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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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Morenci school board 2012.10.10

Written by David Green.


Morenci schools should soon have a "student success coach" in place to assist students that may have trouble graduating. Funding for the position would come from state money for at-risk students.

The coach would follow middle and high school students in need of extra help, explained secondary principal Kelli Campbell, and make daily contact with the students, and their parents and teachers as needed. Tutoring time would be organized and students would be assisted with organizational skills.

The coach would also be in charge of in-school suspension students in a classroom rather than in the school office.

Several factors would be considered in identifying students most at risk, added superintendent Michael Osborne.

"If any student is struggling, whether you’re labeled or unlabeled," he said, "our goal is to support you."

The district has limited funds to use and decisions need to be made about where to focus the money.

"To me, this fits in real clearly with what we’re trying to do,“ he said. “This is a really good use of funds and fits well into our plan for student success.”

There's a strong effort at the state level for intervention...

The only problem with the new position, said board member Phil McCaskey during a committee meeting Oct. 1, is to put the program in place only to have state funding later cut. That would leave Morenci to pay for continuing the program.

That’s true for most any state funding, said finance director Erica Metcalf, but there is strong support at the state level for intervention of this kind.

A job posting was expected to be listed by the end of last week.

BOND—Metcalf reminded the board that work needs to move forward if the board intends to seek additional financial support from taxpayers. In the past the board has discussed the possibility of voter approval for a bond, or for extending the current levy at no additional cost, to pay for several maintenance projects. 

Roof and parking lot repair, a security entry system and computer upgrades are among the needs discussed in the past.

"We need to get a more accurate view of needs and costs and determine the best direction to take," said finance committee chair Laura Spencer.

SPORTS—Athletic director Phil Stark sought direction from the board about moving forward with a golf program in the spring. The board approved an agreement to accept Waldron students on the golf team, but Stark said there is only one student interested. Morenci had only two students last spring.

McCaskey said that no matter what the sport, student participation is needed if the district is going to pay for coaches, transportation, fees, etc. 

"Let’s get the word out," he said about golf. “Let’s find out if there’s interest.”

Spencer asked if any other sports were in a similar position and Osborne mentioned that wrestling numbers were quite low last year.

Later, in the regular board meeting, Jeff Nofziger and Loren Delmonico were hired as co-coaches for the wrestling program.

OFFICE—Osborne said that he is still looking at the proposal from the Lenawee ISD to take over the district's business office duties and he's also continuing to examine a proposal to move the board office to the empty rooms at the high school.

He told the board that the Morenci Education Foundation is seeking office space to store files and to meet on a monthly basis.

GLASSMEN—The agreement with the Glassmen drum and bugle group for use of the school during the summer will not be renewed due to occasional scheduling problems for use of the building.

INSPECTION—A visit from the county health department found two non-critical items at the elementary school kitchen which were corrected and two critical problems with the new steamers at the high school. Minor issues at the concession stand were addressed.

The board voted to buy an upgrade to the district's point-of-sale computer system for school lunches.

RADIOS—The district has until the end of the year to buy 10 new bus radios before a change in federal regulations makes the existing units inoperable. Osborne suggested that a cost savings might be realized if buying with Hudson.

STAFF—Tina Rohr was hired as a middle school aide/paraprofessional and Levi Hoffman as a lunch room supervisor and instructional aide. Teachers Doug Rupp, Lisa Runion and Brad Brown will be paid to serve as lunch room supervisors, with pay coming from the cafeteria fund. Runion will also serve as an after-school tutor.

Teacher Ashley Joughin was hired to serve as a lunch-time tutor for middle school students and Kim Mohr as a tutor for both lunch-time and after school. Pay for the tutors will come from at-risk funds.

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