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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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