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.

Morenci graduate a homicide victim 2012.07.18

Written by David Green.

Burrow LisaA 2006 Morenci Area High School graduate was among two women murdered Friday night in Blissfield.

Lisa (Burrow) Michelle Gritzmaker, 24, and her sister, Amy Lynn Merrill, 33, were shot to death at Merrill’s Lane Street home in Blissfield at about 11:40 p.m. Friday. Their mother, Robin McCowan, 52, was injured in the shooting and remains hospitalized. Gritzmaker was reportedly almost eight months pregnant and is the mother of two children. Her slain sister had three children.

Law enforcement officials continue their search for the homicide suspect, Thomas Jack Fritz, 38, of Sylvania, a former boyfriend of Merrill’s. Fritz is charged with two counts of open murder and one count of assault with intent to commit murder.

In addition to local police, the Michigan State Police First District Fugitive Team and the U.S. Marshals Service are involved in the search.

Fritz is described as a white male, 5-9, 186 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. He may be driving a burgundy 2002 Honda four-door with Ohio plates. Fritz is considered armed and dangerous and citizens are cautioned not to approach him.

The Toledo Blade reported Tuesday afternoon that Merrill and Fritz, a former military police officer who served in Iraq, have a two-year-old son together and were to discuss custody issues Friday night.

Anyone with information about Fritz’s location is urged to call the state police at 517/241-8000.

Gritzmaker and her sister, Stephanie, earned high school diplomas from Morenci in 2006.

Edititor's Note: Thomas Fritz later killed himself in West Virginia.

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