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.

Thunderstorm results in damage 2011.06.02

Written by David Green.

storm_johncoxBy DAVID GREEN

A fast-moving thunderstorm Sunday afternoon left Morenci littered with fallen trees and wires. At least two residents reported seeing rotation in clouds passing over, but there was no confirmation of a tornado.

A tornado warning was posted for Lenawee County before 5 p.m. Sunday, predicting that a severe thunderstorm showing some rotation would strike Morenci around 5:10.

The storm hit right on schedule and soon reduced visibility to near zero with blowing rain, leaves and seeds. Large limbs and trees began falling, leaving the most damage since a severe thunderstorm hit the town in May 2000.

Merlin Avis of 201 E. Locust St. said he and a neighbor both spotted a funnel cloud overhead as the storm passed through. That area of town was heavily damaged.

Starting at the intersection of N. Summit and Locust, two trees fell across Summit Street. Down the block past the Avis house, a tree was flattened and another went down at the next residence. Across the street, two large limbs fell and a utility pole snapped, dropping wires onto the ground.

Additional trees and limbs went down in the neighborhood as the storm continued east. A porch was smashed by a falling tree one block to the north on Union Street and a large maple tree toppled onto the Anne Johncox residence on Burley Street.

Morenci fire chief Chad Schisler said the damage showed the characteristics of a straight line wind and not of a tornado.

Driving was difficult with detours throughout the city, but Morenci fire department members responded to the damage quickly, clearing streets where possible and blocking streets where wires had fallen. Chains saws were heard throughout the city during the next few hours and again Monday.

“We worked until 2 a.m. to make sure roads were passable for a fire truck,” Schisler said. “That was our main concern.”

The department worked in cooperation with a single Consumers Energy repair person.

“He did an awesome job,” Schisler said.

Although power wasn’t restored to all customers, he helped clear streets of fallen wires.

The initial estimate Sunday night by Consumers placed the number of outages across the state at about 108,000, including 4,700 customers in Lenawee County.

Consumers repair trucks were still in town Tuesday night working to restore power to several Morenci customers.

Before the storm reached Morenci, winds knocked over several trees and dropped large branches at Harrison Lake State Park southwest of Fayette. Several camping units were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

Morenci climate observer George Isobar measured three-quarters of an inch of rain from the storm, almost as much as as what fell in a storm early Sunday morning. Isobar said that small hail also fell during Sunday’s storm.

Total precipitation for May stands at 7.04 inches, making this year the second wettest May since current records were kept in 1976. 

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