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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • 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.
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    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.
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St. Vincent de Paul to expand in Fayette 09.17.2007

Written by David Green.


Fayette’s St. Vincent de Paul store is about to expand. Anticipating the new addition brings to mind the past for Betty Monahan, who has been a part of the store since the beginning.

She recalls back in 1977 when the charitable organization first set up shop in the second floor of the Fayette village hall downtown.

“There were 23 steps up and 23 steps down,” Betty recalls. “It became too dangerous for older people, so Phil started looking around for an empty building.”

That’s Phil Monahan, her husband, who went into the former Clemenson’s  lumberyard one day, near the fire station.

“Marshall Clemenson said to Phil, ‘We’ve been looking for you. Where have you beestvdepaul.jpgn?’” Betty said.

It was settled. The store had found a new home in a building in the back of the lumberyard.

In those days, St. Vincent in Fayette mostly handled government surplus items, such as butter and cheese. A store with clothing and toys came later.

The lumberyard building was unheated, but the suffering there eventually worked to the local group’s benefit.

“We wore our snow boots and froze our fingers,” Betty said. “One day the head of St. Vincent in Toledo was visiting and Phil took him over to the building. The guy put his pop down and before long it was frozen.”

The visitor knew a change was needed. They soon moved into the house east of R&H Restaurant, before it was fixed up for residency as it is now.

“There were woodchucks in the basement and coons upstairs,” Betty recalls. “We had the middle floor.”

In 1990, the existing structure was built in back of Our Lady of Mercy church, and within two weeks, that building will grow with a new area designated for toys.

Good works

“We do a lot of good,” Betty said. “Some people tell us they wouldn’t have had Christmas without us.”

Christmas is the big season for Fayette’s St. Vincent de Paul store. During a three-week period, people from 35 surrounding communities visit to “shop” for gifts. About 1,500 children were helped by the group last year.

One week is scheduled for parents to select toys—at no cost, of course—then comes a week for grandparents. For the third week, the general public is invited in to find gifts.

During the remainder of the year, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Thursday.

There are a dozen or so volunteers who keep the store going, Betty said. They sort through items and place them in the appropriate location in the store.

“They keep us busy,” she said about the generous people who bring in donations. “They come from all over, especially right now when the garage sales are over with. What they don’t sell they bring to us.”

Most of the toys and clothing are good, used items, but occasionally new things are brought in. In addition, the Boy Scout troop collects food for the pantry.

The new addition will alleviate the need for the Monahans to store toys in their hen house south of Hudson.

“We get toys from St. Vincent in Toledo, but we get a lot of donations from this area,” Betty said. “It’s amazing.

“When it gets close to Christmas, they really come in. They dump their toy boxes. People sure are good to us.”

Local gardeners also bring in produce to give away in the summer.

The store handles some furniture, but it’s not a priority.

“We’re getting up there in age,” Betty said about the volunteers running the store. “We don’t really want to move furniture.”

In 30 years of working at the store, she and other volunteers have had the pleasure of helping many people in need.

“We’ve had a lot of experiences and a lot of good times,” Betty said.

• The St. Vincent de Paul Society started in 1833 in France. The first unit was established in the United States in 1845.

The goal of the international society is to relieve poverty, suffering and loneliness.

More than 4,300 units exist in the United States and an estimated 12 million Americans receive aid each year.

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