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

  • 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.

DNR rep to talk about Vreba-Hoff sale 2011.05.18

Written by David Green.

A public meeting is scheduled tonight (Wednesday) at the Hudson Community Center to provide information about the transition of Hudson area dairy operations from Vreba-Hoff ownership to Southern Michigan Dairy.

A representative of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality will speak about the transfer of ownership and answer questions about the DEQ’s continued role in the farms’ operation.

Southern Michigan Dairy is a subsidiary of the Rabo Agrifinance Bank which took over operation of Vreba-Hoff dairy facilities in November 2010.

Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan will serve as host for the 7:30 p.m. meeting. The Hudson Community Center is located at 323 W. Main St.

CONSENT ORDER—The DEQ’s Water Resources Division signed an administrative consent order March 29 as a result of the transfer of ownership from the former Vreba-Hoff dairies located on Dillon Highway in Medina Township and on U.S. 127 in Hillsdale County, plus the former Waldron Dairy in Hillsdale County.

The document confirms that Southern Michigan Dairy is subject to the terms of a 2004 Consent Judgment and a 2007 Interim Order from the DEQ, and it lays out a time extension for compliance with certain provisions of the old orders.

The document notes that required drawings of structures related to manure management were never submitted by Vreba-Hoff to the DEQ. The drawings are in existence at the offices of an engineering company, the document states, but have not been released because Vreba-Hoff failed to pay fees for the creation of the drawings.

Vreba-Hoff also failed to empty and close a satellite waste storage lagoon located on Packard Road.

Southern Michigan Dairy was given a May 15 deadline to provide drawings of the structures for the two large dairies. There is also an Oct. 1 deadline to empty and close a structure at the Dillon Highway facility or to prove its compliance to regulations by Aug. 1.

Other structures at all three dairies must be shown to be in compliance by April 1, 2012.

The lagoon on Packard Road must be emptied and closed by Sept. 30 of this year. Land application of the manure must meet state regulations for semisolids.

The order calls for Southern Michigan Dairy to pay $100,000 as a partial payment to Vreba-Hoff’s unpaid liabilities to the state. Fines for violations are set at $200 per violation per day, growing to $500.

The order also calls for notification by the bank of any potential buyer of the dairies.

Only the U.S. 127 facility is currently in operation with an approximate herd size of 2,400 head.

FORECLOSURE—Foreclosure of the three dairies was recorded in October 2010, but additional foreclosure action was granted May 9 in Lenawee County Circuit Court.

According to a story in the Adrian Daily Telegram, First Merchants Bank is now in control of two parcels in Medina Township totaling 218 acres and a parcel in Ogden Township totaling 200 acres. The Odgen land was purchased for the development of a 5,000 head dairy.

The foreclosure also includes a 370-acre farm in St. Joseph County and a loan for a dairy in Indiana.

Debts total more than $4.8 million on vacant land.

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