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.

Kitchen Wars: Morenci students compete in culinary competition 2012.03.07

Written by David Green.

taylor baughBy DAVID GREEN

This is the season for basketball and wrestling tournaments, but those competitions have nothing over the excitement of a culinary arts contest.

Kitchen competition has its own thrills and spills—and ripped pastry bags.

Morenci juniors Taylor Baugh and Kira Bersoke both competed Feb. 28 in Kalamazoo at the regional SkillsUSA culinary competition, representing the Lenawee TECH Center. Both were chosen by class instructor and chef Corbin Day to represent Lenawee County at the regional event.

Taylor placed second in the commercial baking division—missing first place by a point—while Kira took fifth in the culinary arts competition. Kira just missed qualifying for the state competition next month in Lansing, but Taylor will move on to the finals.

It was anything but relaxing in the kitchen for Kira’s cooking competition. She went up against 16 other student cooks in a grueling three-hour contest to create an appetizer, an entrée and dessert.

kira beroskePracticing for the event isn’t really possible, because none of the competitors know what they will be asked to prepare until they enter the kitchen. That’s when they’re given three recipes and the ingredients. Then the clock begins ticking.

Students were asked to make a blue cheese chicken roll-up for the entrée, a salad for the appetizer and a crêpe for the dessert. 

“It is crazy in my competition. People are rushing around to do everything,” Kira said. “There are four judges that walk around and watch while you are cooking.”

It’s not just the final outcome that judges are interested in. 

“The judges really watch you during the competition to see how you cut items and how sanitary you are when you cook.”

Washing hands, changing gloves, washing cutting boards and other utensils—every step of the way comes under the judges’ scrutiny.

Pastry

Taylor had a long day behind her before she even stepped into the competition area. Students arrived in Kalamazoo at 8 a.m., but she didn’t compete until noon.

When the “start” command was given, Taylor went to her dough and started making danishes. Then she moved on to fruit scones, rolls and macaroon cookies before working on her cake.

“I was good on time while making bread, then I slowed down a little,” she said. 

She had to place a filling in the center of the cake and then decorate it in a birthday theme for someone named Nancy.

“I was just making my flowers when they said 10 minutes left,” Taylor recalls. “At this time I had all my bread out and displayed, and my cake was frosted, so the only thing I needed to do was add details and write on my cake.

“I was so scared that I wasn't going to get done. I was shaking and crying.”

She was also running and pushing her way through the other competitors. They pushed back.

“We were all freaked out by that time,” Taylor said. “I only had five minutes left. I was starting to write on the cake and the tips blew out of the [pastry] bag, all my bags ripped.”

Now she was really panicking and wondering what to do. She tried to finish writing “Best Wishes” on the cake, then displayed it and started cleaning up. That’s when she got a nosebleed.

She was glad when the event finally ended, but she was also really pleased to compete for the first time and to take home a medal.

Now she can go back to practicing until the state finals April 20 in Lansing. And that frantic ordeal from the regional competition? She’s pushed that memory aside and she’s ready to go at it again.

“Overall I had a blast and I’m very excited to do this again for state,” she said.

For Kira, she has her sights set on another culinary competition—the Pro-Start contest March 18-19 in Lansing.

This time she’ll work with a team of three other TECH Center students. There are no surprises in this contest because each team uses its own recipes to cook an appetizer, entrée and dessert in one hour.

At the SkillsUSA event, competitors could roam anywhere in the kitchen in an effort to get it all accomplished. At ProStart, the work area is partitioned off and team members must remain within their allotted space.

“ProStart will be much more difficult,” Kira said, “because it is one of the toughest cooking competitions for high schoolers.”

She wants nothing short of a state championship and the opportunity to attend the national competition in Baltimore.

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