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.

Morenci schools gets good audit report 10.17

Written by David Green.

The overall opinion from auditor Phil Rubley is that the Morenci school district is in pretty good shape.

“Your report card is good,” Rubley said, as he presented the annual audit at Monday night’s board of education meeting.

The original budget adopted by the board for the 2006-07 school year showed a deficit of $394,400. A cost savings of more than $300,000 came from cuts approved by the board, including administrative reductions, administrators  serving in dual roles, pay freezes, insurance concessions from administration and support staff, leaves of absence and budget line items being reduced or eliminated.

A huge factor in the cost savings, said Erica Metcalf, finance director, was that the district was fully funded from the amount promised by the state.

The actual budget deficit stood at $87,466 from Rubley’s audit, covering the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007.

“This is very, very good,” said Rubley. “You adhered to the budget very closely. You kept it in line. What you’ve done is bought time.”

The food service added $14,999 to its fund, increasing its balance to $123,374, which Rubley says is excellent for a food service operation.

The athletic fund shows a negative change of $4,558, bringing the fund balance to $15,917. Rubley explained that this kind of change is normal.

“But you’re still in pretty good shape,” he said.

Rubley gave the audit an “unqualified” opinion, which means the figures are presented fairly in all material respects and that they comply with general accounting practices and auditing standards.

“This is the highest opinion I can render,” he said. “Your accounting records are very good. You should be commended for that.”

Rubley cautioned the board about the district’s future finances.

“There are some things you’ll have to change down the road,” he said.

The projected deficit for the current year was budgeted at $150,000. If that shortfall were to continue, the $805,000 fund equity would disappear in a few years.

But if the cuts hadn’t been made, he noted that all savings would have disappeared in just a couple of years.

It’s odd to call a deficit budget a good report, Rubley said Tuesday, but that’s an indication of state of school financing in Michigan.

“I was pleased with the audit,” he said. “They’re holding their position really well.

 

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