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.

2009.01.14 All of a sudden, my opinion seems to matter

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

This must be the busiest time of year for those in the survey business, or at least it’s their favorite time of year for bothering me. I’m in the process of filling out an Arbitron radio ratings diary (the second time in two years they’ve asked me to do this), plus I’ve just finished completing a phone book’s worth of questions for the Census Bureau.

Several months ago, I received a letter from the Department of Commerce, saying in a few days I would receive a questionnaire in the mail for the American Community Survey. It turns out my address was chosen, not me personally, so they had no idea who I was until I returned the survey.

The survey’s purpose was to collect information about education, housing and jobs. Government agencies then supposedly use the information to determine where schools, highways, hospitals and other services are needed. Since Fayette just got a new school, is on a main highway just six miles from an interstate and can’t seem to find a doctor so the idea of a hospital seems impossible, it would seem like a waste of time to fill out the survey. But they’re not allowing me to make that decision.

No, they make it clear that my response is required by law and that the United States Code imposes a penalty for not responding. Probably the worst penalty they could come up with would be to make me fill out a few more forms, but first they had to send the original one.

After the initial letter, came a wait of several weeks with no survey ever arriving. Just about the time I was thinking they had changed their mind or forgotten about me, I returned home one day to find my apartment had been visited by the Census Bureau. A field agent wasted an entire afternoon to drive to Fayette from Detroit and leave his business card and a letter asking me to call if I needed any help filling out the form.

Help? Nah, how about just sending me the form so we can get this over with? Another month passed by, then I received another letter in the mail identical to the original, telling me to watch for the survey. Excuse me, I have been watching for a couple of months now. This time, they were serious, as I received it the next week. The following day, before I’d even had a chance to open the package, I got a postcard reminding me to return the survey as soon as possible. After waiting almost three months to send out the survey, now they’re in a hurry. OK, OK, let’s get to it.

I loved the questions asking for more information about the address on the mailing label. Choices included mobile home, one-family house, and “Boat, RV, van, etc.” Next they wanted to know about when it was built. Is “Chevy Van, 1984” an acceptable answer? Who has an RV or van as a mailing address?

Then there’s the question “Is there a business (such as a store or barber shop) or a medical office on this property?” If you’re not sure, the instructions give these easy hints: “A business, such as a grocery store or barber shop, is easily recognizable from the outside and usually has a separate entrance. A medical office is a doctor’s or dentist’s office regularly visited by patients.” Thanks for clearing that up.

I probably shouldn’t be making fun of the questionnaire, especially if there’s a chance something good could come of it. In fact, the longer I fill out this Arbitron radio diary, the more I think Fayette needs its own radio station.

When I filled out a ratings diary last time, I complained about the lousy Christmas music played by what was then my favorite classic rock station. This year, the station decided to include Christmas tunes from other types of music, adding Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby (with and without David Bowie), Nat King Cole and others to the play list.

 You can probably guess my reaction to that. I changed stations in November and haven’t returned. My Arbitron diary will have no mention of my former favorite station. I just wish the Census questionnaire broadened its scope to include entertainment options. That’s what Fayette really needs, a radio station programmed by me.

Just think of it, air waves filled with Meat Loaf, Billy Idol, Waylon Jennings, AC/DC, Warren Zevon, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Roky Erickson, Darden Smith, Neil Young, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett and recording artists even more obscure. Now, if the Commerce Department will just write that check....

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