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.

Habitat Success: Nancy Alamia is first to pay off mortgage 2001.08.18

Written by David Green.

nancy_house.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

There’s a very special event planned in Morenci later this month, said Lenawee Habitat for Humanity executive director Bob Dister, and it’s significant in more ways than one.

For Bob, it’s a series of firsts.

At a mortgage burning ceremony Aug. 29, Nancy Alamia will become the first Habitat home owner in Lenawee County to pay off her home mortgage.

Going backward to the groundbreaking in 1996, the Alamia home was the first Habitat project in Morenci and it was Bob’s first involvement with the group, where he worked as a volunteer helping organize the project.

Now, 13 and a half years later, Bob is serving as the director of Habitat and the mortgage burning marks the county’s first completed project, with a Habitat family in full possession of the home.

“In 21 years of Lenawee Habitat for Humanity,” Bob said, “this is the first one to pay off a mortgage.”

Lenawee’s group has built 35 new homes and rehabilitated two homes, leading to home ownership for 67 adults and 149 children.

Bob remembers a conversation with Rev. Evans Bentley who asked about getting affordable housing in the city. Contact was made with Harvey Souder who suggested Habitat.

The ball started rolling.

Bob organized the first Labor Day Bridge Walk over Silver Creek, and for the first two years, the event raised funds for a Habitat project.

A notice was published in the Observer, seeking people interested in obtaining a home. Bob, the owner of Little People’s Place child care center, mentioned it to Nancy Alamia one day when she came to pick up her boys from child care. As a renter, she liked the idea of home ownership and she was chosen as the community’s first Habitat family.

The project soon became a community-wide effort.

Bob organized the project and V.C. “Tom” Valentine stepped in as construction supervisor. When Bob’s sister was hospitalized with an illness, Rev. Bruce Banks stepped in to fill the gap.

The Alamias moved in on a February day in 1997. Thirteen years later, the house is theirs.

Grateful

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Nancy said about the end of mortgage payments. “It probably will at the burning.”

Since moving in, she’s planted trees and added flower beds.nancy_close.jpg

“I bought a gas fireplace as a treat to myself three years ago.”

With mortgage payments out of the way, she’s thinking of expanding her deck. She would really like to buy some of the adjoining property for construction of a garage.

Nancy was surprised to hear that she’s the first to finish up payments—she even finished a little early—but Bob explained that not everyone is able to make payments as diligently as Nancy. In some cases, there’s been a change in life circumstances and people have moved away.

Nancy was able to stay in place, right where she wanted to be.

“I’m grateful for all the support I received,” she said. “I hope everybody sees it as a positive program. I always wanted to maintain a positive image of the home. It gives you a little more to work to work for with ownership, compared to renting. It also gave me some personal growth.”

She’s reminded of the generosity of others every time she heads into the crawl space to change furnace filters. It’s there that she sees a two by four with the signatures of elementary school students.

A small structure was built and taken to the school as a fund-raiser, she remembers. Kids dropped change into a container and autographed the wood. The boards were later used in the construction of her home. None are visible except for that one board by the furnace.

“A quarter, a dime—a little bit of effort from so many people,” Nancy said. “I wonder if people realize that such a small part of their lives can make a big part of someone else’s life.”

They probably don’t think that “I gave a quarter and look what it’s become now,” she said.

Nancy knows. She represents the closure of Lenawee’s first Habitat success story—successful from start to finish.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016