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.

Board president addresses concerns 2012.10.03

Written by David Green.

Morenci Board of Education president Scott Merillat addressed concerns he’s heard recently about the direction the school is taking.

“This last week or so I’ve heard a lot of rumors going around about things that haven’t been discussed at the board level,” he said.

Merillat summarized recent events by noting that a contract with the teachers was signed shortly before the school year, however, the board adopted a budget showing an expected $350,000 shortfall.

That amount will wipe out all reserve funds and put the district into deficit. This brings about the need for a deficit elimination plan and on top of that, he said, the board must balance the budget.

“We’ve put that burden on [district superintendent] Dr. Osborne to begin looking at things,” Merillat said.

Secondary principal Kelli Campbell looked at the situation last year and decided to combine the high school and middle school offices, and the board has discussed moving the board of education offices into the high school.

Discussion also began about making changes at the business office. Among three options, only one seemed feasible at the present time—moving the business office duties to the Lenawee ISD—and a representative from that office spoke to the board last week about how it might be handled.

A substantial savings would be realized from the move, however, there are many duties that wouldn’t be covered by the ISD and further study is needed.

“There hasn’t been any discussion about the consolidation of services with other school districts,” Merillat said, “but over the next year probably everything will be looked at. At some point we’ve got to save $350,000, and 85 percent of our costs for our school district are employees.”

There’s a continual search for ways to operate the district more efficiently. Over the years, he said, the board has had to ask for more and more from all school employees, but it’s now going beyond doing more. The board has directed the superintendent to come up with a balanced budget.

“I want to assure everyone that it’s in the best interest of the board, the superintendent, the administrators, to have a district here,” Merillat said. “That’s our goal.”

Without a local school district, the community would be substantially diminished. The school is the town, he said.

He encouraged community members to contact a board member or administrator with concerns or questions, and to check on the accuracy of rumors.

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