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.
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    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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Bean Creek watershed council; county drain status?

Written 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 ( ) 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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