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.

Kenny Maxfield: It's all about speed 09.17.2007

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Kenny Maxfield has no trouble describing what he likes about racing motorcycles: It’s the speed.

“It’s fun,” he says. “You get to go fast.”

The 13-year-old Morenci youth proved himself a state champion two weeks ago in Midland, finishing first in his class (7 to 13 years) in the 85cc short course—the quarter mile track.

He went on to place second in the 250cc event—an open class race where he faced drivers from any age group.

He was the youngest driver in the American Motorcycle Association sanctioned race and it was only the third time he’d been on the bike.

His father, Ken Sr., was impressed.

“I never knew he could ride it that hard,” he said.

The lack of practice time makes his feat even more impressive. There are no tracks available in this part of the state and the nearest opportunity for practice is more than three hours away.

“He raced all over the state over the summer,” Ken said. “We did a lot of travelingkenny.maxfield.9.17.jpg.”

Kenny’s sport isn’t motorcross, the high-flying stunt event often seen on television. He remains grounded to the old-fashioned dirt or clay track.

“The idea is to keep on the track and go as fast as you can,” Ken said.

Sometimes that means literally on the track, with the bike on its side. Kenny has had a few crashes over the years—he’s been racing since he was nine years old—and the seat of his pants has worn a little thin from the occasional mishap.

Track surfaces are either dirt, clay or cush—a loose gravel.

“I like cush,” Kenny said. “You can slide better on cush.”

He’s talking about a power slide around a corner, in which the handlebars are turned to the right to get the slide to the left.

Some oval tracks are banked for extra speed. Others depart from the simple oval into a series of right- and left-hand turns. That’s known as the Tourist Trophy or TT track, named after a famous race in England, and it makes for an interesting race.

On the 85cc, speeds up to 75 mph are reached on a good half-mile track. Kenny parted with that bike recently, because he’s now 14 years old and can no longer compete on that size.

He’ll focus on the 250cc, which, of course, is faster. He’s hit 85 mph on that bike, but he hasn’t yet run it on a mile track where speeds of 120 are experienced on a good surface.

He raced on Caro’s half-mile track last weekend and finished with a pair of fourth-place finishes.

The season is over in Michigan, but he might hit some events in Ohio and Indiana before cold weather sets in. That’s when he’ll turn his attention to ice racing with studded tires.

He competed at the nationals in Wisconsin last winter and he hopes the event moves to one of the 10 ice tracks he’s aware of in Michigan.

There’s also indoor racing, but before that happens, he needs to get his 125cc bike repaired. He’s a couple of years too young to climb aboard the 250 on an indoor track.

After that, it’s back to the dirt next summer where he will concentrate on succeeding with the 250.

Is there strategy involved in dirt course racing?

No really, Kenny says.

“You just go.”

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