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 school board 2012.03.07

Written by David Green.


The Morenci Board of Education is expected to hire an interim assistant principal in a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Following the resignation of athletic director/behavioral specialist Taz Wallace two weeks ago, a notice was posted to hire a temporary athletic director/assistant principal for the remainder of the school year. Twelve applications were received and interviewing got underway Monday.

Many athletic director duties are covered, said Morenci Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Osborne, but the most critical need is for someone to address discipline issues during the school day.

 Osborne said the administration is acting quickly on the matter and he expects to have someone in place by the start of school next week, if not earlier.

He will begin seeking a permanent employee within a few weeks. The key, he said, is to make sure the right person is found to cover both the athletic director position and assistant principal duties.

He also expects to begin the search for a new football coach within a few weeks.

ASSESSMENT—Secondary principal Kelli Campbell and elementary principal Mary Fisher reviewed the recently released state test scores and pointed out both upward trends and some drops in scores.

“There are 18 tests total in grades three through nine and we were in the top five in the county on five of those tests,” Campbell said. “We increased our proficiency on 11 out of 18 tests, and if you’re looking at the state improvement average, we were above that average on nine out of 18 tests.”

When scores are released, she said, staff begins analyzing the results.

 “Ms. Fisher and I have come up with a few strategies to improve our scores,” Campbell said. “One thing we’re going to continue to do is the literacy program which includes intervention.”

They also intend to focus more on what the state refers to as “partially proficient” students—those who didn’t meet the proficiency standard but were close. An analysis of scores will determine where they fell short and remediation will be given.

It might be interesting to look at the trend of scores and to compare districts, but what’s more important for school staff, Campbell said, is to follow each class of students through the grades to see how they’re improving or going down.

 The literacy program started with the youngest students, Fisher said, and is now used throughout the elementary school. She expects this effort to show positive results.

Annual MEAP scores get the most press, Osborne said, but he agreed with the other administrators that the most value in the program comes from studying the data to determine what’s missing from the curriculum. 

What he really appreciates about the teachers’ response is how they’re looking at the data and turning it into action to fill in gaps in the curriculum.

BULLYING—Campbell said that a bullying awareness program will be implemented in the middle school during the third trimester.

The effort is expected to help students identify forms of bullying and to suggest ways to respond. The program will be presented during the daily 25-minute seminar period.

BULLDOG APPLAUSE—Campbell told about the start of a program to highlight exemplary actions by students and school staff. Nominations can be submitted by anyone, including community members. Forms are available on the school website or at the high school and middle school offices.

She read the first “applause” submitted. Student Brennen Mellon and his mother, Stacy, recognized teacher Karen Shaner for her ability to understand and assist students. She was described as a teacher who can make a difference in a child’s life.

PERSONNEL—Tenure was granted to elementary school teachers Keith Filipek and Paula Grieder. 

Both have proven themselves to be excellent teachers, Fisher said, and she’s pleased to keep them in the Morenci school system.

The resignation of middle school football coach Fred Love was accepted. It was estimated that he’s served in that role for at least 17 years.

BAND—Morenci’s high school band will join with Camden-Frontier and Reading again this year for a series of three Master Works concerts. The effort gives three small bands the experience of performing together as a large band. The Morenci concert is scheduled at 7 p.m. March 20.

A middle school band concert is planned at 6 p.m. March 29.

RENEWAL—The board voted to move the 18-mill operating millage vote to Aug. 7. By pairing the vote with the state primary, the cost of the election can be split with the city. The millage brings in about $372,000 in operating funds.

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