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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

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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