Stories of our time: Here's our best-read pieces of 2021

This was a year filled with hope and progress, change and persistence, optimism and disbelief. It was a year that embodied both collaborations and contradictions as we created a future that will be of our own making.

At NKY Thrives, we covered the stories that cast light on who we are, a region creating the future built on the foundation of the past. We kept our eyes on new ideas, new people, and the changing landscape we live in.

At the end of the year, before we march into the next, it’s a good time to pause and take a brief look back, not at the daily headlines, but the stories of community, neighborhoods, talent, and innovation that are defining us. These are our best-read stories of 2021:

#5. 'I’ve learned that it’s OK to slow down, take time, and take a breath.' Lessons from the pandemic

Teacher Meredith Hargis helped her students adapt to the new normal.The Covid-19 pandemic has changed us. Our behavior, attitudes, work lives, habits. It’s been costly in lives and health. But it’s also caused us to re-assess what’s important and to find new ways to cope with rapid and disquieting change. We discovered resources within us and in our communities that writer Nancy Daly revealed through a series of interviews.

Read the full story here.

#4. What will Airport 2.0 be like? It’s taking shape at CVG

Amazon and DHL both expanded at CVG in 2021.Amazon’s North American air hub officially opened at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in September, a $1.5 billion project that is expected to bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs to the region. That was the biggest news at CVG, but the airport, a driver of the region’s economy, continued growing as an epicenter of e-commerce, rebounded from the pandemic lull in passenger traffic, added new carriers, and conducted ground-breaking transportation research.

Read the full story here.

#3. As an era in public housing nears an end, what’s next for City Heights?

The City Heights complex was built in another era.Residents of City Heights, a 1950s-era public housing community, received word that the federal government had approved shuttering the complex, home to nearly 800 people. The process will take about three years, but comes at a time when the region is in the midst of a long-term shortage of affordable housing. It’s not clear where City Heights residents will be able to find new homes, and how that plays out could point the direction to the future of affordable housing in Northern Kentucky.

Read the full story here.

#2. Rage rooms, ax throwing and meditation: Stressful times demand new ways to blow off a little steam

Ax-throwing at Full Throttle in Florence. The pandemic has caused stress and anxiety to increase, as measured by mental health surveys. We took a look at some ways businesses are helping their employees cope with new realities and maintain their composure while doing it. There was ax throwing and go-kart races, but also quieter methods, like firing pottery and family camping, all meant to build community and camaraderie.   

Read the full story here.

#1. The Ohio River Recreation Trail promotes geotourism and economies in river cities in three states

The annual Paddlefest event is part of the Ohio River Recreation Trail effort. The Ohio River is common thread in the region’s identity and a key part of its local economies.   A coalition of outdoor enthusiasts and advocates for the environment, working with governments, businesses and economic development groups, have been working to promote the river, as well as the communities that border it, as sources of healthy recreation, tourism, and economic opportunity. They’ve created the Ohio River Recreation Trail, and plan to apply to the National Park Service for official designation as a National Recreation Trail in 2022.

Read the full story here. 

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.