larry Householder as the conservative Perry County Republican was sworn in as the new speaker of the Ohio House. Leland played a key role in rallying support for Householder among Democrats amid a contentious leadership battle. “As our Ohio motto says, ‘With God all things are possible,'” Leland tweeted after the ceremony.

Bible-Holder, Republican Edition

Fran DeWine proved her fortitude on the first day of her husband's gubernatorial term. In an early morning Jan. 14 ceremony at their Cedarville home, Mike DeWine was sworn in as the state's 62nd governor with his hand on a towering stack of nine family Bibles held by his wife. For the sake of future first spouses—and their backs—let's hope this doesn't become a tradition.

Moon Shot

Cody Vickers might have taken the perfect viral photo. Last August, the Circleville resident was on a street repair construction site in the Clintonville area when a crew hit an unmarked water main, interrupting the shower of an East Arcadia Avenue resident. After yelling at workers from his front porch, the naked man dropped the towel around his waist and finished his shower in the spray coming from a hole in the street. Vickers captured the moment with his cellphone, and the resulting image—a flawlessly framed mix of bare butt, gushing water, heavy machinery and amused construction workers—took off on Facebook, spawning more than 25,000 comments, 191,000 shares and a TV news feeding frenzy.

T-Shirt Trash Talk

The competition was fierce at last summer's State Senior Olympics table tennis tournament, held at Spin & Smash Table Tennis and Ping Pong Center in Hilliard, but the best apparel by far was worn by a stoop-shouldered woman with short white hair. She shouted a triumphant “Yah!” as she smacked a ping pong ball over the net, then gave her partner a blistering high-five. On the back of her shirt: “If you want a soft serve, go to Dairy Queen.” Indeed.


The “Columbus Love” mural began popping up in social media feeds as soon as it was completed in the spring of 2018 (search #cbuslovemural). Located near East Main Street and Fourth Avenue, the mural was designed by Alex Haldi and produced by Nick Kinney and Brett Dugan. By day the black and white mural reads “COLUMBUS.” By night it reads “LOVE,” thanks to the addition of strategically placed LED lights.

Unexpected Learning Opportunity

Evolved Body Art, 2520 Summit St. in Old North Columbus, features a fascinating exhibit about body modification around the world for customers to view while they wait to get inked or pierced. Store owner Nick Wolak has traveled to more than 50 countries to visit studios, do guest spots and participate in body modification rituals and ceremonies. He started in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1995 and has been in the industry ever since. His display includes photos, textiles, jewelry, statues and other artifacts.

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1986: Cleaners

“Pierce Brothers, 5205 N. High St. They still pick up and deliver, but it's better to go yourself so you can read the sayings on their sign.”