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.
  • 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 schools moving forward with bond proposal 2012.12.19

Written by David Green.


The first step in a proposed bond issue was approved by members of the Morenci Board of Education at a special meeting Thursday.

Although still at a very preliminary stage, the levy would not increase the tax rate paid by district residents. Instead, the existing bond would be continued for a longer period.

The bond would help the district meet maintenance costs at the three existing buildings to address a variety of interior and exterior issues.

During a meeting Thursday, the Building and Grounds committee evaluated three proposals for architects and construction managers.

“With the kind of projects we’re looking at, on their own I wouldn’t even consider hiring a construction manager,” said superintendent of schools Michael Osborne, “but we would have so many projects going on at once.”

Board president Scott Merillat spoke of the advantage of having one company handle the architecture work and another firm to serve as construction manager. With the arrangement, he said, one company will be able to check for problems in the other firm’s plans.

Erica Metcalf, the school’s finance director, suggested hiring the architect now and seeking bids for a manager at a later date. The key to moving forward, she said, is to get the bond documents to the state Department of Treasury as soon as possible.

The committee recommended hiring the Kingscott architectural firm—the company used in the middle school construction project. The board later approved that motion by a 4-0 vote.

The board read through a list of suggested maintenance needs ranging from roofing problems to internet capabilities, from bus purchases to aging plumbing. 

The list began with the knowledge that the district has serious technology needs, Osborne said. Michigan is joining a nationwide effort to move standardized testing from paper and pencil to an on-line format. Morenci doesn’t have the equipment nor the internet capabilities to handle that change.

Board members discussed tackling some of the suggested needs even before district residents consider a bond proposal. About $70,000 remains in the building fund from the middle school project and that money must be spent before the current fiscal year ends.

The outside bleachers are a major concern, said board member Phil McCaskey, but there might be more urgent needs. For example, he said, a security system for the school should probably move into the top three items that could be addressed with the remaining funds.

The WiFi system in the school was also listed as a major problem, plus the lack of a filtration system for the heating plants at both school sites.

Cost estimates for the top needs will be obtained for the board’s January meeting to see what might be accomplished with the $70,000.

Other suggested maintenance projects:

• bleachers, inside and outside;

• high school parking lot;

• high school roof;

• bus garage roof and plug-in heaters;

• energy savings projects;

• fire safety alarm problems;

• public address systems;

• elementary school heating system;

• asbestos abatement at the high school and elementary school;

• technology needs, including computers, switches, servers, wireless ports, telephone system.

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