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.

Settlement reached in Jeanie Thompson lawsuit 3.19

Written by David Green.

A settlement was accepted by both sides to end the dispute over the lay-off of former Morenci Elementary School principal Jeanie Thompson.

Although no judgment was made against the Morenci Board of Education and superintendent Kyle Griffith in relation to a lawsuit filed by Thompson, a case evaluation team awarded her a financial settlement of $45,000 to bring the issue to a close. A third of that cost will paid by the school’s insurance company.

Thompson filed suit in January 2007, seeking $83,602 in lost salary for breach of contract, plus the loss of benefits she would have received.

Three other counts—charges of acting fraudulently, emotional distress and loss of consortium in the marriage—were dismissed by Lenawee County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Pickard.

Judge Pickard held onto the breach of contract complaint, but his decision wasn’t based on the charges filed in the lawsuit. Instead, he told attorneys that Thompson failed to receive adequate compensation (lack of consideration) for accepting the terms of a new contract signed in April 2006.

The new contract allowed for the layoff of any administrator after a 30-day notice. She and maintenance supervisor Dan Miller were laid off three months later as the district attempted to trim spending from a projected $300,000 deficit.

Judge Pickard said that school districts typically offer administrators two-year contracts that are renewed annually. He said the new contract benefitted the school district, but offered administrators no compensation for what they gave up.

Judge Pickard suggested resolving the case by negotiating a cash settlement and the matter was referred to a team of lawyers for case evaluation.

Under Michigan court rules, said school attorney Bill Vogelzang, case evaluation is used in civil cases when one party is seeking financial damages. Typically, three attorneys are asked to review statements from both sides and come up with a settlement acceptable to each party—generally a compromise to what was originally sought....

 

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