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.

2003.12.17 Our walks don't measure up

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Do you ever get the urge to talk about sidewalks? I don’t suppose it’s ever happened to me, either, except that I developed an urge to write a column and get on with life. The burden of filling this space every week sometimes prevents other adventures.

I’ve marvelled at Morenci’s new downtown sidewalks. I don’t complain and criticize. I just look and marvel at their size. I think narrower would be better, but it doesn’t bother me that much.

It’s a little more snow to shovel for the Main Street business owners, but it’s probably worth it. Some day Morenci might be the site of a major demonstration against human rights violations. There could be a mass march on City Hall in which throngs of people meet at Wakefield Park and head downtown along Main Street’s south sidewalk. The width will be important to help facilitate the movement of citizens in an orderly fashion.

I think the only disparaging remark I’ve made about the new walks is in relation to New York City. I’ve often wondered if our walks are as big as those in Manhattan. I’ve walked sidewalks in Manhattan that were completely filled with people. When the crowd moves, you move. One big flow of humanity, pausing only for a stoplight.

It’s nothing special. Just a typical busy day in that part of town.

In Morenci, the sidewalks seem to be pretty busy right after the Town and Country Festival parade. The candy is all collected from the street and people head west to the park. Sometimes a person has to pause for a fraction of second to avoid running into someone. That’s about as hectic as it gets here.

SEVERAL CITIES in California are using rubber sidewalks in some areas. The idea for a flexible walk came to a Santa Monica street inspector one night in a dream.

“In my dream, sidewalks were all bending and twisting, but there was no cracking,” Valeriano told a newspaper reporter. “I woke up and said, ‘Wow! Elastic sidewalks! I wonder how we can make them?’ “

He noticed the rubberized floor tiles at a fitness center and talked to a company about producing sidewalks. The company grinds up used automobile tires, bakes them under pressure and dyes them a desired color. Santa Monica goes for brick red.

Now, when tree roots push the sidewalk up, the walk is removed, the roots are trimmed, and the sidewalk is replaced. The rubber walks are said to be durable enough for skateboards and high heels, but softer than concrete to cushion falls. They cost twice the amount of a concrete walk, but they’re expected to last for decades.

In many California cities, sidewalks are steam cleaned several times a year. In Winthrop Harbor, Ill., it’s illegal to launch a missile onto a sidewalk. In Frederick, Md., sidewalks must have a grade toward the street that’s between one half and one quarter of a inch. Oren, Utah, has a document called the Missing Sidewalk Report.

MORENCI’S NEW walks, at their widest, must match New York City’s, I figured, so during a visit to the city last month, I remembered to check out the width. This probably isn’t a fair comparison since I measured only once, when I was standing at the corner of Broadway and 72nd. That’s not an exceptionally busy part of town.

The Manhattan walk measured 24 shoe lengths. When I got back to Morenci, I searched out a wide portion around the Bank of Lenawee and measured a little over 19 shoes. I was wearing a different pair of shoes back in Morenci, but a quick analysis determined the NYC walk was about 25.3 feet wide. The new Morenci walk measured only 19.3 feet. That’s quite a difference. We’re never going to be able to handle the crowds of Manhattan without some jostling, but better to jostle here than in the big city.

I feel that I should apologize to someone about my crude reference to Morenci’s wide walks now that I’ve discovered that they aren’t so wide after all. I stand corrected, but I’ll still walk with a swagger. There’s plenty of room.

    – Dec. 17, 2003

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