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.

2012.12.12 Stingray shoes and Chia Pets- It's Christmas 2012

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

It’s once again time to go Christmas shopping and this might finally be the year to pick up a Chia Pet. No, not because the Chia Mitt Romney looks so poorly groomed with his big, green, seedy Afro, but because I suspect this may be the last year for the goofy product. If you’ve passed on the original generic Chia man for years, or later versions like Shrek, Homer Simpson and even President Obama, it might be time to grab one of this year’s presidential candidates or a Hello Kitty Chia before they sell out.

It seems that the Chia seed, long part of the joke that is the Chia Pet and the ingredient that grows that gorgeous green “hair,” is fast becoming a “must have” nutritional item. The seed contains omega-3 fatty acids just like fish, in addition to protein, fiber and antioxidants.

According to the New York Times, “Whole and ground chia seeds are being added to fruit drinks, snack foods and cereals and sold on their own to be baked into cookies and sprinkled on yogurt.” The Dole company has introduced Dole’s Chia and Fruit Clusters. 

Another company has introduced Mamma Chia Fruit Juices, which have chia seeds suspended in them. When the founder of the fruit juice company met with representatives of the Whole Foods chain, hoping to get her product a trial in a few stores, the buyer insisted on putting the product in every store.

Joseph Enterprises, the company responsible for the Chia Pet, has now added chia seeds and milled chia to its product line under a name that will sound somewhat familiar to anyone who has ever seen a Chia Pet commercial. The new item is called “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Omega.” In addition, the company is making chia protein bars which can be found in many of the same drugstores that sell the Chia Pet.

There is a down side to all this chia good news, though. The crop is grown only in Bolivia and Mexico and bad weather in both countries has reduced production. Combined with growing demand, the  future supply of seeds could be in jeopardy, not to mention the future supply of Chia Pets.

If supplies get really tight, I can’t see Joseph Enterprises using its seeds on the seasonal Chia Pet instead of items they could sell all year. But don’t despair. If you want a really expensive and even dumber gift, how about a pair of shoes made out of stingray leather, genetically grown to match your own design?

Introduced this year by Rayfish Footwear, the shoes are made from actual stingray leather. Customers may go online and use a design tool to create their own unique pattern. 

Following a process used in 2011 when Rayfish “successfully engineered our first fully bio-customized stingray,” the company will then use DNA on file in its facility in Thailand to “identify the genes responsible for color and pattern and implant the “supergene” cluster into fetal rays before they are born. As the ray grows and matures, it expresses the predetermined patterns on its skin.”

Two stingrays are created in this process, one for each shoe. Once they have reach sufficient size, they sacrifice their lives for the sake of someone willing to pay $1,800 for a pair of personalized shoes. No word on whether you’ll be bothered by hungry cats.

As the website puts it. “This price includes bio-customization of a pair of stingrays, growing your shoes to maturity, and shipping them to any address on the planet.” There’s no mention of a decent burial for the remains of the stingrays. I get the distinct impression that PETA probably doesn’t have any chapters in Thailand. That’s probably why the shoes are made there in the first place—cheap labor and no stingray lobbyists. 

I had to laugh at the statement on Rayfish’s website that “Rayfish Footwear harnesses the beauty and variety of nature to create the world’s first truly custom sneakers.” They forgot to add that once those beautiful stingrays grow large enough, Rayfish will happily slaughter them for a huge profit.

The worst part may be that the shoes themselves, or at least the samples they show online, are ugly. I can’t imagine why anyone would want a pair, especially when you consider the cost, both in money and marine life. It’s enough to make me want to buy a Chia Obama.

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