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

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    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
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    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
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    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Roger Hart: Publishes Grand Prix book of photos

Written 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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