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

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.

Fayette's wind turbine project looks like a go 03.24.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette superintendent of schools Russell Griggs is hoping for windy days ahead. The school chief believes he’s finally realized a goal he set for the district: a wind turbine large enough to create substantial savings on electricity costs.

Fayette’s board of education accepted a bid last week for the erection of a 250 kW turbine behind the school.

If the wind blows in a typical pattern, the district will save up to $50,000 annually in electrical costs.

The $1.1 million turbine project is expected to be funded largely by leftover money from the school construction project. No money from the school’s general fund will be used.

About 75 percent of the cost of Fayette’s new $18.2 million school was paid by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC)—an agency that funnels money from the state’s settlement with tobacco companies for school construction projects—and about $700,000 remained unspent.

The funds cannot be used for projects such as new athletic fields, but Griggs received permission to use the money for the turbine.

In addition, about $400,000 in interest was accumulated during the project. The district must return $135,000 to the state, but the remainder can also be used for the turbine. Leftover funds from the demolition of the old buildings must also be returned.

The district also obtained a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development.

Five contractors submitted bids for the turbine, but the low bidder eventually withdrew. Instead the contract was awarded to Henning USU of Toledo at a cost of $1,033,000.

The company’s maintenance contract was extended from one year to five for an additional $29,000. An upgrade to a high-efficiency 300 kW transformer, at a cost of $11,000, will deliver a better return from the turbine at lower wind speeds, Griggs said.

A contingency fund of $27,000 was also added to the final figure.

Griggs said a maintenance fund for the turbine will be established, as required for all OSFC projects. A fund will also be created to track savings from the turbine’s electrical generation, Griggs said, and he expects the board might choose to use a portion of the savings for future maintenance of the system.

Construction

By moving toward alternative energy early on, Griggs believes the district is saving some cash.

“With the potential future of alternative energy, many companies are trying to gain experience in the field,” he said.

The Buehrer Group—the architectural firm for the project—is offering its services at a nominal cost in order to have a turbine project on its résumé.

Henning USU will serve as a general contractor and manager for the project, Griggs said, with the erection of the turbine handled by Engineered Process Systems—an energy consulting firm based in Huron, Ohio. The company installed a turbine in use at the University of Toledo.

The 250 kW turbine is manufactured by Wind Energy Solutions. The two-bladed turbine will be mounted on a 131-foot tower, with the blades measuring 100 feet from tip to tip.

Site work, including the base for the tower, is scheduled this summer. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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