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.

Lake Hudson: Some land to be leased

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Decades ago, when Lake Hudson State Recreation Area was still private property, much of the land was used for agriculture.

A portion of what’s now state land will return to agriculture next year through a new lease program.

lake-hudson-storyPark supervisor Tim Bauer advertised last month to gauge interest in the program and he was encouraged by the response. He plans to move forward and seek bids for the next planting season.

Just under 500 of the park’s 2,900 acres will be leased. Acreage is located in three parcels—one located off Lawrence Road, one off Posey Lake Highway and the third off Tomer Road.

The successful bidder could lease all three properties or only one. Bids will be opened at

the Department of Natural Resources office in Roscommon.

Bauer cites two reasons for the program. The obvious one, he said, is to bring in needed revenue for the state park system. Each park unit in the state faces a challenge to bring in new revenue and this was Bauer’s answer. To his knowledge, this is the first agricultural lease program established.

For years a sharecropper program has operated at Lake Hudson in which, for example, a farmer plants 20 acres of corn and leaves two acres standing for wildlife.

The new program is completely different, Bauer said. Renters may plant whatever they want and harvest it all.

There is an important stipulation, however, and that leads to the second benefit for the park.

“Part of the bid package is that they will have to maintain food plots [for wildlife],” Bauer said.

Free seed from the National Wild Turkey Federation—including sunflowers and sorghum—must be planted along field edges at the width of one grain drill. The bid details will be specific about where the wildlife strips must be located.

“This will be an enhancement for hunting and wildlife activities,” he said.

Bauer said leases will be signed for a five-year period, with two one-year extensions possible. He was told the land would be very good for forage crops and could be of interest to area dairy farms.

Morenci city council recently leased undeveloped land in the industrial park for more than $100 an acre.

Bauer said he wouldn’t be surprised to hear of complaints about the program. Any time there’s a change it won’t sit right with everyone, he said. From his perspective, the move will be a plus for wildlife, both game and otherwise.

Unique place

Bauer has worked at several parks in his career, but he’s developed a special liking for Lake Hudson.

“It’s really a lot different than other parks,” he said. “It has a lot of unique features.”

The on-going muskie brood lake project, the lake level control structure, rustic campsites, the night sky preserve, the uncrowded conditions—those are a few of Lake Hudson’s aspects that quickly come to his mind.

“Sometimes you like to see a place that’s quieter and more serene,” he said. “Lake Hudson is a cool park.”

Bauer mentioned a study by the National Wildlife Federation that found Americans too disconnected with the outdoors. People just aren’t getting enough contact with the natural world, he said.

Lake Hudson, with its grasslands, woods, trails, lake and night sky, could be just the answer.

As undeveloped areas continue to shrink, preserved land can only become more important, Bauer said. The likelihood of new parks coming into existence also gets smaller.

“In time, these properties’ worth will become absolutely immeasurable,” he said.

  - Oct. 4, 2006

 

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