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.
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    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 2012.11.07

Written by David Green.


A retired police officer was selected from among 29 applicants to fill the new “success coach” job at Morenci Area High School.

Jay Nieman of rural Hudson was hired Monday by the Morenci Board of Education to fill the new position after a selection committee interviewed 13 candidates. He is the husband of high school science teacher Kerry Nieman.

Secondary principal Kelli Campbell described the new position as having two main components: to serve as an academic coach for students at risk of not graduating; to coordinate in-school suspensions. Campbell said that Nieman will also work toward behavior modification for students with discipline problems.

In addition to serving as a police officer, Nieman has experience working with at-risk students and serving as an athletic coach.

GOLF—Board members voted to change the boys spring golf program to an unsponsored sport. The program would continue to operate as it has in the past—eligibility rules are still followed and tournament opportunities continue—but the sport would no longer receive any funding from the school.

Board members discussed the future of the golf program at a previous meeting due to the low number of participants. Changing back to a sponsored sport would require only another vote by the board.

A combined golf program with Waldron was approved by other league schools. Morenci’s returning golfer told the board during a committee meeting that several other Morenci students expressed interest in golfing and four or five Waldron students want to join the team.

As an unsponsored sport, students would have to come up with funds to pay greens fees, tournament entry fees and other costs, if needed, such as transportation and coaches salary.

Robyn Taylor, the mother of Morenci golfer Kendrick Taylor, said that some students would have difficulty paying the costs, especially after buying clubs.

“If the numbers are there,” said personnel committee chair Phil McCaskey, “we need to rebuild the program.”

Superintendent of schools Michael Osborne cautioned that some cuts in athletics will likely be needed as the districts works to leave a deficit financial situation.

Athletic director Phil Stark told board members that participation for wrestling and competitive cheer are both higher than last year.

BOWLING—The board voted to continue the bowling program as a club sport, with volunteer coach Bruce Hite. A club sport also follows all school athletic rules. Bowling doesn’t take “unsponsored” status like the golf team because it has never been a sponsored sport in the past.

COACHES—Renae Schaffner was hired to serve as girls seventh grade basketball coach and Mitch Clark was approved as a volunteer wrestling assistant coach.

CONTRACTS—Three-year contracts were approved for bus drivers, food service workers and the elementary school custodian.

BUS—The board approved the sale of bus number 10 to Kalamazoo Metal Recyclers for $2,153. Transportation coordinator Devon Vernier stripped all parts from the bus that could be used on other vehicles.

The bus fleet received another 100 percent rating from the last inspection.

SCHOOL OF CHOICE—Audience member Peggy Decker asked if anyone follows up on students who leave the district to attend school elsewhere. She suggested that board members make phone calls to ask what could be done to bring the students back.

Supt. Osborne said there often isn’t an opportunity to contact a family. He knows that some students have chosen a district with less demanding academic requirements.

DEFICIT—Osborne said that administrators are working on a Financial Recovery Plan to present to the state. Districts with a deficit have three years to get back into the black before state officials can step in take control.

Meetings with staff and community members will be scheduled before a final plan is brought to the board for approval.

CONCESSIONS—McCaskey said the outdoor concession stand is in dire need of improvements. The athletic booster group is willing to handle updates to get the facility ready for a class to operate in the spring and fall, however, the Boosters want some accountability from groups that sell concessions.

Campbell said she would create a schedule for classes and work with groups to make sure they know when to work. Board member Ivy Hutchison suggested creating a checklist for classes to fill out at the start and the end of a season.

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