Pickerington's longtime police chief leaving amid allegations, the sudden death of Violet Township's director of operations and another state championship for Pickerington High School Central's football team were among the community's top stories in 2019.

Here's a brief recap of the area's top five stories:

CHIEF TAYLOR RETIRES -- Mike Taylor, a Pickerington police officer since September 1983 and the city's police chief since January 2003, took a leave of absence Jan. 22 and informed city officials he would retire Feb. 19.

The shakeup came after then-City Manager Frank Wiseman confirmed Jan. 4 the city would launch an investigation into allegations made in an anonymous email that Taylor had made racist, sexist and homophobic comments in front of staff.

After Taylor agreed to exit, Wiseman called off the investigation and Pickerington police Cmdr. Tod Cheney was promoted to chief March 20.

COMMUNITY-CENTER LEVY REJECTED -- After months of pitching plans for a $46 million, 95,000-square-foot Violet Township community center on donated land at the southeast corner of Pickerington and Refugee Roads, a levy to fund the project crashed and burned at the ballot. Voters on May 7 rejected Issue 2 by a vote of 6,575 (82%) to 1,461 (18%).

Township officials said they had no plans to float another publicly-funded proposal.

JOHN EISEL DIES -- While vacationing with his wife, Lori, and other family members in Cumberland, Kentucky, Violet Township operations director John Eisel died. He was 55.

Eisel, a former township firefighter and chief, had served as the township's director of operations since July 2014.

BUTCHER NAMED CITY MANAGER -- During a special meeting Aug. 23, Pickerington City Council voted unanimously to hire longtime Violet Township engineer Greg Butcher as city manager.

Butcher, who was township engineer for 18 years, took over as city manager Sept. 30 after Frank Wiseman's retirement.

TIGERS TAKE THE TITLE -- For the second time in three years, the Pickerington Central football team won the Division I state championship.

The Tigers beat Cincinnati Elder 21-14 in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

Central, which finished 14-1, became the second big-school program from central Ohio to capture two state championships, joining Hilliard Davidson (2006 and 2009).

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