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.

2013.01.16 Becoming a SPUGist

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I had a question for my neighbor, Adam Johnson, a week or so ago. I think it was the day he came into the Observer office seeking support for the Rex Riley Soup and Pie Supper program book.

Adam and I are neighbors in a couple of ways. We're residential neighbors because our back yards meet. We can steal each other's tomatoes in August. We're business neighbors, also, because after the Dunbar Auction house was demolished, there's nothing but a little grass and asphalt that separates the Observer from his hardware store.

We're also vehicular neighbors because we often travel together to sporting events. I go for photographs; he goes for...why do you drive these distances, Adam? I guess he's just a true fan—one of those rare people who have no relatives on the court but show up for most games anyway.

It was during our fall season car rides that we occasionally discuss movies and I told Adam that he has to watch "The Wire." He used to live on the East Coast. He used to be a policeman. "The Wire" would be perfect for him.

This is why, when he visited the Observer a few days ago, I asked him what he got for Christmas. It was a leading question because I called his wife one day suggesting that she buy season one of "The Wire" for him.

He mentioned several gifts that he received, but not what I was expecting. I finally had to say, "Did you get any DVDs?" and then he confirmed that he was ready to watch the Baltimore police department vs. the local drug gangs. Yes, "The Wire" was under his Christmas tree.

And then he asked me what I got for Christmas and I could only stand there with a blank face before breaking into an embarrassed smile and saying that I didn't remember.

Don't feel sorry for me. It's my choice. I've been working my way out of Christmas presents in recent years. I'm not one of those people who helps the economy grow. I want to thin down, not accumulate.

I told my children last year that I wanted only items that I could consume or use up. It was great. I received cane sugar from Louisiana along with some grapefruit. I got some Apple iTunes credit and some geocaching material to send out across the world. One of the little items they call travel bugs was left in a cache in Morenci and is now in Florida.

This year, Adam, I received a pair of heavy-duty socks and a mold that makes "The Scream" ice cubes. I have a package of falwasser crispbread from Australia and a book about wetlands, a little headlamp and photographs. 

I admit it, I've become an unofficial member of SPUG—the Society for the Prevention of Useless Gift Giving. SPUG was founded in New York City exactly 100 years ago last month by Eleanor Belmont and Anne Morgan. 

Eleanor's husband, August, described SPUG as an effort to "eliminate, by co-operative effort, the custom of giving indiscriminately at Christmas, and to further in every way the true Christian spirit of unselfishness and independent thought, good-will, and sympathetic understanding of the real needs of others."

Don't buy stuff (from China, most likely) just to buy stuff, and better yet, give something to those who really need it.

I understand there are people who don't agree with this notion at all, and I know there are many who agree, in principal, but can't break free of the cycle. That's OK. I'm SPUGish, but I don't expect anyone else to feel that way.

By the way, I forgot to mention that I also received a bottle of Sarson's barley malt vinegar and a bottle of Camden's Blue Label Catsup.

For lunch one day last week I fried an egg from one of Kevin Arquette's chickens and reached for the catsup. I shook it up, gave it a squeeze and nothing but liquid came out. I shook it even harder, gave a squeeze and nothing but catsup liquid. What could be more disgusting?

There is something. It's when you grab the wrong bottle and pour malt vinegar on your egg. Of course I ate it anyway. A SPUGist isn't about to waste a drop of a rare Christmas gift.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016