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

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    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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End of year wrap-up 1.06.2010

Written by David Green.

The end of the year doesn't necessarily bring the end to a local issue. The following review covers some of news stories from 2009 that haven’t yet reached a conclusion. A few of them also appeared in the 2008 review.

• What about Morenci’s sidewalk repair plan?

The project slowed and got a little behind schedule, said Morenci city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder. The school delayed its construction projects and didn’t install a sidewalk until summer 2009. Now, all residences but one have installed walks in the East Locust/Washington streets area near the elementary school.

Gorham Street was the next targeted area and letters were sent to eight property owners in May. At least two of them have already completed the work.

• What about the vacant Charles Fay Village building on Morenci’s Coomer Street?

The facility is currently being rehabilitated to house the senior citizen center, Dr. Gray’s medical office and the Morenci Health Center services for lab work and physical therapy. It should be open for business by March 1.

• What about Fayette’s community swimming pool?

2010 should be the third consecutive summer of no swimming at the park. No money was appropriated for costly pool repair this year. Council voted against filling it in, but an accurate estimate of repair costs is unknown.

• What about the bird on the wire?

Funny you should ask. In September we published an odd photo of a dead bird hanging by its feet from an electrical wire, south of Munson. It remained suspended for four months.

We were ready to report that it’s still there, blown back and forth by the wind, but that’s changed. It was still in place the last week of December; it’s gone the first week of January.

• What about the plan to move Morenci’s police department to the empty industrial building at the back of Wakefield Park?

Engineering prints arrived this week, Schroeder said, and she expects that city council members will consider a motion to seek bids for the project at their Jan. 11 meeting.

• What about the Medina Township proposal to obtain fire protection service from the Hudson department instead of Morenci?

The township continues to pay on its existing contract, Schroeder said, and the Morenci department continues to serve the township. She said the city has heard nothing new about the issue.

• Are Fayette’s water and sewer rates going up?

Council approved a measure to increase water rates by six percent and sewer rates by 27 percent, effective with January billing. This will move the utilities fund out of the red to a break-even position.

• What about the Ohio EPA’s plan to clean up contamination at the former Fayette Tubular Products property and adjacent land where the school stood?

The agency announced its preferred plan in August and then collected public comment on the issue. Metz said she’s waiting for publication of the comments and for the announcement of the final plan of action. An Ohio EPA spokesperson has not yet responded to the question.

• What about Morenci’s need for an updated master plan for the city?

The planning commission asked city council to budget $10,000 to hire a firm to update the plan, but council declined.

The new zoning administrator, Jacob Barnes, has considerable experience with master plans, Schroeder said, and she expects him to speak to the commission about working on an update.

• What about Fayette’s sewer project to separate storm water from septic waste?

The Ohio EPA just recently approved the village’s revised long term control plan and planning for the project begins next week, Metz said. She’s working with the federal Rural Community Assistance Program with the hope of obtaining grants and long-term loans.

• What about that rusty strip of metal at the top of the Observer office in Morenci?

Did you have to bring that up? Another year went by and it didn’t get painted.

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