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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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Computer recycling

Written by David Green.


For the last hundred years, it’s been the specialty of Goodwill Industries to turn a profit off of second-hand merchandise, either by finding someone to buy it or turning it into something that can be sold.

The list of donated items Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Michigan can’t use is short. Until recently, donated personal computers topped it.

goodwill-computer For logistical reasons, Goodwill chooses not to resell computers, and in the past, the organization didn’t have a means of recycling them, said Linda Gentry, Goodwill’s director of marketing in southeast Michigan. This meant that every machine that came in hurt the group’s bank account, and the environment.

“If people donate things we can’t use, we have to pay to get them removed. Since landfill costs are huge, we try to do whatever we can to make sure absolutely nothing ends up there,” Gentry said.

The biggest shame was that perfectly good components and raw materials were going to waste, she said.

Now, thanks to a state-wide partnership between the Goodwill Industries of Michigan and the Dell Corporation, donated computers aren’t going anywhere near the dump. In addition, they’ll help create area jobs and put money back in Goodwill’s coffers.

The fledgling recycling program, called RECONNECT, aims to divert 3.3 million pounds of computers and computer accessories from landfills this year. Two weeks ago, the Adrian Goodwill began including local workers in the process.

The project is the newest opportunity for Goodwill employees to flourish in the workplace. Of the 250 workers on the payroll at the Adrian building, most were referred there due to some kind of workplace disability—injury, physical or mental disability, even the inability to speak English.

Goodwill’s goal is to make these prospective workers employable, and newcomers achieve this by consulting with coaches and gaining job experience in areas that fit their interests.

The new disassembly line at the Adrian headquarters provides one such job training option.

For the first eight months of the RECONNECT partnership, donated computers were shipped out of the state to be taken apart. However, Goodwill organizers recently calculated that it would be cheaper to disassemble the machines locally, then ship them directly to the recycler.

But not all machines need to be recycled. It’s the responsibility of the line’s two to three new employees to identify which units might be resold whole, and which have reached the end of their cycle.

Wearing gloves and goggles to protect themselves from dust and sharp edges, workers pack up the newer computers and use wedges and power wrenches to dismantle the older ones. Afterward, the individual components are sorted into their appropriate shipping boxes.

The units are next sent to Dell’s contracted recycling firm, re.Source Partners, in Mount Clemens, Mich., where they’re either remarketed or sold for scrap. Its re.Source’s policy that none of the parts end up in a landfill.

That’s important to Gentry for several reasons.

“A lot of thrown away computers find their ways to landfills in Third World countries where the hazardous materials inside aren’t disposed of properly. You read about them making the locals sick,” she said. “It’s important for us to keep them out of landfills. Our goals are to not add to pollution and to not waste money.”

The RECONNECT partnership is currently about halfway through its trial year, but Gentry said the volume of donations Goodwill has received so far makes it promising that the contract will be extended.

• Computers can be donated at the Goodwill headquarters on Beecher Street in Adrian and at the Goodwill store on Main Street. There is no cost to donate. Neither Dell nor Goodwill Industries will take responsibility for data left on the computer.
Donations of computer accessories, such as mouse, monitor, printer, scanner and ink cartridge are also accepted.

Future of recycling 


Fifteen years ago, nobody was talking about turning a profit by recycling computers. Six years ago, re.Source Partners, a firm dedicated exclusively to recycling computers was founded. Last year, re.Source reported 167 percent growth and was named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies to Watch at a Michigan Works! conference.

Does that mean there’s a future in recycling computers?

Jeff Korona certainly hopes so. An account manager at the Mt. Clemens-based firm, he says re.Source was founded with the intent of exploiting a market that didn’t exist a decade ago.

It’s not that people weren’t buying computers in the early and mid-90s, he said. They just weren’t throwing them out.

“The difference between now and 10 or 15 years ago is that when a computer was purchased, it was going on a desk that never had one before. Now, it’s displacing one that was already there,” he said.

And these days, big businesses—re.Source lists American Express, Kmart, and Flagstar Bank as clients—are displacing computers faster than ever.

Large companies, especially financial institutions, are becoming more reliant on up-to-date technology, Korona said. But new computers cost money, as does properly disposing of old ones.

This is where re.Source comes in.

It makes little sense to trash a perfectly good crop of two-year-old computers because they can’t keep up with the pace of business, Korona said, particularly when there are plenty of people who would buy them.

That’s how the company makes its money. When a shipment of computers arrives at re.Source, workers assess which components can be salvaged and resold, and which have reached the end of their life cycle.

The resellable parts are refurbished and remarketed—sometimes to businesses with less sophisticated computer needs, but also to customers at the company store.

Meanwhile, parts that can’t be reused are sold for scrap. Copper and lead alloys are melted down to make fire hydrants and well pipes; aluminum is converted to material for pistons and automotive wheel parts; iron goes into constructing I-beams and angle iron; glass is used in batteries; and plastics are broken into pellets that serve various uses.

In the end, re.Source shares between 40 and 60 percent of the total profit from the sale of the components with the client. Along with relieving the financial sting from liquidating old machines, there are other benefits to using a computer recycler.

“It’s important for people to know that we handle the machines in a landfill-free manner,” Korona said. He explained that environmentally-friendly policies are an increasing public relations draw for corporations.

Another draw is the assurance that the information on the computers is disposed of properly—re.Source is required to erase its clients’ hard drives and keep records of the units’ serial numbers. The service is especially important for banks and credit card companies, which deal in sensitive financial information, Korona said.

To Korona, it’s good sense and good business to recycle computers. By using re.Source last year, he said, his clients saved money and, at the same time, kept a combined 200,000 computers out of landfills.

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