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

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

2012.08.08 Do they make recycling bins to hold pianos?

Written by David Green.


A few months ago, the computer that I used for 12 years to write this column was retired in favor of a newer model. The move into this millennium allows me to bring each new installment in on a flash drive instead of the floppy disks required before.

I had purchased four boxes of the diskettes several years ago at a clearance sale, figuring that it might be my last chance to find any new ones. Now, I had three sealed boxes left over and no idea what to do with them.

A co-worker predicted I’d never find a buyer, but last week, a business owner in Adrian took them off my hands. It was one of those rare occasions when both seller and buyer were happy. I sold them at a  small profit, and the buyer said my price was half of what he’d have to pay elsewhere. If only I could do that with the rest of my useless junk—wait, make that rare treasures—I wouldn’t have to worry about ending up on an episode of “Hoarders.”

At least computers themselves, no matter how obsolete they are, still have enough value remaining in some of their components to make it worthwhile for some organizations to take them in and dismantle them for the recyclable parts. That option seems to be over for televisions.

Goodwill Industries, the go-to place to disposal of your unwanted computer, no longer accepts donations of televisions, citing the expense of disposing of unsold donations. I’d be willing to guess that the switchover to digital television probably caused a big drop in used television sales, as it’s impossible to tell at a glance whether or not a used set is digital or will require an additional converter box or cable connection to make it useful.

At least you might have some luck giving away that old television to a friend or at a garage sale. Millions of one once-common household item are becoming a burden to their owners as they no longer have any value and the cost to dispose of them runs into the hundreds of dollars. Yes, I’m talking about the piano.

A recent New York Times article told of millions of pianos being sold from 1900 to 1930, the high water mark for American piano manufacturers. The best year was 1910, when 365,000 were purchased. The advent of radio cut into the need to have a piano for entertainment and sales have been dropping ever since.

Most pianos made in those days had a life span of 80 years or so, meaning there are now millions of worn-out pianos badly in need of expensive repair in homes, churches and schools.

Not only are these old pianos expensive to repair, lack of business has resulted in a deep decline in skilled piano technicians. What’s more, electronic digital pianos and portable keyboards can now be purchased for several hundred dollars or good quality imported pianos are available for under $3,000.

“Instead of spending hundreds or thousands to repair an old piano, you can buy a new one made in China that’s just as good, or you can buy a digital one that doesn’t need tuning and has all kinds of bells and whistles,” said Larry Fine of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer magazine. 

I’m not sure if Mr. Fine is related to the same-named member of The Three Stooges, but the article quoted 2011 sales figures from Music Trades magazine that show the marketplace is moving quickly toward substitutes for the traditional acoustic piano. Last year, sales of electronic keyboards were 1.1 million, followed by 120,000 digital pianos and a mere 41,000 acoustic models.

The upshot of this trend is a huge increase in the business of piano movers. Most charge $150 or more to pickup your no longer wanted piano. Most of the  movers hold on to them for a while, as any piano they can find a new home for could result in another moving fee.

Eventually, the movers have to reduce their inventory and haul some of the pianos no one has expressed interest in to a landfill. One landfill charges around $25 for each piano it takes in, then crushes them with a front-end loader. A recycling company picks out the wood and metal debris for future use.

This all sounds pretty sad, but one piano restorer made it sound almost natural. “You’ve buried your grandmother,” said Martha Taylor. “You have to bury her piano.”

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015