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.

2002.07.17 Waking with the birds

Written by David Green.

BY DAVID GREEN

Friday, July 5, approximately 5:30 a.m. Half asleep in a tent in the back yard of my sister’s cottage. Suddenly I’m torn awake by the sound of a bird overhead.

It catches me by surprise. It’s a mourning dove. One loud and nearby call and then nothing more. That’s it. The first bird of the morning.

Does this sound right to the rest of you early risers who awaken easily to the sound of birds at daybreak? A mourning dove?

Doves have such a distinctive call. A plaintive cooing that seemed so familiar and yet a little strange that morning. Ever since the infamous 5-9 Day of 2000, when our back yard spruce went down in the storm, we haven’t had a dove family in the yard. I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve heard one up close.

It’s the male that gives the characteristic mourning call. He was probably just defending his territory, and I certainly wasn’t challenging it.

A dove fact: Unlike other birds who take a little water and tilt back their heads to drink, the dove can sip it up through the beak. It leaves its bill right in the water while it drinks.

Approximately 5:35 a.m. Now the robins come alive. This is what I’m accustomed to hearing early in the morning. Robins have a very characteristic morning voice—actually about the same as their late evening voice. It’s much different from the usual daytime talking. It’s not really a song as much as a lot of short, quick, musical notes.

On the mornings when I wake up early and am unable to get back to sleep, that first robin lets me know that I’m going to be tired later in the day. It tells me: “It’s too late now. Morning is here, it’s getting light.”

A robin fact: The female is the nest builder. She makes a cup-shaped nest that has an outer foundation of long grass, twigs, paper and feathers woven together. The inner bowl of the nest is lined with mud and smeared with her breast. Later, softer material is added to cushion the eggs.

Probably about 5:50 a.m. Now the remainder have joined in. It’s all the little guys, sparrows, I suppose. It’s getting louder out there now. There’s no more sleeping with all of that going on.

It sounds as though there are dozens in the area. I’m assuming they’re house sparrows, which aren’t really sparrows at all. They’re weaver finches. They get pretty aggressive when they’re protecting their territory, and that means they get pretty noisy, which they’re doing as I lay in the tent.

Sparrow fact: These birds are everywhere, but only for last 120 years. A classic case of human intervention gone awry, the house sparrow was introduced to this country in 1851 when a hundred birds were released in Brooklyn, NY.

Approximately 6:15 a.m. If I thought it was loud before, I was mistaken. There are a lot of blue jays living in that neighborhood and they’re all having a morning brawl in the pine trees near the tent.

They might seem like bullies, but there’s a lot to like about a jay. The color is stunning, the variety of calls is most entertaining, and they’re just a lot of fun to watch.

A blue jay fact: Blue jays are good at imitating the call of a hawk. They often give it when a hawk is circling overhead.

Those are morning stories and there’s room for one from the evening.

May 1971, Leelanau Peninsula. A quiet pine woods at dusk, back from the shore of Lake Michigan. A bird calls. It almost sounds electric. It’s a hermit thrush.  It’s simply one of the most amazing sounds to hear in an evening woods. There’s nothing else like it.

Summer is only half over. There’s still time for vacationing, still time to wake up somewhere in a tent. When you’re out there, don’t forget to listen to the birds. They have some very interesting things to say.

    – July 17, 2002

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