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.

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.

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