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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Tracy Lavinder awarded Bronze Star 2010.08.11

Written by David Green.

lavinder.cmyk.jpgA Fayette native aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was honored with a Bronze Star July 31 for his work as an individual augmentee during a Global Support Assignment in Iraq from 2008-09.

Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (SW) Tracy Lavinder, assigned to Truman's Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), received the award from Truman’s commanding officer, Capt. Joseph Clarkson, during a ceremony while deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Individual augmentee refers to a military member who is assigned to augment a unit to fill shortages, often with a different branch of service.

Since 1944, the Bronze Star has been awarded to members of the military for combat heroism and meritorious service.

“Chief Lavinder did great work over there with detainee operations, which is not easy work,” said Clarkson. “This award is a token of the nation’s appreciation for that effort and sacrifice.”

Lavinder said he was honored to receive the award, but gave credit to those who served with him in Iraq for his success there.

“I got this Bronze Star because I was lucky enough to have great junior personnel working for me over there,” Lavinder said. “They are the ones who took care of business day in and day out. Detainee ops is a tough job, and has a lot of importance in Iraq because it can determine how Iraqis and the rest of the world view American forces. We treated the detainees with dignity and respect, and it made a huge difference in that area of the country.”

While Lavinder was happy to have his hard work rewarded, the idea of the Bronze Star was something he was still trying to get used to.

“When I look at what people have won Bronze Stars for in the past, I have to be proud of mine, but compared to what they did, I am not sure I really deserve one,” he said. “I was just blessed to be working with great people. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get something like this.”

Lavinder was joined at the ceremony by three members of his team from Iraq who are currently serving on the Truman. Just as he credited them for his success, they didn’t hesitate to point out that his leadership was what made the difference.

“I am very proud to have served with him,” said Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Gerardo Torres, who received an Army Commendation Medal for his service. “I got very lucky to have a chance to have a leader like him. He had humility in all aspects of his work, from respect for us to respect for the detainees. I know we came back safe because of his leadership.”

Lavinder’s Bronze Star qualities are well known and respected on board Truman.

“He doesn't mind getting his hands dirty, and he leads by example,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Chris Lent, who has worked for Lavinder for more than a year in AIMD. “He always makes sure the job gets done, but he creates a positive work environment.”

Lavinder’s team served a nine-month tour in Iraq.

“Our job wasn’t easy there,” he said. “My team is the reason I have this award, and I really appreciate what they did for me.”

Lavinder will soon mark his 23rd year of service with the Navy and he intends to retire next year.

He is the son of Karen (and the late Jerry) Lavinder of Fayette.

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