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.

Bean Creek watershed council; county drain status?

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The future of Bean Creek might be determined by citizens with an interest in how to best preserve the river flowing down the west side of Lenawee County into Ohio.

Or, on the other hand, decisions could be made by the Lenawee County Drain Commission.

The Lenawee Conservation District office received a $10,000 grant from Maumee Valley Resource Conservation and Development—a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture formed to improve the economy and environment of a 10-county section of Northwest Ohio.

The grant provides funds to encourage the organization of local watershed partnerships among various groups and individuals with an interest in Bean Creek. It will also cover the cost of a survey and printed materials.

The Lenawee Conservation District will determine concerns and consider the formation of a watershed council.

“We want to get as many people involved as possible,” said Judith Holcomb of the Lenawee Conservation District office. “It helps to have a variety of voices. It gives diversity of opinion.”

She would like to see involvement on many fronts, such as farmers who own land adjacent to the river, citizens who see the Bean as a recreational resource, and government agencies including townships and municipalities and the county drain commission.

Watershed council meetings would be open to anyone interested in preserving the value of the river and preventing its degradation, Holcomb said.

Formation of a council might not be favored in all areas, she said. Instead, a less formal approach might be preferred, with an interest group focusing on particular preservation, protection and/or recovery projects.

A Bean Creek marketing plan would be developed to “enhance visibility, strengthen partnerships and increase awareness of the importance of protecting watershed resources.” Through public meetings, residents will be encouraged to develop a sense of community ownership and involvement to improve and protect the resources of the watershed.

Holcomb said the two main water quality issues facing Bean Creek are erosion along the riparian areas—floodplains, stream banks and wetlands—and sedimentation—soil that washes into the river and forms a layer of silt on the riverbed.

People living near the river will have different views of problems facing Bean Creek, Holcomb said.

“We want to hear from people to learn what they see,” she said.

The Conservation District personnel would like to develop a best management practice (BMP) demonstration project to highlight a water quality problem and show a solution.

For example, Holcomb said, years ago a common approach to fighting stream bank erosion resulted in dumping concrete along the banks. A BMP would involve layering materials along the bank and planting trees and shrubs to hold soil in place.

Holcomb said there’s some need for dredging due to sedimentation, but only a limited amount.

County drain?

A Bean Creek survey from the Conservation District asks respondents if the river should be classified as a county drain.

This would make the Lenawee County Drain Commission the primary agency to address problems associated with the river, Holcomb said.

If corrective action were left to townships, she said, it’s optional and might never happen due to financial constraints. If the drain commission is in charge, corrective action becomes a necessity because the agency has criteria it must follow. Funding would then come from assessments levied on the owners of property in the drainage area.

With the drain commission in charge, Holcomb said, residents can be assured that action will be taken, such as the removal of log jams. On the negative side, she said citizens would lose their place in the decision-making process.

“There’s good and bad to either approach,” she said.

Holcomb hopes many people will visit the Conservation District website (lenaweeconservationdistrict.org ) and look for the Bean Creek Survey link. Survey forms will also be mailed by calling 517/263-7400, ext. 5. Surveys must be returned by March 31 when responses will be tallied.

“This is a good opportunity for people to speak up and give their input on what happens,” Holcomb said. “The worst thing would be to receive no input.”

She realizes people are leading busy lives and often become separated from their natural environment. The Bean Creek project will allow citizens to take a personal interest in an important resource.

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