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.

2006.07.06 Can Big Brother tell when thighs are done?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

It got my attention recently when someone wrote the “Click and Clack Talk Cars” newspaper column regarding their Ford Focus. The heated seats of the Focus worked so well that they burned the car’s seats, his wife’s winter coat and untold damage to the wife herself. Click (or was it Clack?) checked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and found that there had been a few other similar reports attributed to the Focus.

Clack (or maybe Click) added that while it may be a fine trick to play on your passengers, it would be a good idea to get the seats fixed. I immediately thought of the similar seats on my Buick and the similar fun I’ve had with them.

I once had a passenger who asked me to turn off the seat warmers as a warm seat made her feel like she needed to visit the restroom. Of course, after that admission, I always tried to turn on the seats on her side whenever possible. Finally, she learned where the switch was and I couldn’t get away with it anymore.

But what if I had overheating seats like the Focus? I always said the seat warmers would come in handy if I was bringing home hot food in the winter, but it might be a good idea to check for any comparable complaints about the Buick’s seats.

Luckily, I couldn’t find any seat warmer complaints by Park Avenue owners, but almost all of the problems mentioned seemed familiar. Like the person complaining about the ash tray, for example.

Yes, one person’s biggest complaint about the car was that the ash tray wouldn’t stay closed. They said it was because of a poor design and claimed a new ash tray cost $125. I’m thinking this person must have been a smoker. I noticed the same thing when I test drove my Buick, but after confirming I don’t smoke, the dealership offered to make sure it never opened again, no charge. A strategically-placed screw later, the ash tray has stayed in place for two years. And $125 stayed put in my pocket, to be spent on car repairs another day.

A second person complained that the intake manifold went bad at 120,000 miles and cost $1,300 to fix. I had the same problem at about 110,000 miles and it cost a little over $1,200. The similarity in timing and dollars spent seemed a little spooky.

A third owner claims to have had the intake manifold problem twice, but doesn’t say at what point or how much it cost. He also said that his power steering unit just fell off the car and he doesn’t know what could have caused the bolts to break, although he admits he also recently ran over a recap off a truck tire at high speed and bent a rim in the process.

And yet, he doesn’t understand how the power steering bolts could have broken? What’s more, the poor car has 179,000 miles on it, which I’d consider a miracle the way he seems to drive it. And I’ll bet he doesn’t have his car insurance at the same company I do.

My insurance company recently offered me $50 if I’d attach some gadget called a TripSensor to my Buick’s computer diagnostic port for six months. The TripSensor is designed to record information for every trip I take, such as start and end time, distance traveled, top speed, etc.

It sounds like a good way to incriminate yourself, but the company promises that any information gathered will not affect your policy status or premium. However, if you are involved in an accident, they may be required to provide data collected to investigating police or parties opposing you in a lawsuit. Do you suppose the lawyers would settle for the $50 I was paid to gather the evidence?

That prospect doesn’t concern me as much as the possibility that Big Brother at insurance headquarters might find a way to use his connection to the Buick’s computer port to start sending me messages over the car’s warning system.

I can imagine it now...I accidentally hit 56 mph and the insurance police set off the Buick’s warning alarm. Or they send me a notice, complaining about my choice in compact discs. Or the message display starts flashing “Did you mail in your premium check?” Or the worst of all, “Turn off the seat warmers, your passenger is on fire!”

  - July 6, 2006 

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