Vreba-Hoff hauls manure through Morenci 8.29

Written by David Green.

A lot of manure passed through Morenci over the weekend as Vreba-Hoff Dairy sent dozens of tanker loads to a storage lagoon east of town.

“Due to the high rains last week, the manure in some of the storage structures at Vreba-Hoff Dairy lagoons was near or above the freeboard elevations that are set as a safety level,” said dairy spokesperson Cecelia Conway.

Manure from both of the Vreba-Hoff dairies south of Hudson was removed, she said, to prevent an overflow. The 35-mile round trip journeys began Friday night and continued through Sunday.

Rachel Matthews of the Jackson DEQ office explained that the June 2007 interim order from the Michigan Attorney General’s office requires the dairy to transport manure to an off-site treatment facility to prevent manure from exceeding allowable “freeboard” levels—the distance from the manure to the top of the lagoon.

The Chesterfield Dairy on Fulton County Road 14 is included as a treatment facility, she said, and a statement of “no objection” was obtained from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

“The manure brought to Chesterfield Dairy will be treated either in the new treatment system about to start operation at Chesterfield Dairy or at a nearby composting facility licensed to accept manure,” Conway said.

Several audience members at the Morenci city council meeting Monday voiced concern about the manure tankers.

Steve Vernier of W. Main Street said he was driving into town and noticed the flashing orange lights coming up behind him. He made sure he was going a steady 30 miles an hour and watched to see if the tanker driver was doing the same.

“I about got run over,” he said. “He closed in fast and came to within about 10 feet of me.”

Vernier noted that the city fixed up Main Street a few years ago, but he fears it will get torn apart if heavy equipment traffic continues.

Concern was also expressed about safety Friday night when the tankers passed through town while the downtown lights were out due to storm damage.


  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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