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.
  • 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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Edison installing power line to Williams County 7.1.09

Written by David Green.


A new high-voltage line that will soon pass high above the north side of Fayette will stay out of reach for local electricity users.

Instead, it’s Williams County residents who will benefit from the power source as communities served by municipal systems will buy the electricity at rates below what Fayette pays.

Preparations for the 17-mile line began months ago when Toledo Edison’s real estate division began seeking easements from property owners along the route.

“It’s been going very well,” said Edison’s Gary Keys.

Fulton County easements are nearly all in place, he said, and the majority of those from Williams County have been signed.

The new line will benefit some Edison customers along the way, Keys said, because in addition to the high voltage transmission line, there will be a smaller distribution line that can be tapped to increase power at a farm, for example, where additional electricity is needed to run a grain dryer.

Discussion about the line started about 11 years ago, Keys said, when Edison’s parent company, First Energy, agreed to provide a new power source for Williams County.

The primary need for power is Menard’s manufacturing and distribution facility under construction in Holiday City, but benefits of the new line go beyond that.

Pioneer mayor Ed Kidston is delighted to have the new system coming and says it will benefit both First Energy and the municipal power systems in Pioneer, Bryan, Edgerton and Montpelier.

“These municipalities purchase their power through AMP-Ohio on a wholesale level,” he explained. “This energy comes from various suppliers.”

AMP-Ohio (American Municipal Power-Ohio) is a nonprofit corporation that coordinates and negotiates power supply options.

Years ago the four Williams County communities formed their own joint venture to set up a network of municipal systems that receives power from the south.

With the new line in place, Pioneer and Holiday City will use the First Energy system as their primary source of power and the existing line will serve as a backup. Bryan, Edgerton and Montpelier will now have the new line to serve as their backup.

The new 69 kilovolt line will start at Edison’s substation east of Fayette on U.S. 20 and travel north to County Road S. From there the line will follow County Road S into Williams County. The line will eventually dip back down to U.S. 20 and travel toward Pioneer. Pioneer will need to extend a line about two miles east to tie into the system.

The line will then travel down County Road 16 and end east of Holiday City, where another municipal line will be constructed to tie in.


All new, taller utility poles will be set along the route, said Edison’s Trent Dominque who oversees Edison’s Fulton County lines. A few existing poles in the Fayette area can be used and workers were clearing old lines last week on the north side of Fayette.

“We’ve got about the first mile and a half completed from U.S. 127,” Dominique said.

Kidston said he expects the system to be operational a year from now, and Keys believes Edison’s portion of the work could be complete by the end of the year.

The substation on U.S. 20 must still be upgraded to handle the increase in capacity.

A 69 kV line will feed directly into Menard’s, Keys said, which pales to the energy devoured by NorthStar Steel (349 kV) but far exceeds the energy consumption of Fayette, which is closer to 12 kV.

This leads to the differential in prices for power, Keys said.

“Any time you have a large entity that can buy bulk power in large quantities, there can be a negotiated price,” he said.

“We have the ability to buy power at wholesale,” Kidston said. “We own our own distribution lines.”

As a member of AMP-Ohio, Pioneer owns portions of several energy production facilities and pays transmission costs to various companies.

Electricity is delivered throughout the community via a distribution system that’s owned and maintained by the village, Kidston said. All the services for the customer are taken care of by the village, rather than relying on Edison.

He understands the frustration that Fayette residents might feel when they’re buying power at a higher price from an investor-owned utility—he knows someone who lives just outside of Pioneer and pays much higher rates—but he also knows there are some reasons for the difference in costs.

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