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

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Jeffrey Vereecke to lead Bank of Lenawee offices 2007.12.19

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Adrian isn’t quite home for Morenci native Jeff Vereecke, but it’s getting close. When he takes charge of the Bank of Lenawee’s nine offices next year, he’ll have the feeling that he’s coming home.

With the October acquisition of the Bank of Lenawee’s holdings by First Federal, Vereecke was promoted from executive vice president of First Federal’s retail banking to president of the bank’s Northern Market.

“I’ll be putting a lot of miles on,” Vereecke said about the territory soon to be within hisjeff_vereecke.grey.jpg oversight.

In addition to the Bank of Lenawee offices in Adrian, First Federal will assume  ownership of offices in Tecumseh, Hudson, Morenci and Hillsdale. First Federal offices in Montpelier, Bryan and Wauseon, Ohio, are also part of the Northern Market. The Bank of Lenawee Waldron office will be closed when First Federal takes over in March.

Vereecke has made a career out of working with First Federal. Not long after earning a finance degree from Grand Valley State University, he took a job in the banking company’s credit department in 1984.

After 10 years in the lending department, he was promoted to senior vice president and chief lending officer. In 1998 he was promoted to executive vice president of retail banking.

“I’ve spent 23 years with First Federal,” Vereecke noted, “half of my life.”

Vereecke is the only First Federal employee from the main office heading north through the acquisition. He said Bank of Lenawee clients should expect the same customer service as before, along with some new products such as wealth management, insurance and investment options.

At the Morenci office, Sue Bachman will be returning from Adrian to serve as assistant manager of customer service.

“We’re glad to have her back in Morenci,” Vereecke.

Overall, he said, the biggest change customers should see is a new First Federal sign that will be erected for the March changeover.

At that time, First Federal will have 34 offices ranging from Tecumseh in the north to Lima in the south, and from Toledo west to Ft. Wayne.

“I am excited about returning to the Adrian area and working with the Bank of Lenawee staff as we prepare to integrate the Bank of Lenawee into the First Federal Bank network,” Vereecke stated in a press release. “I am impressed with the commitment to customer service the staff exhibits, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of local decision-making and community involvement that Bank of Lenawee has established in the region.”

Rick DeVries, current president and CEO of the Bank of Lenawee stated, “I am personally very pleased with Jeff's appointment as president of this market. He has strong ties to the area, and the background and experience to guide the bank into the next phase of development.  I am convinced that Jeff’s leadership and commitment to true community banking will be beneficial to customers, employees and shareholders of the bank.”

Vereecke and wife, Karen (Deatrick), are the parents of seven children ranging in age from two to 22. The family will relocate in the Adrian area.

 

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