The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Lake Erie: Phosphorus runoff still a problem 2012.05.09

Written by David Green.

Elected officials from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana met with federal agriculture and environmental officials last month to announce a new program aimed at reducing the amount of phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie.

The goal of the new initiative is to increase conservation practices on agricultural land that will lead to a decrease in runoff from fields. 

Farmers are encouraged to place fertilizer and manure below the soil surface, to plant buffers and filter strips along streams and ditches and to avoid the over-application of manure when phosphorus levels are already high.

The toxic organic sludge from blue-green algae has been a problem in the Western Lake Erie Basin for years, leading to a “dead zone” in the lake’s central basin where fish can’t live.

Agricultural runoff isn’t the only problem. Municipal sewage systems and yard fertilizer also contribute phosphorus to feed the algae, but it’s agricultural waste that’s at issue in the recent conservation measure.

Money is available for conservation efforts, but in some cases that’s not enough. We were recently informed by a resident who lives near Lake Hudson State Recreation Area that liquid manure is applied on hills that lead down to the water. A heavy application followed by rain sends additional phosphorus on a trip to Lake Erie.

Even though the Southern Michigan Dairies between Hudson and Morenci are now out of business, there are still millions of gallons of liquid waste in lagoons. Manure is being pumped to distant fields through long “draglines.”

Members of a local environment group observed draglines placed across Bean Creek and across a tributary last week. They later saw that an unattended line broke open and manure was observed in Toad Creek—a tributary to the Bean.

No matter how much federal money is available for good conservation efforts, it’s not going to do the job until some farming practices change. Lake Erie recovery isn’t likely with liquid manure still washing into streams.

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