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.

Ruth Hutchison leaves library board legacy 2012.02.01

Written by David Green.

Ruth.HutchisonBy DAVID GREEN

When Mike Figgins looked around the table at the last Board of Trustees meeting for Fayette’s Normal Memorial Library, he knew someone was missing.

He did a quick check of the faces and discovered everyone was present. He also quickly realized his error. There was a person missing, but she was no longer part of the group.

For the first time since 1958, Ruth Hutchison was not seated at the table. For the first time since 1968, she wasn’t serving as president of the board.

“I’m 83 years old now and I have four more years on my term,” she said, “but I just assumed that I would let somebody else take it.”

Sarah Schrock agreed to take over the presidency and Jeanne Johnson was accepted as a new trustee. That sounded good to Ruth. She’s comfortable with the changes made and she feels good about her decision to retire.

Ruth was invited to join the board in 1958 by her neighbor, Lucille Violet, who taught English at the school.

“She knew I used the library and liked to read,” Ruth said.

At that time, the library was still part of the school and village residents were invited to check out books there. In the 1960s, state officials decided that schools needed to have their own libraries, leaving Normal Memorial in need of a new home.

Ruth, as vice president, went to a lot of meetings with the board president, Mr. Roberts, to explain the change and the need for a new facility. It was difficult for many people to understand, Ruth remembers.

They got the message across and voters approved a levy for a new library.

There were other tough decisions to follow, such as the creation of a children’s library in 1988. The south side of the library was originally designated a community center, but crowded conditions forced the board to consider a change.

Board member Kathy Fix remembers pushing hard for a children’s library, and when Ruth gave her support for the change, the remainder of the board followed, Kathy said.

More recently, Ruth recalls the difficulty of trimming hours and pay when state funding was cut in 2009.

“It was so hard to do that,” she said. “The staff has no idea how hard it was.”

Ruth speaks highly of the board members she’s worked with over the decades and feels blessed by the diversity of skills. A  lawyer, a banker, teachers and a school administrator, etc., have all contributed their knowledge.

The current board returns the praise.

“Ruth has been an invaluable wealth of information to the library board,” said Deb Rupp. “Her knowledge of past library and staff history, familiarity with the people of the community and connections with the students at school have all contributed to making her one of our greatest resources.”

Mike Figgins describes Ruth as dependable, thorough, and always capable of getting business accomplished.

“She’s been fun to work with,” said Kathy Fix. “What a wonderful legacy of service. We’ll miss her tremendously.”

Sometimes when Ruth talks to a person associated with another library, she realizes how fortunate she’s been with her board colleagues.

“It’s been a pleasant, interesting journey,” she said.

When the second Wednesday of the month comes along, she just might automatically go outside and get in her car before realizing she doesn’t have to be there anymore.

It’s going to feel a little funny, she says.

• Ruth was honored with a retirement dinner Tuesday night at the Opera House.

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