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.

Ruth Marlatt presents block party plan 9.4

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Neighbors get together for a “block party,” discuss problems in their neighborhood, and take action to find a solution.

That’s the plan behind Fayette council member Ruth Marlatt’s idea that she calls “Project Pride.”

Marlatt, a former mayor of the community,  told council last week that she would like to see residents work together to improve the community.

“I feel that if people were given the opportunity to voice what they feel the needs of their neighborhood are, then the next logical step is working on a solution,” Marlatt said in her presentation. “If they can successfully discuss and work on a problem then they are taking positive ownership of the community once again. They are then also realizing the pride that they feel as homeowners in solving a problem.”

Marlatt’s idea is to divide the village into  areas, such as Irene Court, South Cherry, South Gorham, etc. One person in each area could serve as a leader and the host of a “block party” at a home or other location.

Invitations would be sent to people in each area and reminder phone calls would be made.

“The party would be a place to meet and listen to a few encouraging speakers talk about how to improve their area. The speaker would lead them in discussion of identifying the existing problems of their neighborhood,” Marlatt said.

The group could then list the major needs of the area and work on solutions. Discussion could also go beyond the neighborhood to include issues affecting the village as a whole.

She listed the lack of sidewalks available for school children as an example of a problem in a particular neighborhood. Needs are likely to vary from one neighborhood to another.

“If they have an interest and idea about a problem, then let’s hear it,” she said. “If they can think of some way to work through this problem, then great.

“If they have no interest in working on this and think that it is not important, then that is just as important to know.”

Marlatt suggested bringing in out-of-town judges to select the group that made the biggest impact. Residents in that area would receive a reward, such as a discounted price for sidewalk installation.

If the program were successful, she said, it could attract some media coverage from outside the area and perhaps get noticed by state officials. It might eventually lead to financial grants for additional projects.

Marlatt envisions meetings scheduled four times a year at the most. She said the process might serve as a good recruitment tool to bring some new faces into public service, and the process is likely to bring some community concerns to light that council members aren’t aware of.

Councilor Jerry Gonzales offered his support, but with a caution.

“I’m behind this, but I want to make sure it’s geared to the village and not to an individual,” he said.

It shouldn’t become a means for dictating how someone else should live.

Ken Delphous agreed that discussion at meetings shouldn’t initiate rules for a neighborhood, but he added that shame can serve as a good motivating factor.

Paul Shaffer suggested that a “pride box” could be used to collect concerns of a more personal nature rather than bringing them up at the meetings.

Marlatt suggested that a way to begin the meetings would be to ask people to finish the sentence: “If I could change or  fix one thing in the village, I would.…”

Then the discussion would be narrowed to the neighborhood where each gathering is located.

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