XENIA — Xenia had a lot happen in 2019.
The schools looked to the future, a township fire chief said goodbye, council members were told they couldn’t run and a basketball player was named the best.
Here are the top five stories as chosen by the staff of the Gazette.
1. Annexation still uncertain
The City of Xenia attempted to annex some land it owns in the township adjacent to Central State University with an eye on annexing CSU in the future. The county commissioners turned it down, but an appeals court issued a writ of mandamus, compelling the commissioners to approve the annexation.
However, the county commissioners voted to appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court. If the court votes to hear the case, it would likely be decided sometime in 2020.
2. Xenia hoops star receives top honor
Xenia High School senior Samari Curtis was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball for 2019, as determined by a distinguished panel of Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association and Associated Press media members.
Curtis led the Greater Western Ohio Conference in scoring three of his four years. During his senior season, Curtis finished with a 34.4 points per game scoring average. He also had the second-most assists in the GWOC with 5.8 per contest.
His 224 made free throws this season are unofficially the ninth most free throws made in Ohio High School Athletic Association boys basketball history. Curtis made more free throws than anyone else in the league had even attempted. His 514 career free throws made put him 13th on the OHSAA’s all-time list. He set the school record for points in a single game at 52 in a non-league home win on Feb. 5.
3. Candidates certification vacated
Incumbent city council members Mike Engle and Will Urschel thought they would appear on the November ballot to retain their seats. But a protest filed by a pair of residents claimed they did not have the proper number of signatures on their petitions.
The candidates argued they received erroneous information regarding the number of signatures they needed, but the four-member board of elections did not agree and voted to decertify the pair. That left three candidates on the ballot for four open spots and each were elected. One write-in was also elected.
4. Township fire chief retires
After 30 years, township Fire Chief Dean Fox retired.
According to a release from the township, Fox has served the township and its residents “24 hours a day, seven days a week for 30 years. There hasn’t been a major emergency event in the greater Xenia area in those 30 years that Chief Fox has not been an integral part. He has always shown steady leadership and professionalism.”
Greg Beegle was appointed as the interim chief.
5. Committee recommends new school building
After more than a year of discussions, a visioning committee made a recommendation on how the the Xenia Community School District Board of Education should handle the aging Warner Middle School building.
The committee decided that the district should replace Warner on its current site. No recommendation was made for the high school, which isn’t quite as old as Warner.
Based on the recommendation, the board approved a resolution of intent to participate in the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission Expedited Local Partnership Program as part of an application to put the district in the queue for potential reimbursement for any bond issues adopted for November 2020.
Just missed the cut
The owners of Alan Besco Car & Truck Superstore were told they couldn’t fly Annie the Eagle anymore as it violated the land development code. Sisters Stacy Sparks and Melanie Atley sought a variance to continue to fly the inflatable bird, but it was denied. Supporters packed a council meeting and ultimately the city made a text amendment to the code, and Annie was able to fly again.
After 12 years on the bench, Xenia Municipal Court Judge Michael Murry retired. A private practice attorney for years, the Greene County native decided to run to be a judge to help make a difference in people’s lives.
Xenia native and long-time gospel radio host Roger Shambaugh died at age 80. He was remembered as a fixture in the community, branded by his jokes and his desire to help out anybody in need.
After much anticipation, the new Xenia YMCA opened up in the new REACH Center and had an all-time high number of members. The Xenia Adult Recreation and Service Center also relocated to the new building on Progress Drive.
Benner Field House reopened to rave reviews and held several basketball games to kick off the new season. The board of education invested some money into refurbishing the outside, while the Doug Adams Trust kicked in some cash to help refinish the floor.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.