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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.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.

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