Little People's Place has new owners 05.04.2011

Written by David Green.

starks_LPPTwo Lenawee County natives are the new owners of the Little People’s Place day care center in Morenci.

Phil and Jessica Stark bought the facility last month from Bob Dister, the owner since 1980.

The attached residential portion of the building will serve as the Stark’s first home after Dot Dister moves into a house she purchased in Morenci.

Jessica, originally from Addison, earned a degree in child development from Siena Heights University, with a minor in psychology. She is now pursuing a degree in elementary education.

She gained experience working with the Gretchen’s House system of child development centers in Ann Arbor and she studied Montessori principles at Siena.

Phil, an Onsted graduate, earned a teaching degree in health and physical education from Western Michigan University and is enrolled in the business management master’s degree program at Eastern Michigan University.

The Starks heard from a relative that Little People’s Place was for sale.

“It kind of fell into our laps,” Phil said, and they both like the idea of walking downstairs to work.

The center currently focuses only on the Young Fours program through Morenci Area Schools, but the Starks intend to offer summer day care in June for children from two and a half years to 10 years of age. In the fall, they will begin before- and after-school care, plus day care for children younger than four.

The Starks intend to retain the same staff through the end of the school year to maintain continuity. After that, staffing will depend on the growth of the center.

“We definitely feel this is where we should be,” Jessica said.

Susie and Brad Mansfield opened the Summit Street child care center in 1972. Dister and his wife, Pat, along with his parents, Joe and Dot Dister, and his sister and brother-in-law Joanne and Jeff Kelley, took over ownership in 1980.

“They are starting out where we did 31 years ago,” Bob Dister said.

The longevity of the business—41 years in 2012—is a testament to the education services provided, Dister added.

The Starks can be reached at Little People’s Place by calling 458-7343.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016