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.

2007.02.28 Tales from the rear

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When Colleen and I were out walking Saturday, we traveled down Bank Street and I gazed out onto the former sledding territory of my youth.

Bank Street has to be Morenci’s most unusual road, ranked just ahead of Mowrey Street.

It sounds as though a bank used to be located there, but it must be referring to the embankment. This is the hilly region of a very flat city. A glacier did something along that southwestern boundary, and what it left behind were sledding opportunities.

Where Orchard Street curves around to join Stephenson Street, that’s been the traditional sledding hill for at least three generations of Morenci kids, probably more.

It’s never enough to just ride a sled down the hill. You have to see how many kids you can pile on top of a sled. You have to join up sleds in a train. You have to stand up as you go down the hill. You have to build ramps of snow and fly into the air.

All of these things lead to incidents that parents should never witness. They don’t need to watch their child get mowed down by the sled from behind. They don’t need to see their little dear fly into the air, roll across the snow half a dozen times, and lie still for what seems like forever. Until he gets run over by another sledder. This is called Winter Fun.

I remember being that kid who had to go down the hill standing up. I would make it about three-fourths of the way down, lose my balance and fly off, lying in the snow wondering if all my limbs still worked. And then I would feel the runners of Jim Johnston’s sled pass over, or if lucky, just Renée Allen or Addie Sue Peltz coming down on a snow saucer—a smooth pass without any blades.

As we walked down Bank Street Saturday, another incident came to mind. It always does when I’m walk along there, no matter what time of the year.

Bank Street offers two sledding options. There’s a fantastic path that heads north along the edge of the bank. A good slope for decent speed and a curve near the bottom that’s likely to send you into some trees.

You’re supposed to be able to steer those sleds. My Western Flyer was built that way. Twist that wooden bar at the front and the runners would follow. It might have worked to some extent, but more often than not, a rider would quickly abandon his craft before striking the tree. And sometimes the rider would roll into the tree anyway.

I don’t remember spending a lot of time on that hill. There were railroad ties implanted in the soil and one of those sticking up too far could result in a spectacular head-over-heels maneuver.

When I walk Bank Street, I think about the stock watering tank that we found in the woods below the hill. By “we” I probably mean Jim and John Bryner and maybe Bob Ackland.

This leads to the other Bank Street sledding option. The short but steep drop straight down between the trees.

One of us spotted the old watering tank—rectangular and open on top—and one of us decided this could provide a thrilling ride down the hill. It was metal, it could act as a sort of armored device. What would it matter if you hit the trees when you were inside a tank?

Somehow we managed to drag the thing to the top of the hill and we placed it on the biggest sled. Everybody got inside except the pusher who hopped in as it started moving downhill.

It still seemed like a good idea as we began our steep descent. Maybe it would have been a good idea if someone had thought about tying the tank to the sled.

Instead, it rolled off near the bottom of the hill and what resulted was something no parent should have been allowed to see.

My brother Dan recently sent me a note about Ulf Buck, a blind psychic from Meldorf, Germany, who claims that buttocks can be used to predict the future.

By running his fingers along a number of lines on the surface of a client's naked buttocks—like the palm of the hand—he tells them about their future monetary success, family life, health and happiness.

I mentioned this to my wife and she thinks the buttocks are more likely to tell stories from the past. Somewhere on my derriere is the tale of that water tank day on the Bank Street hill.

    – Feb. 28. 2007 

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