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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

2009.08.12 There's more than one way to create a clunker

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Has anybody out there turned in their “clunker” for a new vehicle yet? There’s almost as many opinions about the program as there are clunkers. I read one the other day that fascinated me.

This particular writer called the program a failure as its goal was to replace gas guzzling vehicles with more fuel efficient ones, saving the country energy. But this person claimed the amount of energy used in producing the steel, plastics, glass and other raw materials needed to make a new vehicle far outweighed what could be saved by the somewhat better mileage the new vehicle gets over its life span.

What concerns me is the thousands of perfectly good vehicles that are being scrapped simply because their retail value is less than the government is offering for eligible trade-ins. I saw a beautiful late 90’s Cadillac Eldorado being towed away from one dealer, its only fault that high miles made the program’s offer of $4500 higher than what the dealer could offer as a normal trade-in.

A lethal dose of sodium silicate, also known as “liquid glass,” in the engine, and the Caddy was soon destined for the scrap yard. It could have made someone a safe, dependable vehicle for several more years, but no longer.

Many “clunkers” aren’t nearly that nice, of course. One article referred to a 1987 Chevy Caprice being scrapped as “the kind of land whale that once dominated the roadways.” Long-time readers will remember I once owned a 1985 Caprice. If It’s still out there, it would be a candidate for the clunker program. So would my 1987 Ford Aerostar, that is, if it hasn’t totally rusted away by now.

Of course, there’s more than one way to create a clunker. The easiest way is just to do nothing. Don’t bother to fix minor damage, skip most scheduled maintenance, and sooner than you might think possible, you’ll find yourself driving a clunker.

Or, perhaps make one stupid move like a guy I used to know, and boom, instant clunker, just like that. I saw it happen back in 1987 when I was living in Adrian.

My friend Jim invited me to go with him to a sports collectibles show in Wauseon. He was driving a Plymouth Reliant “K-Car,” not a big surprise since his family owned four or five of them. The trip went fairly smoothly until we were almost at our destination. We stopped at the intersection of Shoop and Linfoot and, while waiting for the light to change, Jim was struck with one of his occasional bouts of goofiness.

With no warning, he suddenly floored the gas pedal. The little four-cylinder engine began revving probably far beyond it’s redline while Jim laughed. I asked him if he thought he should stop. “Why, am I scaring you?,” Jim asked.

“No, you’re not scaring me,” I told him, “but you’re going to blow the engine if you keep that up.” You don’t have to be Nostradamus to know what happened next. Before Jim could answer, there was a big bang under the hood, the stoplight turned green, and Jim suddenly owned a car that could only go about 10 mph. He’d ruined the motor with his foot, no “liquid glass” required.

We limped to our destination and Jim made a call for a tow truck, then a somewhat more difficult one to his parents. A bit later, Jim reported that the tow truck driver said there was a hole in the engine block and it was leaking oil in massive amounts. Gee, what a surprise.

Finally, his mother arrived, and not too happy, either. After talking to Jim separately, she then talked to me, her first question being, “What did he do?” The evidence was pretty clear, and she said my story made a lot more sense than whatever excuse he tried to tell her.

The drive home was the best part. It had started snowing during his mother’s trip to Wauseon and she handed me her keys when we got to her car. “I don’t like driving in this weather, and he’s not touching MY car,” she said. So I drove us back to my apartment in Adrian, then she took over for the last few miles to their home.

The last I knew, Jim was living in South Carolina. Unless he’s improved his driving habits, maybe he should carry some sodium silicate with him. The next time he creates a clunker, he could at least put it out of its misery on the spot.

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