Pickerington and Violet Township residents greeted new faces and events and said goodbye a dear old friend in 2017. Here is a brief recap of the top five stories in the community this year, in no particular order.

Briggs is the boss -- With a need to find its eighth superintendent in the past 20 years, the Pickerington Local School District Board of Education announced May 25 it would hire Chris Briggs to lead the district.

Briggs' selection came after Valerie Browning-Thompson, superintendent since August 2014, announced in April that she planned to retire at the end of the 2016-17.

Picktown Palooza premiere -- Pickerington-area residents were disappointed the Violet Festival, a midsummer staple for 18 years, was canceled in February but were excited to learn the Picktown Palooza might fill the void. Mother nature, however threw a damper on the party -- literally. Torrential rains caused historic flash floods and washed out the festival for the first two days.

Building a bridge -- Pickerington's Sycamore Creek Park Covered Bridge and Arboretum, closed to the public for 18 months while the span over the creek received essential repairs finally reopened in June. The historic and iconic landmark was built in 1906 and moved to Sycamore Creek Park 80 years later. Structural deterioration led city officials to shut it down in 2016.

Tigers take the title -- After several strong teams nearly reached the apex of the state-football-title mountain in recent years, the Pickerington Central Tigers finished 2017 as the Division I state champions. The tigers roared to a 56-28 victory over Mentor on Dec. 1 to earn the Tigers' first state title and capping a 14-1 season. [PHOTO GALLERY]

Losing a legend -- The Pickerington community in the spring mourned Mike Sewell, who taught in Pickerington from 1981-2015 and took the Pickerington High School and Pickerington High School Central marching bands to new heights. Sewell died in his home after a heart-related incident April 15. According to his wife, Karen Sewell, the longtime band director died peacefully after taking in one final performance.