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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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Fayette village council 12.17.08

Written by David Green.


With projected revenues running lower than expected and the prospect of reductions in state support, Fayette village council members developed a list of proposed cuts to trim about $43,000 from the budget.fayette.cuts.chart.jpg

If council members accept the proposal at the Dec. 23 meeting—rescheduled from the regular Thursday date—residents will no longer have leaf and brush pickup, and police coverage will be reduced.

“Everybody is on board in recognizing that we’re in bad economic times,” mayor Anita Van Zile said. “We don’t know what lies ahead, but it’s likely that things will get worse.”

The proposed savings will cover the current shortfall developing due to a reduction in withholding tax revenue, she said, and will give the village additional funds to carry into the new year.

Income tax revenue continues to run about $23,500 below the projected level for the current year.

Council members agreed to take a 50 percent reduction in their salary—from $40 a meeting down to $20—for a savings of $3,000. Similarly, the mayor’s pay would be cut by 80 percent for a savings of $2,000.

Eliminating leaf and brush collection would trim $11,240 from the budget and council aims to save an additional $5,000 by eliminating overtime hours for village workers.

Mayor Van Zile isn’t sure how that might work in light of unexpected emergencies such as the need to clear roads after a heavy snow. The welfare of taxpayers needs to be addressed, she said.

Council members have discussed the possibility of using compensatory time to balance out workers’ hours. They’re also exploring the use of private contractors for certain services such as water main breaks.

Dee Ferguson’s job as records clerk—plying through old village records in an effort to update old information following the death of Phil McKinney—will be cut from two days a week to one.

That isn’t exactly a savings, Van Zile said, since the work needs to be done eventually, but it will improve the village’s cash flow.

Village hall employees will clean the facility themselves rather than hire someone to do the work, and fewer part-time police officers  will be used.

Finally, council proposes to cut the amount of salt used in water softening by one-half to save $2,500.

On the revenue side, council proposes to charge the sewer and water enhancement fee on every unit of a multi-dwelling structure. Currently, the fee is charged only to an apartment building rather than to each unit within the building. That change would bring in an additional $5,400 to the water and sewer fund.

“We’re trying to be fiscally responsible and save where we can,” Van Zile.

PLOWING—Council took action to cancel all contracts, both written and verbal, for the removal of snow from private property. One contract dated from the 1970s.

The move will cut back on hours and salt use, and allow someone else in town to earn some money by providing the service.

Examples include the post office parking lot and the village green parking lot.

INSURANCE—Council learned the village will save $3,500 in insurance costs in the next year through various changes, including the closure of the pool and selling the Reo fire truck.

NYCE DRIVE—Council heard the first reading of a proposal to change the name of Railroad Street to Nyce Drive. The change would take effect Jan. 1, 2010, said village administrator Amy Metz, and next year both the old and new names would be posted on street signs.

VALUES—Council learned that a notice from county auditor Nancy Yackee pointed out that property values have decreased about $2 million in the village since the last valuation was done.

OHIO EPA—Three Fayette representatives joined those from other parts of the county to discuss issues with an aide to Sen. George Voinovich. One of the main topics was the Ohio EPA.

Councilor Jerry Gonzales said a statement was made by one of the people in attendance that the EPA tends to focus almost entirely on environmental concerns, ignoring the social and economic factors of issues, as it is also charged to do.

Small communities don’t have the funds to comply with regulations, Gonzales said, and he suggested a large reduction in the EPA budget to reduce the agency’s reach.

Metz added that concern was expressed about the likelihood of changes in mandates with the new administration soon coming into office.

There’s a reluctance to spend money on the long term control plan for sewage treatment knowing that regulations might change before the project is completed.

“We need good policy that we can adhere to,” she said.

Gonzales suggested that communities should be allowed to take care of their own problems without outside interference.

CLOSED—Council met in a closed session to discuss possible litigation, but no action was taken.

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