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.

Herb Schaffner earns conservation award 2010.12.15

Written by David Green.

herb_schaffner.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

Grass waterways, erosion control structures, wetland restoration—Herb Schaffner has some of each on his Fulton County farmland.

His embrace of conservation techniques led to his award as the 2010 Cooperator of the Year by the Fulton Soil and Water Conservation District.

The award is presented annually to a Conservation District partner who puts the best variety of conservation measures into practice.

“Herb has been doing projects for a number of years,” said Pete Carr, a technician with the District office. “He was the first person to enroll in a CREP project with us. He got us off to a good start.”

That wetland restoration project got underway in 1996 and involved an 80-acre parcel of land near Bean Creek off “Dyke Road”—an area that’s often very wet.

CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program) is a voluntary land retirement program that helps protect sensitive land and decrease erosion.

“We qualified for the CREP program and seeded it and let it go,” he said. “It’s a 15-year contract and we’re paid every year to be in that program.”

2010 was the year of the grassed waterway on Schaffner’s land, 4,400 feet installed.

“Herb put in four grassed waterways this year and he’ll put in another one next spring,” Carr said.

There were some areas in Schaffner’s fields where water was washing through and forming gullies. By planting grass in the waterway, runoff flows down the grassy area rather than tear away soil.

Engineers from the District office determine the depth and width of a channel needed to handle anticipated flow from rainfall. Heavy equipment is typically brought in to shape a channel before the area is seeded sod-forming grasses.

“You need to trim them twice a year, on the average,” Schaffner said.

If it grows too tall, the flow will be impeded and start to form gullies on the edges, Schaffner said. Farmers are cautioned against using a waterway as a roadway and they’re told to lift implements out of the ground when crossing the grass.

“They need to be taken care of,” he said.

In addition to halting erosion, the vegetation acts as a filter and absorbs some of the chemicals and nutrients in the runoff water.

The project planned in the spring will repair a waterway constructed a few years ago, where more water than expected tore our the seeding and formed new gullies.

“Some areas need more than just a grass waterway,” Schaffner said.

Areas with a really heavy flow need an additional erosion control structure at the edge of the field. The concrete structures often have stone placed in the channel, also, to help hold soil in place.

Schaffner has installed five control structures.

“His projects turned out really nice,” Carr said, “and he was great to work with.”

All of the conservation techniques Schaffner uses are voluntary, but he sees the importance of them.

“It definitely preserves our land from being washed away like it can be,” he said.

BOOSTER—The 2010 Booster of the Year Award was presented to Ed and Carol Nofziger for their promotion of Conservation District programs.

CREP—The 2010 Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Award was presented to George Emmons who implemented a variety of conservation practices within the CREP program.

SERVICE—A six-year supervisor service award was presented to Curt Jones. Employee service awards were presented to Dan Bruner for 20 years of service and to Pete Carr for 25 years of service.

FFA—Soil Judging Award winners include the Fayette team (first place, urban) of Jon Boesger, Reba Rash and Chase Hookstadt.

Jon Boesger of Fayette placed second in the urban individual division.

OFFICERS—Curt Jones and Larry Short were elected to a three-year positions on the Conservation District Board of Supervisors beginning Jan. 1, 2011.

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