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.

Roger Hart: Publishes Grand Prix book of photos

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Grand Prix, Formula 1, Cheever, Andretti, Senna, Rosberg, Newman—words that just don’t belong with another word: Detroit.

But all of that fit together for seven wonderful years—wonderful for area race fans, not so much for those who worked in downtown Detroit—when the Motor City was a stop on the Grand Prix racing circuit.

hart.talkingMorenci native Roger Hart witnessed the event each year from 1982 to 1988, working as an Associated Press (AP) photographer. Three years ago he started sorting through about 4,000 frames of film to create a book titled “Postcards from Detroit: Remembering Formula I in the Motor City.”

Detroit became a Formula 1 stop in the 1980s through an effort to revitalize the motor capital during an era similar to conditions now. With a downturn in the domestic automotive industry, rising gasoline prices, increasing competition from Japanese car makers and an economic recession, Detroit needed a boost to show it was a world-class city capable of staging a world-class event.

It was a good idea, Hart says in the introduction to his book, but logistical problems soon became obvious in running the 2.5 mile course through downtown Detroit’s busy, bumpy streets.

In the end, the premiere race was a success and six more followed before Formula 1 left the city for good.

Racing photographer

Hart recounts how his entry into race car photography began a year earlier than the first Detroit event when he was fresh out of Central Michigan University and working for the Tuscola County Advertiser in Caro.

He was invited to join an AP crew for the Michigan 500 CART race at Michigan International Speedway and as a rookie, was given one of the less glamorous jobs. Luck was on his side. The event was rained out, and when it ran a week later, several other free-lance photographers couldn’t attend, so he was moved to a prime location.

He got a shot of a safety worker dousing driver Herm Johnson with water when a pit fire broke out and the photo was published widely in daily newspapers across the country.

With that photo he became known as a “racing photographer” and he landed a good job at the first Detroit Renaissance Grand Prix the next summer.

Creating a book

In his current job as managing editor of AutoWeek magazine, Hart sees a lot of motorsports books and many of them focus on events from the past. The work of David Bull Publishing of Phoenix, Ariz., has impressed him over and over.

The possibility of a book about Detroit’s races was in the back of his mind when he bought a film scanner and began looking through negatives he hadn’t seen in 20 years.

“Most of them were stored in the original film envelopes that I had turned in to the AP for processing,” Hart said, and they included notes made at the time of shooting.

hart.hand He made prints of a few favorites and showed them to some photographer friends. They told him he had a book in the making and Hart was finally convinced.

He contacted the publisher, they talked about how it might come together and a contract was signed.

“The first three years I shot everything in black and white,” Hart said. “The last four years were in color, but I convinced David to print the book all in black and white. I love black and white photography.”

Hart’s book includes several photos of race action, but the bulk of the photos he selected are of the drivers, their crew members and a variety of other personalities.

“To me, it’s always been the people who are interesting at races,” Hart said.

Besides, that’s the sort of shot AP was after and Hart’s goal was to have photos published.

He found it easy to go beyond the racing action. He learned in college that when you cover something, treat it like an event and look at every aspect.

“It’s not just a race,” he said, “it’s everything that goes on at a race.”

Focusing on “everything” came with a qualification, however. The AP wanted tightly cropped, clean photos without a lot of background distractions. Hart likes the tight crops, himself, but now he sees what’s missing from many of his photos.

“Now I wish I would have widened it out a little and gotten more into the frame,” he said.

Banners, buildings, clothing, glasses, photographer’s equipment—there are a lot of details that weren’t preserved.

Detroit’s Grand Prix era is but 20 years in the past, but already it’s become history.

   - Oct. 25, 2006 

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