Morenci now part of Ohio 1987.04.01

Written by David Green.

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By DAVID GREEN

The survey crews from the Ohio Department of the Interior should have given a clue that something was happening. Something was—and in a big way.

Shocking as it may seem, Morenci now lies within the boundaries of Ohio.

When asked about a possible appeal, city attorney Greg Grover replied, “No, it’s final. The boundary was established by the U.S. Congress.”

“The transfer of land described herein to the State of Ohio becomes effective Wednesday, April First,” said A. Pearl Foolse, a representative of the Michigan Attorney General’s office.

A border dispute between Michigan and Ohio (“The Toledo War”) was settled in 1836, explained Foolse, just prior to Michigan’s statehood, but it wasn’t until February of this year that a surveying error was discovered, invalidating the 150-year-old boundary.

By act of Congress in June 1836, Ohio received a strip of land seven miles wide at the Indiana border and 11 miles wide at the eastern border along Lake Erie, including Toledo. Michigan, in turn, was granted 9,000 square miles of land which now makes up the western portion of the Upper Peninsula.

An erroneous reading by surveyors incorrectly laid out Ohio’s northern border. The new boundary now runs along a line approximately 100 yards north of Mulberry Road.

The letter from the Attorney General’s office reads: “All territory located from 84° 8’ W (Hillsdale County’s western boundary) to Lake Erie, and from the current Michigan/Ohio boundary north to 41° 44’ N is duly transferred to the State of Ohio.”

A sophomore geography student at Ohio State University, Jesse Joe King, was credited with discovering the error in measurement, and the Ohio Department of State wasted little time in correcting the problem.

A letter from Gov. James Blanchard’s office expressed both dismay and sorrow at losing this southern portion of the state, especially during the sesquicentennial year, but remarked, “That’s the way the ball bounces.”

Included in a packet of information from the capitol building in Columbus was a reminder that personal property taxes are due April 30 and that the sales tax in Fulton County is currently six percent.

Preliminary assessments for cleaning of the Tiffin River (Bean Creek) will be mailed later in the month.

Morenci Mayor Ken Walker was one of the first to learn of the change, and the news didn’t sit too well at City Hall.

“As far as I’m concerned, the biggest thing Ohio has going for it is Harrison Lake,” stated Walker.

City attorney Grover expressed some concern about possible legal problems with the change, especially in property ownership.

“There may be some problems with land titles,” he surmised. “The records are all out of state now, I don’t know if they’ll recognize them in Ohio.”

Grover, a resident of Ohio, offered this encouragement to the new Buckeyes: “The roads ought to improve and taxes ought to be lower.”

He’ll speak to city council next week about Morenci joining the attempts to land the Northwest Ohio regional jail. “It’ll mean 160-200 jobs,” stated Grover.

Although no changes will be made in the telephone exchange, Morenci Postmaster Ruth Baird was puzzled over the city’s future zip code assignment.

All the numbers in 435 region are either in use or reserved for businesses, she explained, so it won’t be a simple matter of changing to 43556. She advised residents to continue using the old zip code until she receives notification from Washington.

Like everyone, the news took Superintendent of Schools Neal Singles by surprise.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I know we’re going to finish out the week—maybe the month—just as we have been.”

“If those in the know had any sense, they’d let us finish the school year as part of Michigan,” he said. “I’ve been calling Lansing all day and haven’t gotten anywhere. I suppose I should try Columbus.”

The prospects of splitting the district between Fayette and Evergreen didn’t appeal to Singles, and he’ll fight hard for keeping the district together as it is presently.

Athletic director Jim Gilmore has already contacted officials from the Northwest Ohio Athletic League (NWOAL) about admission to the conference.

A representative from Ohio Governor Richard Celeste’s Committee on Interstate Cooperation will set up a temporary office in City Hall next week to assist with the change. Counseling for distraught residents will be provided free of charge.

– April 1, 1987

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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