The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.

2008.05.29 Pilot Man encounter

Written by David Green.


I don’t mind keeping to myself. I lived alone for years before I was married. I’ve traveled alone many times. I’ve even read books all by myself.

So when I went to the Vreba-Hoff Dairy public hearing Thursday night, it didn’t bother me at all to quietly sit by myself.

When I first took a seat in the bleachers, a couple minutes passed before I noticed I was sitting just a few feet away from a dairy owner I’ve known for years. I don’t just know him, I even went to his 50th birthday party.

Oh great, I thought, now people are going to think I’m sitting and siding with the dairy owners. “No wonder he hasn’t written about any of the on-going controversy for a long time; he’s friends with them.”

And then I saw a rather vocal dairy critic walking my way. I’ve known him for years, too, due to his business. Oh, no, he’s going to sit next to me. I sat next to him at another hearing once and was probably immediately branded as “one of them.”

He also sat two rows in front, but to the left side. I guess I was safely in the middle.

Before long, I decided I was going to get a backache taking notes for an hour or two in the gymnasium bleachers, so I went up to the top row to rest against the wall and sat alone.

That’s the working man aloneness—separate from the crowd to appear neutral to both sides, which probably neither side believes.

On the social side, I’m just generally not the outgoing type. I don’t walk up to a stranger and start a conversation just for the sake of starting a conversation. I suppose that’s why I was so surprised when Pilot Car man shouted out, “Am I late for lunch?”

Colleen and I were driving south to Berea College for Rosanna’s graduation and we stopped for what might be described as a picnic at a rest stop on I-75. I think it was the stop just before the Big Jesus Coming Out of the Ground, as you may recall if you’ve driven to Dayton.

I had already made some wise-guy comments to Colleen about the man with the green shirt and green shorts walking a  little animal on a leash (“Is that a dog or one of those Mexican sewer rats you hear about?”)

And suddenly there he was talking to us from the next picnic table down the way.

We had such a weird lunch—fetid cheese and romaine lettuce in pita bread—that I didn’t even want him to come over and look at what we were eating.

Colleen packed, and she currently has deep affection for feta cheese cubes mixed with olive oil and....I really don’t know what else. Lemon juice, maybe? I’ve never been much of a feta cheese fan, but I was hungry and the sandwich was OK.

It wasn’t long before our visitor and his little companion were over in our area to talk about things.

How long will it take to get to Lexington? Are we still in Ohio? He seemed a little confused for a pilot car driver.

At some point in the conversation, he had pointed over to his vehicle—the one with the lights on top—and mentioned something about a pilot car.  I knew just what he was talking about.

A few weeks ago, I studied up on pilot cars before calling someone in the Fayette area about writing a story.

Pilot cars are those vehicles that travel ahead of and behind the big oversized loads on the road. I think it would have made a very interesting story, but the Fayette guy wanted no part of it. I’ll have to find another pilot in the area.

My I-75 pilot car man would have made for a fascinating story. In the few minutes we spoke, I learned that he and his wife had been accompanying a large office on wheels used by an oil company.

They were returning to Texas and he hoped to pick up another truck to guide on his way home.

At one point he bent down and grabbed his little rat dog and told us that Amber has been in a movie. She made $300 a day, which is better than Pilot Car Man did as an extra. He served as a customer in a bar for only $200 a day.

Between the traffic noise and fetid feta ingestion, I couldn’t follow all the details. There was something about an actor named George who also sings and Pilot Man never got the autograph he was promised. Someday he’ll find George on stage and he’ll get his promise fulfilled.

The moral of this story is obvious. Watch your back, but don’t be so shy; there are Pilot Men to encounter and odd stories to hear.

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