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.

2009.04.08 Looking back on a interesting summer in the factory

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Learning last week that Adrian’s Hydro plant is scheduled for closure got me thinking about when I was employed there during the summer of 1977, back when it was still called Bohn Aluminum. It was my last summer job before graduating from college.

Unlike the previous summer which I spent at Simplex, a long-gone Adrian factory, and actually worked a union position in the plant, this job was quite a bit different. My task was to do a fixed-asset inventory of the entire complex.

That entailed making a record of each piece of permanent equipment on the premises and attaching a tag to each to verify it had been inventoried. Office equipment got a permanent numbered metal plate glued on in an inconspicuous place. Most items in the plant itself received a stub from my inventory sheet wired to an out-of-the-way spot.

Sometimes I had a helper, but often I worked alone. I had a supervisor in the front office, but he usually came out to the plant only when I had finished a department, to give his approval before I moved on. Many days I saw him only on my way into the plant and on my way out.

One of my most interesting tasks was how to inventory the dozens of forklifts in the plant. Since they were often in use, it would be hard to interrupt someone using one to verify whether or not it had been checked, plus there wasn’t really a good place to hang the tag, anyway.

My supervisor decided to get me a can of fluorescent pink paint, which I would use to paint a spot on the left front wheel of the forklift after registering it. That way, the forklift was marked for a long period and I could tell at a distance and without stopping it whether a particular forklift had been recorded. Then, all I had to do was look for unmarked forklifts and eventually catch them all.

In fact, a few drivers would actually stop and volunteer their forklifts for marking. One, who had noticed the pattern the spot of paint made when the forklift was in motion, asked if I could paint an “X” across each wheel. He thought that would make his forklift look especially sporty, at least as forklifts go. Since he asked nicely, I went ahead and did it.

A week or so later, my supervisor came out to the plant with me and the custom-painted forklift went by. “What the hell?” he exclaimed, then watched as the forklift stopped, exposing the X-pattern. Turning to me, he said, “You have to start hiding your paint can when you go on break.” I never told him the real story.

I should have hidden everything when I worked in one department. The supervisor there said I couldn’t come in and mark up all of his equipment, but a phone call from the front office explained the facts of life to him and changed his mind. That didn’t make him very happy, especially when I came back and started my inventory.

When I returned from lunch the next day, a stack of my inventory sheets had disappeared and the stubs were attached to various items on my equipment cart, identifying them as “clipboard,” “pen,” “paint can” and so on. The culprit was the department supervisor, several of his underlings were quick to tell me. It seems no one wanted to take the blame for him.

Soon, the supervisor appeared with a big smile on his face. “So, how do you like it?” he asked. I resisted the temptation to tell him it was a good idea I was doing the inventory instead of him because nothing he had marked was considered a fixed asset. Instead, I simply said I hoped he didn’t get in too much trouble when I had to report why I had to void a batch of the numbered inventory stubs.

“Well, I don’t think you’re going to get me fired,” he laughed. Luckily, he went on vacation shortly after that and I was able to work in peace.

A couple of weeks later, two of his subordinates came looking for me in the plant. It so happened that on his first day back to work, he was fired. “I hope it wasn’t because he messed up my paperwork,” I told them. They looked at each other and one of them said, “We had forgotten about that!”

Of course, I’m sure such a small thing didn’t cost him his job. I just wonder if he remembered it when the ax fell. I do remember that everyone in his former department treated me like a king the rest of the summer. And that’s the kind of summer job to have, isn’t it?

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