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

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.

2006.04.19 Catching up with Mrs. Butkus

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Frequent readers of this space may remember the story of my niece, Shannon, and her adventures with Hurricane Rita last fall. Last month, the death of my Aunt Sue resulted in our paths crossing in person for the first time in 15 years. That gave us about half of Shannon’s life to catch up on.

I thought the last time I had seen her was in 1990, when I took her and her brother to a Toledo Mud Hens game where then 14-year-old Shannon became fascinated with Tidewater outfielder Darren Reed. Various other family moves kept her away from this area and after college, she settled in Texas, one of her many homes along the way.

After some discussion, we decided the last time we saw each other was really the following year when she, her brother and mother (my much-older sister) made a road trip to Michigan while brother-in-law Gary was overseas in the first Gulf War.

Shannon got married last month, which now allows me to refer to her as Mrs. Butkus.  Husband George, the commodities trader she met on eharmony.com., is a relative of Dick Butkus, the Hall of Fame middle linebacker formerly of the Chicago Bears. I’m not quite sure what the connection is, but Dick isn’t closely enough related to have attended the ceremony. Still, that’s a bigger claim to fame than if she had married Darren Reed. And her completely unbiased uncle thinks it’s Reed’s loss.

Besides, there still was glamour attached to the ceremony as the wedding party had their hair done by a famous company. The hairdressers had worked in Hollywood for years before returning to their native Texas. They did the hair for the movie “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” which was shot in the state. I pointed out to Shannon that her hair may have been done by the same person who rinsed out Burt Reynolds’ toupee.

I asked Shannon why she didn’t sell publicity rights to eharmony.com in return for them paying for the wedding, but apparently, there are many more couples meeting and getting married this way than I would have guessed. She said they do send some sort of nice present to couples who send in wedding photos and there’s a yearly drawing for a bigger prize.

Since she had just gotten her wedding photos back, she brought them with her. My favorite was one of the wedding cake which inexplicably sat in front of a painting of a naked woman. Where was the reception, the Playboy Mansion? She also had photos of a side trip to Luckenbach, Texas, the town immortalized in song by Waylon Jennings. See, listening to her uncle play all his Waylon cassettes when she was a child stuck with her.

I decided to push my luck and asked if she had signed singer/writer Kinky Friedman’s petition to run for Texas governor. Not only had she done so, it turns out she worked one summer in Friedman’s hometown of Kerrville while attending Baylor. If the Kinkster happens to read this, I should point out that Shannon is a successful speech pathologist in Houston and would be a perfect choice to head the Texas Board of Health in a Friedman administration. Just a suggestion, Kinky.

One of my favorite memories of seeing Shannon again was when she asked her mother at dinner if Aunt Sue’s death made her the oldest person in the family now. Not quite, because there’s a couple of slightly older cousins, but I could swear I heard Jethro Tull’s “Too Old to Rock and Roll and Too Young to Die” playing in the background.

I also got a kick out of  hearing that George framed last fall’s column about Shannon and hung it in their bathroom where visiting friends would be likely to see it. What the heck, her adventures made a good column.

And she’s still continuing to be newsworthy. She returned last week from a belated honeymoon cruise to Belize where she was stung by a jellyfish while snorkeling. Somehow, my being stung by a bee while sitting on the sofa in Fayette just doesn’t compare. Maybe I’d get enough material for a book if I just followed her around for awhile.

And if not, at least I’d get enough columns for George to finish papering the bathroom. Then, if Dick Butkus stops by with their wedding present, he’ll have something to read.

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