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.

Alumni visit North Morenci School 2011.09.08

Written by David Green.

zachel_school.alumniBy DAVID GREEN

The ball field was over there. Over here is where we jumped rope. There was another outhouse next to that one for the girls.

More than 70 years have passed since some of the guests at the North Morenci school first took their seat in the one-room schoolhouse at the corner of M-156 and Ridgeville Road.

Former students were encouraged to share their memories of the school during an open house Saturday afternoon. Their stories were recorded and will be made into a DVD to play when contemporary students visit the school.

The former students talked about the subjects taught at the school and explained that a final test was taken in Adrian.

Spelling bees were always scheduled, much to the chagrin of Jay Gould.

“I wasn’t any good at it, and I haven’t improved, either,” he said.

That wasn’t the case for Zella Sallows. She remembers winning the contest.

The annual Christmas program was always a big event.

“We practiced for about a month,” Twila Knoblauch said. “One of the mothers came and played the organ.”

There were plays and recitations and songs—always scheduled in the evening to encourage a large attendance.

“Standing room only,” Jay said.

Elizabeth Barron remembered a poem she had to recite:

“I am a little curly head

My father is a teacher

I like to go to Sunday School

And sit beside the preacher.”

She really was a little curly head when she recited the poem, Elizabeth said later, and she remembers speaking the words very quickly because she couldn’t wait to get back to her seat.

Students from several schools met in Adrian for a graduation ceremony.zachel_school.students

Latham Coffin was mentioned as a favorite teacher. Jay remembered him ice skating to school from his home near Clayton.

“He used his own car and taught us to drive in the eighth grade,” Twila said. “He taught us to drive after school. He taught us how to park and how to change a tire. He was a wonderful teacher.”

Recess is remembered fondly. Games included jump rope, pom-pom pull away,  Red Rover, inny eye over and baseball.

“If you hit it over the road you got a home run,” Zella said. “I got it once.”

Twila contrasted efforts today to prevent the spread of germs with the school’s drinking water system of the past.

“We had a pump on the other side of the school,” she said. “We would pump a pail full of water and bring it in. There was one dipper and if you wanted a drink of water, you would take that dipper and we all used the same dipper.”

There was also a small hole in the mouth of the pump, Jay recalled. If you held your hand over the mouth, a stream of water would shoot out like a drinking fountain.

There were eight grades at the school—usually about 30 children—and the teacher called up one class at a time to sit on a bench in front of the teacher for lessons.

The remainder of the class behaved, especially those who were taught by the strict Mr. Ramshire.

“He could take after you and catch you, too,” Jay said.

“That sounds like the voice of experience,“ joked Morenci Education Foundation president Bill VanValkenburg, who led the discussion.

“He chased one guy and caught him, didn’t he?” Zella remembered.

“That guy could run fast and thought he could out-run him,” Jay said, “but he got him down the road.”

Bill said later that the Morenci Education Foundation—now the owners of the property—intend to make a few adjustments at the school in an effort to create a functioning one-room schoolhouse for students to visit.

“We want to maintain what John and Peggy Zachel did, but take it one step further,” he said. “We want to let kids experience what a day at school was like.”

For example, there are only nine desks in the school and another 20 or so will be needed. Bill hears from former students that the teacher’s desk was at the west end of the school, so the desks should be turned around and another blackboard will be needed to replace the missing one.

“It’s going to be challenging to find that,” he said.

• To order a copy of the DVD that will be produced, contact Rev. Bill VanValkenburg at the Seneca Community Church.

To make a donation to the schoolhouse maintenance fund, make sure the foundation knows that your gift should be given for that purpose.

Donors can specify how they want their gift  to the foundation used—scholarships, mini-grants for teachers, schoolhouse restoration—whenever a donation is made, VanValkenburg said. Otherwise the money will be placed in the general fund.

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