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.

Fayette to use prison labor 2011.05.18

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It didn’t take long for the first phone call to arrive last week at the Fayette village hall. Someone spotted a man dressed in orange and white striped clothing that looked like a prison outfit.

It’s true, it was a prison outfit, and inside the clothing was an actual prisoner.

Two prisoners were “walking free” in Fayette as the village participates in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio (CCNO) Community Public Works Program.

Although the program has proven very popular in Williams, Defiance and Henry counties, Fulton County lags behind in making use of the free service.

Jail officials started the community program in 1990, shortly after the prison was constructed, said media spokesperson Linda Shambarker, and it’s been very successful.

Some municipalities are eager to put prisoners to work while others have little interest, she said, but she’s hoping more will take part. As of now, there aren’t enough sites to fill the list of inmates signed up for the program.

“They enjoy getting out and being able to work,” Shambarker said. “Some of them have a lot of skills. They feel good about helping and paying back, doing something positive for the community.”

Successful participation can also cut a few days off a prisoner’s sentence.

Not just anyone is allowed to participate, Shambarker said. The screening process is extensive, and once out on the job, inmates have several rules they must follow.

The majority of participants are in jail on misdemeanor charges, such as petty theft, vandalism and drunk driving.

“If any red flags pop up, they’re not allowed,” Shambarker said.

Those who make it through the screening participate in an orientation session to learn the restrictions they must follow, such as no telephone calls, no visits from family or friends and no alcohol use.

Each participating municipality must send a representative to a training session, also, to learn the rules and receive tips on making the program work.  Inmates must be within sight of a supervisor the entire time they’re working.

Jail officials help out by checking up on their workers occasionally.

“We do surprise checks to make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Shambarker said.

“It’s gone well for the most part,” she said. “In the past five years we’ve adopted a more intense risk assessment procedure. We want to protect the public and inmate both.”

In 20 years of the program, nearly 5,900 inmates have taken part. Based on minimum wage, the program has save local municipalities about $5.4 million.

Fayette started the program May 9 with two prisoners removing brush from curbs. That job is expected to continue throughout the month.

Inmates will also help with trimming, mowing and seeding grass, and cleaning up the running/walking track. Help is also expected when the pool is decommissioned in June, when the pool rest rooms are updated, and for miscellaneous tasks.

The only cost to the village is the gasoline and time needed for an employee to drive to Wauseon and back to meet a bus driven from CCNO.

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