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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Fayette council discusses Dollar General 02.03.10

Written by David Green.


A zoning change for a proposed Dollar General store got the green light Thursday from the Fayette village council, but not without discussion about flooding problems.

Council unanimously approved a recommendation from the zoning board to change the classification of a parcel from residential to highway commercial. The property, owned by Don and Jane Stiriz, measures 160 feet wide along Main Street and 330 feet deep. The property is located next to the Rorick Bed and Breakfast at 611 W. Main, owned by the Stirizes.

A developer from Alabama will build the store, explained civil engineer Andrew Rossell of Hurley and Stewart, the company overseeing the design of the project.

Rossell said fencing would be erected along the west side of the store and lighting could be shielded to direct the light onto the property and not into residential areas.

A detention basin behind the store would control surface water runoff from the roof and parking area.


Village administrator Amy Metz read a letter from Anita and Jerry Van Zile that said adding commercial property to a residential area tends to decrease property values. The Van Ziles live close to the property, but across the street.

The letter said the property is quick to flood and suggested the situation will probably worsen with the new building.

An old storm water line fails to handle the flow during heavy precipitation events, Metz said, and the line is probably blocked.

Rossell said he doesn’t anticipate any changes in flooding.

“Our development, I assure you, won’t increase the problem,” he said.

He said the detention basin will be designed to handle a 100-year rain event, but outflow from the basin will be limited to that experienced from a five-year event, or about 2.4 inches. Anything heavier should actually result in an improvement.

Metz noted the parcel is less than three percent of the adjacent land and rain falling on the parking area and roof would have little effect on the overall flow of water. Rossell said about 80 acres of land drains toward the Van Zile property.


The Van Ziles also questioned why that location was chosen. Real estate agent Gene Beaverson said several areas were explored—both in town and on the edge of the village that would require annexation.

“There just isn’t anything available in town,” he said, not without tearing several buildings down.

Councilor Mike Maginn asked about using federal grants to retrofit existing vacant buildings. Beaverson said many old buildings, including some he owns, are just junk.

“I don’t see anything that they’re usable for,” he said.

Parking downtown is also an issue, Metz said, noting that the post office parking lot is private.

Audience member Kirk Keiser said it’s a similar situation with old barns. They’re often not conducive to modern farming practices and pole buildings often take their place. Unfortunately, he said, many of the large downtown buildings don’t serve the purposes needed today.

Metz read a review from the Fulton County Regional Planning Commission that noted the area was in the past considered for the development of a commercial/industrial park.


Metz presented tax advantages for the existing value of the property ($3,390) vs. the estimated cost of the building ($403,390). The store would generate $8,342 tax dollars compared to the existing $59.

Of the $8,342, about $5,200 would go to the school district’s general fund and $721 to the school bond fund. The township would receive $385 and the village would receive $710.

Withholding taxes would also go to the village from the estimated three full-time jobs and seven part-time.

Paula Ferguson asked if any other response was received from neighbors. Metz said she received several calls inquiring about the issue, but no other negative comments.

Keiser, who lives across from the proposed store, said he’s excited about development and welcomes the benefits to the village and school.

With the rezoning in place, Rossell said, developers can move on to the next stage in planning.

FENCE—Council also approved a variance at Eagle Car Wash that allows a portion of a fence to be closer than the required 18 inch setback.

The property isn’t square, Metz said, and the fence was erected along the edge of the concrete.

The property owner and the tenant living in the house, located behind the car wash, were said to both be in agreement with waiving the requirement.

Ruger thanked Metz for her persistence in getting the fence erected. It was long overdue, she said.

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