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.

Jody (Stiriz) Bird to sign books 2012.04.04

Written by David Green.

book.stirizBy DAVID GREEN

Jodi (Stiriz) Bird’s teenage son, Kyle, has had a special interest in trees and other plants since he was a young child. 

He’s given his grandparents, Don and Jane Stiriz of Fayette, a couple of trees for their home, including a banana tree.

Jane recalls hearing Don tell Kyle on the telephone when he was younger how tired he gets harvesting bananas from that tree.

A few years ago Jodi decided to take Kyle’s interest in trees and create a simple field guide for parents to use with their own young children.

“Kyle would love going for walks around town as a preschooler and would always ask me what kind of tree the different fallen leaves had come from,” Jodi remembers. “I really only knew a maple leaf and so we would bring them home and look them up on the computer or in a tree book.”

That wasn't always an easy process, she said, because there are so many species. 

“I felt there needed to be a book available for parents, kids and teachers that would take a few common varieties and simplify the process and then possibly ignite a passion for the outdoors,” she said.

She wrote the text, but waited a long time for the illustrations to be completed. The book was finally published last fall.

“Because I wanted the style of this book to be illustrated in a special way, I was a bit picky about who I wanted to do it,” Jodi explained. “I finally came across a publishing company in Indiana, AuthorHouse, that provided an in-house illustrator who did fine line drawings.”

She never met or even spoke with the illustrator.

Jodi has presented her book to school classrooms and at libraries and she’s pleased with the response from children.

“I think kids have a natural love for the outdoors, but they may not know what to look for while walking around,” she said.

Her book gives them a starting point, sort of an ‘I Spy’ format.

 Her tree book, “Going on a Hunt,” won’t be her last simply because Kyle isn’t her only child.

“I have two other children and they have already asked me when ‘their’ books are going to be written,” said Jodi.  “I have started the next book with my daughter as the main character. It will be a chapter book with Route 66 being the main theme and setting.”

• Jodi will travel from her home in Lancaster, Ohio, to Fayette this weekend for an Easter visit, and a book signing is planned. She will have books available for sale from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Stiriz’s Pizza Stop restaurant.

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