The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Manure spill fouls four miles of creek 7.22.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Faulty irrigation equipment is suspected of sending partially treated liquid manure into Little Bear Creek from a field near the Chesterfield Dairy on Fulton County Road 14 in Royalton Township.dairy.fish_kill.jpg

Representatives from the Ohio EPA were still investigating the manure discharge on Tuesday while cleanup work continued.

Fulton County Emergency Services director Brett Kolb said he was notified of the incident about 9:30 p.m. Thursday by a call from the sheriff’s department.

Kolb said township resident Maurice Barden was inspecting crops in a field near County Road 12 when he discovered manure in the creek that flows through his property. He reported the manure to law enforcement officials.

According to the Ohio EPA report, Kolb called the agency at 10:08 p.m. to report the stream was “running black with manure” and said he would investigate further. Kolb later reported that it could be coming from a nearby dairy, but he said later that tracking the source in the dark would be difficult. The agency took the report and sent workers to the scene the next morning.

Kolb said the creek was temporarily dammed near County Road 10 to prevent the additional flow of manure. A pump is removing contaminated water from the stream and transporting it to a sealed container.

At that point, manure hauling equipment siphons the mixture out and applies it to fields. Kolb spoke with dairy owner Karel van de Kolk at the scene and learned that about one load an hour was being removed Tuesday.

The pump is capable of removing much higher quantities of water, Kolb said, but the rate of flow in the creek slows the process.

Kolb said he learned from van de Kolk that the arm of a pivot irrigation device became stuck in an open position and flooded the field with liquid manure. van de Kolk told him the manure was from the final lagoon in the farm’s treatment system, when it’s ready for field application.

Dina Pierce, media specialist with the Ohio EPA, said the investigation continues.

“We’re asking a lot of questions, so the details may change as we get a clearer picture of what happened,” she said.

The agency wants to know if the irrigation equipment was unattended.

The manure initially traveled through a field tile before reaching the creek. The tile was plugged to stop the flow of manure and efforts Tuesday also focused on cleaning out the tile without adding additional manure to the creek.

Fish kill

The Ohio DNR was also called to the scene after dead fish were found floating downstream.

The agency’s district law supervisor Ron Kurfis said workers are continuing to tabulate the damage to wildlife.

Kurfis didn’t yet have results from a species listing, but heard that chain pickerel, small mouth bass and carp were among the fish killed. Many were in the eight- to 12-inch range and he suspected larger carp were involved.

Kurfis explained that a value is assigned to wildlife to determine a financial penalty.

“Each fish, each minnow, each animal has a value,” he said. “We tabulate the number of animals killed, each species by length. That’s how we come up with a value.”

If necessary, a civil complaint for restitution will be filed, Kurfis said, but cases generally advance to civil action. In most cases, he said, payment is voluntarily made.

The large volume of manure in the water displaces the oxygen needed by aquatic life, Kurfis said, and leads to what could be likened to suffocation.

He said the dissolved oxygen level in one portion of the creek was measured between one and two parts per million and ammonia at 10 parts per million.

“Under those conditions, the fish cannot get enough oxygen to survive,” Kurfis said.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016