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.

Foreclosure help offered 8.26.09

Written by David Green.

In response to the growing foreclosure crisis in southeastern Michigan, the Community Action Agency (CAA) of Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties has hired a community development consultant to lead a new program called the Community Foreclosure Coalition: From Crisis to Opportunity.

Neeta Delaney will serve as the coordinator for the program with the goal of shaping an overall strategic response to housing foreclosures and developing a network of partnerships to turn the strategy into action that will bring results.

All three counties have foreclosure rates greater than the state average of 7.4 percent. From 2004 to 2008, 3,149 families lost their homes to foreclosure in Lenawee and Hillsdale counties. In the first six months of this year, an additional 466 homes were lost.

“While many contributing factors led to this crisis which was initially tied to the sub-prime lending debacle, it is now being driven by Michigan’s high unemployment,” said CAA executive director Marsha Kreucher. “In many cases, health care is lost along with the job, forcing people to decide between their health and their home.  At this point, it’s almost impossible to talk with anyone in our community who has not been touched either directly or indirectly by the foreclosure crisis.”

The Michigan Foreclosure Task Force and the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Project are working together at the state level, Kreucher said, and several regional coalitions have formed. The CAA project aims to remove the response to more of a local level.

Delaney has served in several regional and state positions and has experience in “pulling diverse groups together around common challenges and opportunities,” Kreucher said.

Delaney noted that foreclosures adversely affect not only families, but communities are often forced to deal with deteriorating neighborhoods and code enforcement issues, increasing law enforcement needs and additional social —all coming at a time when revenue is running short for many agencies.

“Consequently, our response to this crisis will need to include strategies to deal with not only foreclosure prevention and intervention, but stabilization and reinvestment,” she said.

Delaney said her approach will be to tackle the existing problems while keeping an eye on the future—to address the crisis while capitalizing on opportunities the situation might present.

For more information, contact Community Action Agency at 800/491-0004.

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