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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Shared superintendent talks continue betwixt Morenci and Hudson 03.17.2010

Written by David Green.


Efforts to create a shared superintendent role between the Morenci and Hudson school systems are moving forward, with approval of a plan possibly coming in April.

The boards of education from both schools met first in Hudson and then in Morenci Monday to present an update to the public and answer questions about the proposal.

The plan calls for Hudson superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne to split his time between the two districts. Details of the proposal continue to be studied by the committees representing the two districts.

The committees have the benefit of following a cooperative agreement already in place between the Reading and Jonesville districts, explained Morenci board president Scott Merillat.

The committees will rework that document to fit their needs before submitting the proposed contract to an attorney for review.

If the two boards come to a mutual agreement, approval of the contract could come at Morenci’s April 12 board meeting. Merillat said a starting date for the new arrangement has not yet been discussed.

By reducing administrative costs, both districts aim to direct more funds to the classroom and reduce expected layoffs due to the financial shortfall that Michigan schools are experiencing.

Districts of this size, Osborne said, need to consider alternatives to prevent consolidation.

“It would be wonderful if we can find cost savings and still have Bulldogs and Tigers and the rivalries that we now have,” he said.

The shared superintendent document refers to the two committees as a council, with three members from each district’s school board. The council’s powers are limited to the superintendent agreement.

The council would have the authority to negotiate any changes in the cooperative agreement and to resolve any disputes. The group would schedule regular quarterly meetings.

Merillat said one of the council’s duties is to create a calendar listing the events that the superintendent is expected to attend.

“It seems to be one of the issues that comes up the most when people ask about whether this is going to work,” Osborne said.

Osborne said he’s spoken with the Jonesville/Reading superintendent who is pleased with how the arrangement is working, both personally and professionally, and the boards from both schools are also pleased.

“I think that’s where the real key is, both boards understanding that the superintendent is divided between the two districts, but also for the superintendent understanding that it will require a little more effort to attend events.”

Some give and take will be needed, he said, with an understanding that he can’t be everywhere at once.

During the school day, Osborne expects to be based two days in each district and alternate between the two for the remaining day of the week. Special situations will alter that basic arrangement.

Trust will be needed that the superintendent will represent both districts fully and equally, Osborne said, with Morenci continuing to have strong representation and Hudson not losing  anything through the arrangement.

Morenci middle school principal Kay Johnson congratulated both boards for approaching the issue with an open mind.

The two boards have the opportunity to be leaders in defining what small, rural schools are going to look like, Osborne said.

Morenci elementary teacher Robin Borton expressed some concern about the lack of an opportunity to sit down with Osborne as might happen when a superintendent candidate is considered for employment.

Hudson board member Marsha Evenson described Osborne as an “awesome asset” to the Hudson district. She’s heard from teachers at all levels that he devotes considerable attention to their concerns.

Osborne said he would be pleased to meet with teachers, but he doesn’t want to act presumptuously when the agreement has not yet been made final.

Osborne said he started his educational career in a school in inner city Chicago and later returned to Toledo where he helped organize a Lutheran school. He served as both a teacher and administrator there. He was later employed at in St. John’s Lutheran school in Adrian before taking the administrative position as Hudson’s high school principal. That job later included the junior high principal role, also.

“People are people no matter where you go,” he said. “I’ve been cussed out in the private school and cussed out in the public school.”

Merillat said there has not been any discussion about salary or length of contract. Initially the council has spoken about a one-year agreement to see how the arrangement works.

Contractual issues will be discussed when the council meets in Morenci March 23.

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