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.
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    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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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.


“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.

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