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.

Jeff Yeager, cheapskate, to visit Morenci 2008.08.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

They used to call him a cheapskate. Now Jeff Yeager is just looking practical.

All right, so Yeager is still known as a cheapskate—the Ultimate Cheapskate, according to Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today show—but his approach to life is looking more and more sensible to a lot of people facing tough economic times.

Yeager will talk about his life as a cheapskate when he visit’s Morenci’s Stair Public Library at 1 p.m. Aug. 14. The Grand Rapids, Ohio, native is back in his home area for several appearances in Toledo Public Library branches and he agreed to make a visit to Morenci to present his humorous approach to living on the cheap.

Yeager wrote his book, “The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Roadmap to True Riches,” two years ago and it finally made it off the press early this year, about the time that economic hardships were becoming more and more apparent for many Americans.

There’s a silver lining to tough times, he said. It forces many people to reign in their spending habits.

“Most people would be happier if they spent less money and bought fewer things,” Yeager said in an interview Monday.

During the economic expansion of the 1990s, two things happened, he said: Americans went further into debt than any previous generation, and they didn’t become any happier.

“They became stressed out and they wanted more,” he said.jeff.yeager.jpg

It’s odd, Yeager said, how in the last few years shopping has been billed as a patriotic duty—go out and buy more. If that’s the case, he says the most patriotic thing would be to buy something that’s going to break right away or something that’s going to soon become obsolete. This will lead to more trips to the store.

Yeager brings some humor to his financial philosophy, but he realizes there are people who are losing their jobs, losing their houses and genuinely hurting.

At a talk he gave recently, a woman wasn’t so keen on his light-hearted approach. She was nearly crying when she told how her family was forced to cut back. How had it affected them? They had to cancel their cable television service.

Yeager doesn’t expect everyone to go to the lengths of cheapness he does—he once tried to weave dryer lint back into clothing—but he does see value in living on less.

“It’s the only financial advice that will work for almost everyone,” he writes in his book. “It’s about a quality of life you cannot buy, a sense of satisfaction you cannot fake, and an appreciation for other that gives life value.”

Some people are touting his book as a survival guide, but Yeager prefers to call it a revival guide—how to return to some simpler times, to a more sustainable level of consumption.

Next book

After Yeager’s book was published, he went on a promotion tour by bicycle.

“It was a blast to do it,” he said. “I stayed with cheapskates.”

All the money he saved by couch-surfing was turned over to libraries along the way.

His next book is due out in 2010. This is where he will get to know “the cheapskate next door.”

“I’ll be writing profiles of people who know the secrets of living below their means,” he said. “It’s a very positive thing to live below your means.”

Reporter’s note: I wrote an e-mail to Jeff Yeager on a busy afternoon, listing some questions and inviting him to give me a call if it was convenient.

I could have called him, but I kept on with other things I needed to accomplish. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that cheapskate called me and he had to pay the bill?”

Sure enough, I got a call from the world’s biggest cheapskate.

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