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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  • Front.ropes
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Fayette hires a new utility/tax clerk 2013.05.01

Written by David Green.


Fayette has a pair of new part-time employees following the regular April village council meeting.

After a 15-minute closed session, council returned to the table to unanimously hire Becky Thatcher to serve as utility/tax clerk to replace Dee (Potter) Lawrence who retired earlier this year. Lawrence was initially going to be replaced by employees already on staff, but that proved to be too much to handle in addition to their regular jobs.

Thatcher is formerly from Wauseon and now lives south of Fayette. She has bookkeeping experience and will be paid $11.50 an hour to start, followed by a 50 cent increase at the end of a probationary period. Thatcher is expected to work 20 hours a week, and more if needed.

Kevin Howard, Jr., of Oregon, Ohio, was hired to serve as a part-time police officer. One other part-time officer was recommended by a hiring committee, but did not attend the council meeting.

ZONING—Village administrator Steve Blue told council that he knows of several locations where residents have begun building projects without first obtaining a zoning permit.

"We want to remind citizens that a permit is required first," he said, "and that the cost of the permit doubles if not obtained first."

Blue wants to meet with the zoning board to propose a change in the regulation pertaining to storage buildings. He knows of at least one situation in which a prefabricated building is considered "movable" by the owner simply because it wasn't placed on a foundation.

Blue also wants the board to address an issue in which residents are bringing in multiple sheds and placing them along their property line.

TREE—Sewer work will proceed near a tree that a resident doesn't want cut. The resident is parking his truck underneath the tree to interfere with cutting, and he's vowed to stand under it himself if cutting begins. The trench for the sewer will run about two feet from the trunk, Blue said, and cut through the root mass. He said this could result in the eventual death of the tree. The effort to obtain an easement to cut the tree continues.

SEWER WORK—Projected construction costs of the sewer project shows it costing about $400,000 below budget, however, engineering costs are about $56,000 higher than budgeted.

Because of wet conditions on Trevor Hibbard's property east of the village where construction dirt is stored, loads of fill dirt are being taken to Armstrong Excavation property. Blue said it's rumored that the village will be charged for the work at the Armstrongs, but he said that isn't the case.

In another issue with soil, the dirt showing some contamination from the former Fayette Tubular property was removed from plastic sheeting and taken to the Hibbard property where it was mixed with some other soil. Gleason told Blue it would cost about $2,500 to remove approximately 35 truckloads of the soil.

"I don't see where the village should pay for that mistake," councilor Dave Wheeler said.

Other issues are likely to arise during the project, said village solicitor Tom Thompson, and costs may "net out" at the end.

Council member Diane Brubaker wondered if the dirt could be used to create a raised walking path to keep the creek from overflowing onto the running track. The projected cost doesn't make it look feasible, Blue said, because Gleason wouldn't be able to fit its large equipment in the narrow strip of land.

The dirt was originally intended to create a sledding hill, but there may not be enough leftover dirt overall for that project, Blue said. He said ODOT would remove it if it's piled together and use it for ditch work.

PARK—Blue said the high school sophomore class has agreed to operate the park concession stand as a fund-raiser and the park board is working on an agreement. If the class pays for a license and is charged for electrical usage, said village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver, the profit may not be as high as expected.

CELL PHONES—Council took no action on a bid from Verizon to provide service for six cell phones at a cost of $217 monthly, plus $29.95 for chargers. The current contract with Nextel expires in June.

ALLEY—James Crawford and Ron Merillat, representing Fayette Christian Church, received council's permission to apply blacktop to a village alley adjacent to the church parking lot. The lot will be paved when the village streets received new blacktop.

The alley is crowned, Crawford said, and the goal would be to flatten that and create one flat surface. The lot will be striped up to the alley, which will remain for public use.

Council voted unanimously in favor of the project, with Mayor Ruth Marlatt and council member Julia Ruger absent.

DEVELOPMENT—Fulton County Economic Development Director Lisa Arens told council that the commissioners want community development teams to work with her to help with development issues. Two local representatives will be chosen to inform the county what Fayette is looking for in its future and how it expects the county office to assist.

Fayette has a good aquifer, she said, and some businesses require ample water supplies.

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