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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    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.
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Kenny Maxfield: It's all about speed 09.17.2007

Written 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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