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.

Russell Beaverson displays tupilaks 2011.10.19

Written by David Green.

tupilak2By DAVID GREEN

Fayette resident Russell Beaverson spent several years in Alaska, starting in 1954, and he didn’t return home without a few souvenirs.

His memorabilia includes a polar bear skin, an ink drawing on reindeer skin, soapstone carvings and walrus tusks.

The major portion of his souvenirs is a collection of tupilak art from Greenland. The word refers to an ancestor’s soul or spirit, and in former times, shamans created tupilaks out of various objects to avenge an enemy.

In more recent times, the Inuit people carved representations of the monsters out of tusks, wood and antler. All of the tupilaks in Russell’s collection were carved from whale teeth.

Russell served in the military in Alaska from 1954 to 1957, but he remained there after discharge and attended college at the University of Alaska.

He spent two summers working on a river boat hauling freight, then he took a job at Clear Air Force Base operating the power house.

He had a similar job at the university, and it was there that he was recruited to work on one of the DEW Line radar installations—the Distant Early Warning system that searched for low-flying Russian aircraft.

Russell served as the inside mechanic, responsible for keeping everything in operation on the inside of the facility with the exception of the electronics.

The desolate stations were scattered every 250 miles or so along the Arctic Ocean and on into Greenland.

tupilak5Every few weeks, one of two chaplains serving the DEW Line would arrive, either the Protestant or the Catholic.

One of the pastors bought tupilaks in Greenland and carried them from base to base in a suitcase, offering them for sale. Russell ended up buying nearly two dozen.

“They all tell a story,” Russell explained, and he recalls many of the tales that the pastor passed on when he sold the works of art.

Russell’s pieces range in size from three to five and a half inches, pointing out the large size of a whale’s tooth.

He’s impressed with the intricate details shown in the pieces, noting that the teeth are hollow in the middle which would require careful planning and cutting away.

The figurines are highly prized by collectors and Russell feels fortunate to have an interesting array of works in his possession.

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