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.

2007.01.07 The bedtime reading ritual

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I read the other day that one in 10 parents dreads hearing the words, “Please read to me before I go to sleep.”

The study found that many parents “struggle to understand the bedtime stories they read to their children.” What? Are they reading “Introduction to Astrophysics”?

Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

Maybe they’re choosing the wrong books.

The study also found that a quarter of the parents surveyed skipped passages or made up words to get to the end of the sentence. I can see where you wouldn’t want your six-year-old to urge you on, saying, “Now just sound it out. What does the first letter say?”

The study was carried out in the United Kingdom and it appears that evening reading is going well over there. It was listed as preferable to playing in the park or watching television.

It was certainly my preference when our kids were growing up, but then again, we didn’t have a TV to compete against. The nightly reading saga was big entertainment. Just think how exciting it must be now during the Harry Potter era.

In two days this week, I heard two different radio interviewers talk with actor Jim Dale, now famous as the voice on the recorded version of the Harry Potter books.

Dale is very good. He does distinct voices for each of the main characters. In book five, he said, there were 134 characters that author J.K. Rowling wanted put to voice. Sixty of those voices were eliminated in book six, but more than 60 new ones were introduced.

Dale kept track of characters with a tape recorder so he would remember a voice when it again entered the story.

I was certainly no professional like Jim Dale, but I did try out some voices now and then. Maybe a little falsetto for female characters, but it wasn’t really popular and I was sometimes asked to stop.

Even more likely, I would get called for making a character say something inappropriate.

“Is the moon really made of green cheese?” Laura asked Ma.

“No, you little nincompoop,” she said. “Looks are deceiving. Sheesh!”

I think it was probably during the third time through the Little House series that I started to get a little loose with the process. I was just as intrigued as the kids were the first time through.

With careful finger work, it was possible to turn two pages at once and blend right into the story line despite the loss of details. Sometimes you got caught, sometimes you didn’t.

But that was never done with the Little House books. They were the sacred text of night-time reading. You don’t mess with Laura Ingalls Wilder, except, perhaps on the third time through, but by then it was tough not to play it straight because the kids already knew the story.

I still remember the power of those tales, like the time we read “The Long Winter” during the heat of July.

The window fan was running, it was probably 80° in the bedroom, but when I finished reading about the trials and tribulations of an exceptional winter in the little town of De Smet in the Dakota Territories, I half expected to look out the window and see snow on the ground. I really got drawn into those tales.

As many of you know, there’s excellent children’s literature that makes good reading for adults. “Julie of the Wolves.” “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” “Caddie Woodlawn.” “The Indian in the Cupboard.” “Danny, the Champion of the World.” I could take any of those out of the bookcase and read them tomorrow.

Well, not tomorrow. For me, tomorrow is Monday, a busy newspaper day, followed by Tuesday, a bigger newspaper day.

I was always excused from reading to the kids on Mondays because I was at work. I’d catch up on tired Tuesdays, but that would lead to another problem.

Suddenly the voice would go silent. I’d be in that relaxed state of mind and just doze off. An elbow from Ben or a “Dad, wake up!” from Rozee would get me going again.

I’ve read that one out of 10 weekly newspaper editors fears these words on a Tuesday night: “Please read to me before you fall to sleep.”

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