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.

Schoonover Waterfowl Protection Area

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It’s an age-old story on the prairie.

The grass grows tall, a fire sweeps through the area, the grass grows back and a healthy prairie is naturally maintained.

Prairie grass in Seneca Township’s Schoonover Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) is scheduled to be burned soon in an effort to further develop a prairie restoration project.

The 95-acre Schoonover WPA, located on the south and west side of Medina Road before it joins Canandaigua Road, contains about 34 acres of grassland.

Steve Duschane of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped plant prairie grass at the site in the late 1990s. The prairie contains big bluestem, little bluestem and Indian grass, among other plants, and wildflower seed will be planted after the burn.

Duschane said he’s set up to prairie in three test plots to compare management methods. He describes the sec

tion that had no management at all for the past three years as a mess. He uses the results of his tests to help property owners with their own wetland and prairie projects.

Duschane figures he’s worked on more than 500 wetland restoration projects in Lenawee and Hillsdale counties.

Duschane’s agency has until May 31 to conduct the burn at Schoonover WPA, but he expects the job to be accomplished long before then. His crew at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge east of Toledo completed the annual refresher course this week and they’re ready for burns whenever weather permits.

About 20 acres of grassland on the north side of the preserve will be burned. The plan calls for overseeding in the area that had no management.

The property encompassing the Schoonover WPA was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1991. In addition to the grassland, the site contains about 53 acres of wetlands and eight acres of upland forest.

Duschane isn’t aware of any recent survey of species, but a variety of waterfowl, wading birds and shore birds have been observed at the preserve. He spotted an osprey overhead during a recent visit.

As the name implies, the waterfowl production area was established as a means to produce ducks.

“It’s really a phenomenal spot,” Duschane said. “It’s a wonderful place for ducks.”

Not to mention the songbirds, pheasants, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects that also call the preserve home.

The preserve has a parking area on the north side off Medina Road and also on the east where Medina curves down to meet Canandaigua Road. The site is open to the public for a variety of activities, such as photography, environmental education, hiking and wildlife observation. Hunting is also allowed in season, but only if non-toxic shot is used.

There are no restricted seasons, however, human presence could be disruptive to nesting birds.

   - March 24, 2004

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