The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Work day set for Fayette running track 8.20

Written by David Green.


Fayette athletes from the mid-1970s and earlier will remember that the running track of the day didn’t resemble a perfect oval of a normal track.

It was closer to the shape of a ball field, recalls Leo Wixom who served as track and field coach for the school.

“It wasn’t much of a track,” he said.

There was a straight section following the first-base line to the outfield, then a curve around the outfield, then a straight-away back along third base, and a sharp curve in back of home plate.

It was a little difficult to run a 100-yard dash race when there was no 100-yard straight-away, he said.

In 1974, when Robert Nyce was president of the Fayette park board, a plan was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers office Bryan for the construction of new park facilities.

The Army Corps was consulted because the rerouting of Spring Creek was an important first step. At that time, recalls Dee Ferguson who was a park board member at the time, the creek veered farther to the north and plans called for a new channel directly east.

This would allow space for construction of a regulation quarter-mile running track. The master plan also included a new ball diamond, shelter house, picnic area, tennis courts and a soccer field inside the track.

Construction got underway in 1977 on the new six-lane track. It was excavated to a depth of six inches and filled with a fine gravel rather than the cinders used on many area tracks.

“It was a top-of-the-line track,” Wixom said. “Everybody really like it.”

The track served the school and community for a couple of decades until the varsity team stopped using it in the late 1990s. Flooding problems damaged a portion of the track and hard-surface tracks were becoming prevalent at many area schools.

“Before it started flooding in the southeast corner, we had some really good junior high invitationals,” Wixom said. “But once it flooded and washed out, we couldn’t get a good base established.”

The track is now used only for practices and no meets are scheduled in Fayette.

Former park board member Tom Spiess  recalls that when the Army Corps formed a new channel for the stream, riprap was place on the banks, but much of that has been covered with sediment through the years.

A five-inch rain in early July sent flood water onto the track once again and further damaged the southeast area.

Time for repair

Fayette mayor Anita Van Zile is leading an effort to repair the village-owned track.

“We need to get the track back into a condition that can be useful to the community and the track teams. The village has a responsibility to keep it in good shape.”

She’s set a work day on Sept. 6 and plans to line up specific tasks and equipment so volunteers can arrive and get a lot accomplished in a day.

She intends to remove encroaching grass and take the track back to its original 18-foot width. In addition, gravel needs to be brought in and raked onto certain areas and the flooding problem needs to be examined.

She knows that many people are looking forward to a new track at the new school, but the cost is prohibitive.

Leslie Fruchey of the Fayette Athletic Boosters said the group has a track fund, but only a small fraction of the estimated $250,000 to $300,000 cost is in the savings account.

The Boosters are working with the school to establish plans for athletic facilities. The goal is to establish new fields and a track in phases as funding are available. The state funds that paid for 80 percent of the new school cost cannot be used for athletic facilities.

“We need to take care of what we’ve got,” Van Zile said, knowing that new facilities aren’t going to be available soon.

She sees the track renovation effort as important to both school and community and she’s hoping to see representatives from both parties willing to help out Sept. 6.

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