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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Chronicling the events of 2020 and many previous years

Many local restaurants offered takeout during the pandemic including uptown’s Brother’s Pizza. Ianthe Privitera, Alexis Tomasello, Mario Velazquez, Julio Solis, Alfredo Barbarano and the late owner of Brother’s Pizza George Scotto di Vetta. This photo was published on March 25. Read the Year in Review in this week's Gazette. (THG/Joseph F. Berenato. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

One of my personal privileges as a writer has been the annual chronicling of the significant local news events of each year in The Gazette that is published on the last week in December. That edition happens to be the one you are reading right now. If you go to page 27, you’ll see “2020: The Year In Review,” the latest in our series of annual “Year In Review” special supplements that started in The Gazette more than two decades ago.

While 2020 may be one of the most challenging years this newspaper—and everyone who reads it—has ever seen, each year has presented itself with unique news, some of it good, some of it not.

I enjoy putting together this article each year because it gives me a chance to look back at what happened through the prism of what’s occurred since the articles were originally written. When I can, I update the story so people reading it at the end of the year have more context. Much of what is written is based on the reporting of myself, Gazette Editor-in-Chief Gina Rullo and Gazette staff writers Joseph F. Berenato and Kristin Guglietti.

When reading this week’s “Year In Review” keep in mind that it is the product of many hours of reporting and writing by Gazette staffers. Our staffers watch government meetings and attend events so readers can benefit from their first-hand accounts. There is a huge value to having people who are paid to listen and then report on what government bodies and elected officials are doing. This week shows the breadth and the scope of that reporting by cataloguing a year’s worth of it. Gazette readers are among the most informed about their local government because they can always read what’s happening, each week.

As I selected the news articles that became the content of the “Year In Review” I marveled at how much more there was to write about in 2020. It seemed at one point in my selection process that there was so much news, every week of the year could have been represented. Not everything could make it into the paper due to space availability, however. I apologize for any glaring omissions.

Despite the downbeat nature of looking back at a year that dealt primarily with a pandemic and its restrictions, there were still stories we covered that made me smile when I came across them while researching the article. At the same time, there were articles that made me shake my head with sadness, particularly the ones regarding some of the people who died in 2020.

Looking back at previous editions of the special supplement that looks back at the significant moments of each year, there have been events that stand out, even across the decades.

One event in particular—from the first day of 2011—always stands out for me.

“January 1: Frank G. Donio, the retired president of Frank Donio Inc., Donio Trucking Company and Donio Leasing Company, who later in life started a second career in the motel business in Wildwood, died on January 1 at Virtua Hospital in Berlin. Donio was 72.”

I wrote those words a decade ago, and when I read them now, almost exactly 10 years after my father’s death, it’s still hard to believe it.

“Don’t Quit!” My father often shared this phrase’s (and attendant poem’s) wisdom with people. Persistence was one of his best traits, one I’ve always tried to emulate.

I can only hope I have made him proud.

The clock is almost at 2021—it seemed like a great sign of persistence when people wished me a “Happy New Year” earlier this week. I wish the same for you and yours.

Gabe Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.


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