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 2012.03.21

Written by David Green.


The Fayette school district is about to drop a grade on the state’s rating list, but it won’t be alone. Nearly every school in the state is expected to move downward as state education officials toughen the standards.

Gov. John Kasich’s new accountability proposal is waiting for final approval from federal officials through the No Child Left Behind program, but the effect of the changes is already known.

Fayette’s current “excellent” rating drops to a B grade with the new standards. That’s the same for every other district in the county that has the top rating. Schools will now be rated on letter grades from A to F. 

Secondary principal Dan Feasel told board of education members Monday night that 72 percent of the state’s public schools were rated “proficient” or higher, but most of them will now go to a “B” grade.

“You get to the next hoop and you conquer it, then they’ll find a way to change it,” he said.

Gov. Kasich was pushing hard for charter schools when he came into office, Feasel said, but only 22 percent of those school reached proficiency and many will receive Fs.

“He might be pushing in the wrong direction,” Feasel said.

When too many districts achieve proficiency, it must be considered too easy, said superintendent Russ Griggs. The schools are dropped down and they can climb back up again.

State education officials believe the current system really is too easy. State superintendent Stan Heffner told reporters that instead of preparing students for college, schools are asked to help students meet minimum standards of proficiency and promoting mediocrity.

Despite a large number of “excellent” ratings, state officials say that 40 percent of Ohio high school graduates needed remedial help in math and English at college.

The current system lets kids down, Heffner said.

In addition to the new letter grade system, district will need to make a move toward implementing Common Core Standards throughout the grades.

Examples given of a more rigorous curriculum include a requirement for writing more argument-based and opinion pieces rather than summary reports. Students will need to discuss what they’ve learned and support their ideas. More complex mathematics concepts will be introduced at a younger age.

Another change on the horizon comes in the testing program because the existing tests are seen as incapable of measuring the new standards.

Although the tests have not yet been created, it’s known they will be taken via a computer, with results returned within a week or two.

Fayette elementary school principal Dr. Luann Boyer told the board about another coming change that could prove controversial. Any third grade student that isn’t reading at grade level by the end of the year will be retained.

That would come at the end of intensive intervention. Any student in kindergarten through second grade that is performing below grade level must have his or her individual intervention plan with detailed monitoring of progress.

After two years or more of intervention, a student would automatically be held back if not performing at grade level.

The governor is also pushing for a plan that would allow outsiders to evaluate teachers and put in place a means of terminating low-performing teachers who haven’t responded sufficiently from professional development help.

SIGNS—Griggs said that financial assistance might come ODOT to help with the erection of directional signs on the two state highways near the school.

TRIPS—The board approved two FFA trips: a trip to Camp Muskingum in Carrollton, Ohio, June 25-29, traveling by bus with the Delta FFA organization and one to attend Washington Leadership Conferences in Washington, D.C., traveling by airplane and public transportation with Wauseon FFA Advisor.

COACHES—The following coaches were approved: Adam Ohlemacher and David Conklin, assistant junior high track; Alissa Stockburger, assistant volleyball; Danni Keefer, volleyball; Sarah Bird, JV girls basketball; Tim Nicely, varsity girls basketball; Matt Maginn, JV boys basketball.

STAFF—Family leave was approved for Beth Schaffner from April 16 to May 29.

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