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.

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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