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.

Volunteer effort fills ranks of search team members 2010.12.01

Written by David Green.

skel.volunteers.jpgBill Foster said he was among several people who got together when the Amber Alert notice warned the public about the disappearance of the three Skelton children.

“Friday night we started posting the Amber Alert and Saturday everybody wanted to gather at the Tourist Camp and start looking,” Foster said.

That was the small beginning of an outpouring of help that followed the next three days.

Foster estimates there were about 250 civilian volunteers Sunday—in addition to members of 12 area fire departments—and an ever larger number on Monday. He’s heard that number might swell again Tuesday.

“They just kept showing up,” Foster said.

Not everyone signed in at the fire hall, so the exact number of searchers is impossible to know.

“It’s been remarkable,” he said. “Just tremendous. We’ve had people from as far away as Indiana.”

Foster said he was put in charge of the civilian volunteers Sunday because the group needed some organization.

“The FBI is calling the shots and we have to do what they tell us,” Foster said. That’s not easy for some searchers.

The federal agents have some strict rules about evidence and they’re the ones choosing which area to investigate.

Morenci Fire Chief Chad Schisler concurs.

“Sometimes it’s hard for the community to understand because they just really want to help,” he said.

“People have to be patient,” Foster said. I’m here to help find the boys and I can put up with anything.”

After Sunday’s search in the Lime Creek Road/White Pine Highway area and Harrison Lake State Park, efforts Monday turned to Williams County, Ohio, looking in ditch banks and searching a campground. The departure orders weren’t given until mid-morning and by then volunteers were more than ready to move out.

Schisler said he was asked to direct two-thirds of a collection of volunteers to the new staging area in Pioneer, Ohio, but when he told them that, they responded that they were all going.

Fire officer Bronson DiCenso was left in charge at the Morenci station. Small crews were dispatched to the roadside park on U.S. 20 south of Lyons, to the Green Valley Campground west of Morenci, and to the gravel pit north of Morenci along Mulberry Road.

“They’re all wanting to get out and look,” DiCenso said. “Everybody’s doing a good job of coming together.”

That statement applies not only to those scouring the countryside; it also includes those providing food for the volunteers. In addition, Foster said, those unable to walk helped serve food, register volunteers, and perform other tasks.

Donations from local businesses helped feed the crew, plus food from individuals. Chips, soups, cookies, pies, bottled water.

“It’s just been outstanding,” Foster said. “Some people dropped off sandwiches on their way to work.”

The outpouring of food was really overwhelming, Schisler said.

“The Salvation Army canteen said it was the most food they ever served,” he said.

Schisler said Monday night he expects to hear the FBI’s next directive the next morning and the process will begin again.

“We’re going to be ready to go out,” he said.

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