2007.11.07 Been there, done that

Written by David Green.


Saturday morning I toured the familiar sites of the Michigan International Speedway, such as Mile 1 and Mile 2 and the finish line.

I was there for the state cross country finals to photograph Zach Phillips on his way to a 21st place finish.

The state athletic association provides vans to carry photographers around to a few stopping points. The first stop is about 300 yards up from the starting line—a mass of 150 runners.

Next is the one-mile stop with the sun mostly behind the runners. Not a great location. Then comes the money shot at two miles. Good lighting, runners are somewhat spread out, plenty of space for everyone to work.

After that, the van enters the speedway track and makes a quick dash to the finish line.

While traveling from mile one to two, another old-timer brought up the meet about five years ago when a couple of young bucks were at the wheel of the two vans and they actually raced each other to the next stop. It was one of the sporting highlights of my career.

When I’m heading north on Onsted Highway toward M-50, I always think about chestnuts. You go down a big hill, take a road off to the left and end up where I went once to write a story about a man who grew chestnut trees.

As I headed home from MIS Saturday, other recollections from the past came to mind.  In my head, I was seeing one of those Google maps with the little flags showing locations and describing what happened.

A couple miles farther down the road, I passed the turnoff I took to write a story about Morenci graduate Melissa Gallatin who was studying turtles.

Next came Onsted High School where I took pictures of Morenci Middle School science students. I’ve been there for basketball and softball, too.

There’s a break of a few miles before the next place arrives—the turnoff to Ramsdell Park. I’ve written about that great place sometime in the past.

Next comes one of Blaine Baker’s fields and the site of a farm story. Next comes the Baker house where I went to write about his wife, Barbara, and her kaleidoscope making. Farther down the road was more of Blaine’s fields and the site of another year of the annual farmer gathering. This one is where a guy made smoke come out of drainage tile.

Then there’s Craig and Lorraine Pillow’s house—a family good for two feature stories, so far. Then there’s Craig’s church, one of many featured in a special section we once printed.

I’ve been to Clayton many times for the annual festival and once for a story about the village Sam Schibler created. All of his miniature buildings are now gone.

Next comes the intersection at M-34, where I once skidded on ice and the incident made its way into a story about “close calls with death.”

• Tomer Road, leading to the north side of Lake Hudson for a few photographs that made it into print.

• The main entrance into Lake Hudson and many more photographs plus some stories along the way.

• Down the hill from Haley Road—A photo of drainage tile work and a story about an electrical substation.

• Medina Road to the east—A photo of a tree fallen in a storm, a photo of a spider web in the early morning and a sunset over the lake.

• Medina Road to the west—a variety of stories based in Medina over the years.

• Ted Hutchison’s house—The corn burner story.

• Canandaigua Cemetery—Looking for items for the epitaph story.

• The Canandaigua village limit sign—once used in an Observer promotional advertisement.

• Canandaigua—fire, bridge out, bridge in, 4-H photo, new pastor, big vegetable, old store, river study.

• Packard Road—a no-till story, a Dick Munk story, a manure pit.

• The stone house at the curve—Cub Scout photos.

• Lime Creek Road—a fire to the west, photos at the golf course, Dick Taylor’s old house, Bob Dister’s new house, grass waterway story.

• Back to M-156 and a garbage pickup photo, then train stories, storm damage, fire.

• McVay’s osage orange tree.

And on it goes, all the way into town.

I’m often amazed at how much news we get out of this rural area year after year. Fortunately, there’s a lot more to do.


  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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