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.

Gene Rupp hired as Fayette's digital director 2013.03.13

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Fayette schools will have a new administrative post filled in August following the hiring of Gene Rupp as the Director of Digital Services. 

Rupp currently serves as a grant administrator with the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center (NwOESC), an organization serving schools in four counties with a variety of services ranging from special education and gifted education to psychological services.

Rupp, a resident of Wauseon, began working in the field of education late in life after a career in the military and as a pastor. He joined the NwOESC 13 years ago and he’s had a variety of duties with the organization. His wife, Ellen, works as a reading specialist at Fayette Elementary School.

Fayette superintendent Erik Belcher knew Rupp would be a good candidate to fill Fayette's new post, but he wasn't sure he could convince him to leave his current job.

"Gene has written $10 million in grants with the NwOESC and he has certification for gifted education," Belcher said.

Rupp has also helped administer the 21st Century Education program, an after-school tutoring project. Fayette is now in its fourth year with the program.

"I'm really excited with the possibilities that Gene will bring beyond grant-writing," Belcher said. "It's opened up so many different paths."

Seeking grants will be an integral part of Rupp's work with Fayette, because, Belcher said, "We need to look at alternative sources of funding in addition to tax revenue."

In addition to seeking grants, Rupp will assist Fayette with developing more opportunities for gifted students; create and administer the Fayette Digital Academy to offer more on-line opportunities for students, including earning college credit while in high school; assist the school's technology coordinator; serve as an educational leader with the 21st Century program; work with local businesses to learn about their needs to prepare students to enter the workforce; and assist the superintendent with staff evaluations.

New staff regulations from the state will require nine and a half hours of evaluation annually for every teacher, Belcher said.

"It's good," he added, "but the time constraints are overwhelming."

Belcher doesn't expect that Rupp will accomplish all of those tasks in the first year and he expects the job to grow over time.

Even though the position will be paid for through a variety of cost savings over the next year, Belcher wants it to become self-supporting through grants and increased student activity in the school district from students currently enrolled in home schooling and virtual schooling.

He's already heard from some other administrators about contracting services through Rupp, such as a possible role in serving as a gifted education coordinator, so that could bring in some unexpected revenue.

"I'm excited about the changes and also nervous about the changes," Belcher said. "Now it's a matter of making it work."

Rupp is looking forward to the challenge.

“It has some great potential for benefitting the students of Fayette,” he said. “It’s education fitting the student rather than the student fitting into education.”

Rupp said that student-centered education not only benefits the student, but it strengthens the entire district, as well.

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