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.

Insulated sidewalk = less shoveling? 2010.11.24

Written by David Green.

sidewalk.1.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

Let it snow.

You might get Bronson and Nichole DiCenso to say that this winter, because they hope to be doing a lot less of something that the rest of us will face.

With their new sidewalk on East Street North, they expect much less snow shoveling  this winter.

The new walk comes courtesy of Vance Jacobs of Jacobs Plastics and Frontier Insulation. Jacobs has overseen the installation of insulated driveways since the mid-1990s, but he’s never tried an insulated sidewalk before.

Most insulated driveways include piping for warm water to flow through, Jacobs said, but the sidewalk has nothing but a layer of three-eighths inch insulation below the concrete. Sunshine will warm the concrete and hasten melting.

Jacobs said he arranged for the free installation so the walk can serve as a display for his product—providing it works as he expects.

The DiCenso property is just half a block from Frontier Insulation (the former Roth Fabricating site) and Jacobs expects to be glancing down East Street this winter to see how the insulated walk fares.

The insulating material is similar to the Styrofoam used for drinking cups, Jacobs said. When he began manufacturing the insulation panels, he used new foam. His operation now could be seen as a recycling process that converts scrap material into a new product.

A semi-truck load a day arrives at Jacobs Plastics in Adrian, loaded with scrap foam from other manufacturing processes in the Grand Rapids area.

Jacobs feeds the scrap into a unit that  fuses it into long sheets measuring four-foot wide in three thicknesses—three-eighths inch, three-fourths inch and inch and a half.

The thinnest insulation is adequate for sidewalks; thicker strips are generally used in applications such as floors that use radiant heat.

The foam is wrapped in a thin film and that’s all it takes to strengthen the insulation enough for workers to walk on it before concrete is poured.

With the foam underneath, the concrete must dry upward through the top, but this process creates concrete that’s found to be about 30 percent stronger.

The insulation also retards the break-up of concrete by preventing the moist soil underneath from expanding through freezing, Jacobs said.

Jacobs has 40 years of experience working with plastics. He says he retired once, but couldn’t stand not working so he’s happy to be busy again.

And busy he is. His brother runs the Adrian plant while Vance is in charge in Morenci. There’s also a facility in Indiana, and there are a couple of other projects that he’s investigating.

The Roth building was just what he was looking for two years ago when he wanted a place to produce laminated Styrofoam SIP panels—structural insulated panels.

They’re generally used in new house construction for insulating walls. Most of his product ends up in Colorado.

The foam arrives in Morenci in large blocks where it’s cut by hot wire into the needed sizes.

Frontier Insulating also produces a foam sheet that’s laminated on only one side for use in cathedral ceilings where there’s no attic space.

The board is covered with OSB (oriented strand board) on one side and the other side goes up against the shingles. Jacobs has received reports of excellent energy savings from the insulation.

Forty years working with plastics makes Jacobs a sought-after person when special requests come up.

“Architects know if they want to do something special, they call me,” he said.

He hopes to receive a call from the DiCenso family this winter telling him their snow shovel isn’t getting much use.

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