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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Morenci library board discusses county proposal 2011.12.21

Written by David Green.


Discussion last month about a county-wide library district has Morenci’s Stair Public Library board concerned about losing autonomy of its operations.

Adrian Public Library director Carol Souchock scheduled an informational session Nov. 28 to discuss the formation of a district library. An attorney who specializes in library law was present to discuss the steps required.

Tecumseh’s library is the only one in the county that operates as an independent district library. The others—Adrian, Blissfield, Clinton Township, Hudson and Morenci—are all affiliated with their local governments. In addition, the Lenawee County Library, founded by the county commissioners and based in Adrian, operates branch libraries in Addison, Britton, Clayton, Deerfield and Onsted.

Earlier this year, a cost-savings proposal was made to consolidate the Adrian city library with the county library, but the discussion Nov. 28 presented an opportunity to bring all of the county’s libraries together into a single district.

The plan calls for formation of a district library planning committee in February 2012 and a levy proposal to appear on the August 2013 ballot. The committee would decide how much millage to request. If the funding proposal failed, the district would not be formed.

The first step is for each participating library board and government unit to adopt a resolution to appoint representatives to the planning committee. Forming a library district could serve as a collaborative effort to meet requirements set forth by Michigan governor Rick Snyder.

Stair Public Library’s board of trustees met in a special session Dec. 8 to discuss the matter.

Library director Colleen Leddy spoke about a loss of autonomy because Stair would no longer have its own board of trustees. Instead, a district board would form—either by appointment or election—and it’s possible that Morenci would have no representation.

Board president Sally Kruger said the change would result in Morenci having to compete with other libraries in the district for funding.

Morenci has scheduled many author visits in the past, she noted, and someone at the Nov. 28 meeting pointed out the benefit of sharing visiting authors.

“But someone else would decide who is going to come and at which libraries they would appear,” Kruger said.

She pointed out that with a local board, decisions can be made quickly about seeking a grant for a special project, but by the time a district board made a decision, the grant opportunity could be gone.

“We’re small and we’re rural,” Leddy said. “That benefits us in so many ways.”

Several grants the library has received are available only to smaller libraries.

Kruger expressed concern that a county-wide district could lead to less funding for Stair which would result in fewer services.

Leddy sees the following options for the library:

• Trying to remain the same, despite unstable funding sources.

• Joining a county district and losing autonomy and perhaps funding.

• Forming its own library district. In that case, residents within the district would have to approve a millage to support the library.

Leddy considers doing nothing at all a head-in-the-sand approach. Even if the county-wide district doesn’t go through, she thinks the board should explore options.

Kruger said many of the questions asked at the Nov. 28 meeting were answered with the statement that the district library planning committee will decide.

That uncertainty caught the attention of city council’s library representative Robert Jennings who attended the Stair board’s special meeting.

“It amazes me how much we don’t know,” he said.

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