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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    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.
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Fayette school board 2011.11.23

Written by David Green.


Fayette is making progress in its Race to the Top efforts and school board members heard a quarterly update Monday from team member Sally Kovar.

Kovar, an education consultant with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center, is assisting the Fayette and Evergreen districts in meeting Race to the Top (RTTT) requirements. Ohio was chosen last year to participate in the federal program that provides extra funding to districts meeting the federal requirements.

Kovar reminded the board that the RTTT transformation team consists of two elementary school teachers, two from the secondary school and one who teaches classes at both levels. Elementary school principal Dr. Luann Boyer and school board member Karen King are also part of the team.

Updates are sent monthly to the state board of education. A professional development plan was also created this year.

Dr. Boyer said the professional development funding has been very helpful to the district, but when that money runs out, administrators will have to be more creative in finding ways to continue the work.

RTTT funding also paid for a program called Next Navigator that assists teachers in moving from academic content standards to common core standards. The change will take place over the next few years, Kovar said, and Next Navigator lays out the two methods side by side to help in the transition.

Boyer and secondary principal Dan Feasel attended a meeting on the principal evaluation system.

“We’re also involved in a pilot program for the Ohio teachers evaluation system,” Kovar said. “It gave the teachers the chance to get their hands on the rubric, so then we have a voice in what goes on that evaluation and what does not.”

Three teachers have volunteered to be involved in the evaluation program.

“Rigor and relevance” are the key words at the high school, Kovar said, and this goes hand in hand with common core.

“In years before,” she said, “curriculum was an inch thick and a mile wide. Now they want fewer things covered more in depth. When you look at the common core, we’re hitting the same things over and over and over again, but a little deeper at each grade level. This gives kids a much firmer foundation.”

ROAD—Fayette superintendent Russ Griggs expressed his satisfaction with the newly widened and resurfaced Gamble Road in front of the school.

New lighting along the street has yet to be completed, but that should improve night vision at the school entrance.

LEVY—Griggs noted that levy renewals cannot be considered automatic anymore, and he said it was very gratifying to see the support for Fayette’s renewal in the recent election.

BUDGET—District treasurer Kelly Bentley told that board that revenue has decreased significantly from the first quarter a year ago. Revenue declined by $144,000, however, expenses went down by $191,000 from the previous year, leaving the district with a gain of $47,000.

VETERANS—Feasel said 53 people attended the Veteran’s Day Breakfast at the school. The event was very well received, he said.

CONFERENCE—Despite an increase in junior and high school enrollment, participation in the parent-teacher conferences declined. Feasel wondered if the reason might have been due to grade cards being distributed shortly before conferences.

DONATIONS—The following donations were approved by the board: $250 from the Christian Church to buy winter accessories for elementary school students needing warm gear; a used trumpet from Karen King; a donation of $318 from Dr. Boyer to buy supplies for the school dog;

an anonymous $37.25 donation to buy Quick Word Handbooks for Everyday Writers; and a $759 anonymous donation to give $500 for the school’s cross country invitational meet, $100 for Spanish Club activities, and $159 for the Veteran’s Day Breakfast.

STAFF—Cinda Metcalf was hired as a substitute teacher and Wendy Burkholder was hired as a substitute cafeteria worker and custodian.

TRIPS—The board approved a one-day train trip to Chicago for the Spanish Club on May 4, and a one-day FFA trip to Chicago to visit the Mercantile Exchange.

A four-day senior trip to Dayton, Cincinnati and West Virginia was tabled pending additional details.

VOLLEYBALL—The board approved an adult volleyball program, with Scott Wagner serving as league coordinator.

LIBRARY—Michael Figgins was granted another term on the Normal Memorial Library board of trustees.

CLOSED—The board met in a closed session to discuss a personnel issue.

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