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.

Beauty of Morenci Congregational Church windows restored 2008.08.06

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

For John McCartney, it’s all about preservation.

He’s seen windows and doors replaced, and sometimes entire buildings torn down when the original could have been saved.

“It’s important to preserve the old rather than always tear out and build new,” John said. “We promote preservation as a better approach than dumping materials into a landfill.”

The major focus of his business is saving old church windows from deterioration.congo.windows.1.jpg

John and his colleague Brian George were in Morenci last week working on windows at the First Congregational Church where members are preparing for their 150th anniversary Aug. 17. Full Spectrum Stained Glass played an important role in getting the facility in shape.

Several decades ago, church members decided that a Lexan plastic covering should be placed on the outside of the structure’s old stained glass windows. It would provide protection to the windows and offer some insulation in cold weather.

That was a good idea, but it came with some problems.

John isn’t sure if a chemical reaction took place or whether the Lexan became clouded through decades of wind blown dirt and dust striking the surface. Whatever the reason, the protective covering became so opaque over the years that the stained glass design was nearly impossible to see from the outside.

That’s the obvious problem that passersby notice. A stained glass specialist sees other trouble: heat and moisture.

“It actually adds to the deterioration of the stained glass,” John said about an improperly installed glazing.

When heat is trapped between the window and the plastic (the glazing), it accelerates the expansion and contraction cycle of the glass pieces and the solder holding them together, explained John’s business partner and wife, Valerie.

Trapped moisture accelerates the deterioration of the surrounding wood.

Full Spectrum removed the old Lexan and cut quarter-inch plate glass to take its place. The new glazing includes several ventilation plugs for each window.

Aside from cleaning and painting the sashes, the new glazing is the extent of the work done on this church.

That’s often the case, Valerie said, because money is the factor that generally determines what can be done.

When John is called for consultation, the first step is to make a survey of the windows. Problems are identified, priorities are suggested and a course of action is drawn up. Windows are also photographed and catalogued. This provides at least one historical record of the craftsmanship, Valerie explained.

 “Some larger churches will have an on-going restoration plan, doing a little bit every year or as funds are available,” she said.

There are three tell-tale signs pointing to the need for some major restoration: solder joints cracking and breaking apart; reinforcing pieces no longer doing their job; a sudden change in the appearance of a window, where it looked fine one year and the next year it’s bowed or sagging.congo.windows.2.jpg

In that case, the window must be removed from its casing, packed in a crate and trucked back to the McCartneys’ studio in Colon, Mich.

Sometimes the window needs to be taken apart and resoldered. Other times, a broken pane might need gluing or replacing.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve been able to match most every glass needed,” Valerie said.

That might seem like a miracle when dealing with glass that’s often more than a century old, but a company in Kokomo, Ind., makes it easier in this part of the country.

“They still make the same glass and textures they did 135 years ago,” John said.

But not all stained glass in the area came from Kokomo and occasionally a new glass will have to be produced to make the right match.

The windows in Morenci’s Congregational church are due for some studio restoration, John said, but there’s no immediate concern. Deterioration is generally nothing that happens quickly.

“They’ll be good for a lot of years,” he said.

Family business

As Valerie describes it, Full Spectrum Stained Glass was founded by sheer accident.

About 20 years ago she suffered from a debilitating virus that left her partially paralyzed for several months. Her sudden change to life in a wheelchair was not going well.

John once visited a stained glass studio when he was on vacation, before he and Valerie were married, and the sight of the craftsmen using old tools to create designs left a lasting impression.

When Valerie needed something to get her through rehabilitation, John suggested stained glass.

“We bought some scrap glass and materials and worked until three in the morning,” Valerie recalls. “We had a blast. It kept me from going crazy.”

The new enterprise outlasted her illness. A hobby turned into a business.

“I’ve always been a bit of an artist—I had an exceptional art teacher—and John, on the other hand, is very mechanical,” Valerie said. “The combination of both of our talents gave us what it took to get our business off the ground.”

The McCartneys’ now offer new window design and fabrication in addition to restoration and preservation of church windows and other stained glass creations in homes and institutions.

But is Valerie still taking the time to create stained glass pieces for herself?

“I wish I did,” she said. “I have sketches of things I want to do for my house, but by the end of the work day...maybe when I retire.”

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