Fayette: Speak out about Fayette's challenges

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL

When it came to choosing a site for the new school building last month, the Fayette community showed no lack of interest in the issue. Dozens of residents crowded into the cafeteria for the Jan. 9 board meeting. Dozens more packed the bleachers for the Jan. 16 informational session. More than 25 chose to make verbal statements at the Jan. 31 special meeting.

But even those who chose not to speak made, by the mere act of showing up, a powerful statement. They showed they cared.

Controversy is, by its very nature, divisive. Doubtless, the controversy over the school location has divided some segments of the community, but it also showed that the community is full of residents who are willing to become informed and involved. It showed that many community members aren’t afraid of vocalizing their opinions.

Most of all, it showed that the community is anything but apathetic when it comes to issues that hit close to home.

And if providing a safe, convenient and affordable educational facility has shown itself to be the number one concern of residents in the last few months, providing the economic backing to make sure that the school stays affordable should be number two.

The best way to do this is industry, and Fayette doesn’t have much of it. At least nowhere near as much of it since Fayette Tubular Products closed eight years ago, costing the village 700 jobs.

But what has the state government done to help bring back those jobs? Has it coordinated its resources to address the village’s specific circumstances? The sizable loss of revenue? The dated wastewater treatment facility? The contamination?

These are questions residents should ask their representatives, in the form of letter after letter after letter.

As Shawn Ferguson of the Fulton County Office of Economic Opportunity said at Thursday’s council meeting, the village is at a point where the best thing it can do is make its elected officials aware of the precarious situation.

What better way to accomplish this than by each member of the community writing one letter a week, all year long?

The village council contains only six voices, but the community contains a chorus of many, if only it would vocalize.

After all, elected officials can’t ignore the music forever.

– March 1, 2006
  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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