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.

Walking trail discussed 03.10.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Audience members liked what they heard Monday night about a proposed walking trail through Wakefield Park and Riverside Natural Area.

Patrick Judd from Conservation Design Forum presented an overview of the proposal and answered questions during a public hearing at the start of the city council meeting.

The estimated $340,000 project would be funded through a Michigan DNR Trust Fund grant and an anonymous donor. Council faces an April 1 deadline to apply for DNR funds in the next funding cycle.

Judd said the connection to Riverside would add points to the application when reviewed in Lansing. The trail would span the existing recreational facilities of Wakefield Park, move into the open area of the property that was purchased in 2003, and finally cross a bridge into the nature park—an area that includes threatened plants and a healthy population of mussels in Bean Creek.

The trail would measure 12 feet wide in Wakefield and eight feet in Riverside. The Wakefield portion could be paved, Judd said, but he suggests a handicap-accessible hard surface in Riverside of either fine stone or crushed and tumbled glass.

Benches would be placed in some areas and picnic tables could be added to the plan.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool noted that areas of Riverside will need to be blocked off to stop destruction from vehicles.

Janet Kauffman of the Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition characterized the proposal as a good opportunity to open up Riverside for increased public use while still protecting the area.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington wondered if the project would spark additional interest in expanding the trail in the future. The trail could continue southeast and loop around the industrial park, then head north. Judd said adjacent land owners could put property into a conservation easement to enlarge the area.

He also mentioned the future possibility of seeking grants for a rails-to-trials project using the former railroad property.

“I’m very excited about the prospect of this,” Pennington said. “I’m hoping we can get it done in time for this round of funding.”

City council must update the city’s recreation plan at the March 22 meeting. If the application survives the first review, Judd said, final approval would be expected late this year or early in 2011.

Money for the DNR Trust Fund comes from leases on oil and gas fields, Judd said, and is not affected by the state’s budget shortfall.

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