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.

Billy Williams puzzled over his topadoes 7.23

Written by David Green.

Doubters come laughing, but they leave scratching their heads. And Billy Williams is every bit as puzzled as the gawkers.

What’s the fuss? He has tomatoes growing on potato plants.

Williams has a couple of rows of tomatoes growing in his back yard garden on Burley Street in Morenci and he also has a few rows of potato plants.topatoes.billy.jpg

“I thought it was a little goofy,” he said,  when he saw both yellow and white flowers on a few of the potato plants, but he didn’t think much about it until he saw tomatoes growing from those yellow blooms.

That’s when he dug down into the dirt and also found a healthy crop of potatoes down below.

“I thought there had to be a tomato plant down there,” Williams said, but there was nothing but potatoes.

He cut open a tomato and found an ordinary piece of fruit with seeds just like any tomato.

“Lots of people have looked and they can’t believe it,” he said. “I probably had 30 people over here and nobody’s seen anything like this. Nature never fails to amaze us.”

It’s baffled a lot of experienced gardeners who laughed until they came to look for themselves. Williams watched his aunt dig down. She thought there must have been an explanation down below the surface.

Maybe he grew tomatoes in that area last season. No, that’s not the case. And besides, these are cherry tomatoes and he grows a regular size crop.

Did he buy the potato seed somewhere? No, that’s not it either. Had he bought the seed somewhere, he would have suspected some genetic modification, but he cut up the Yukon Gold potatoes himself.

“I planted them just like my grandpa and dad taught me,” he said.

Among all of his potato plants, five are showing the—what do you call it, Williams wonders, a topato?

Williams did a little searching on the internet to see if could find other occurrences of the mystery, but he didn’t come up with much more than dinner ideas.

A bulletin from Iowa State University mentions tomato-like fruit on potato plants. Normally, it says, potato flowers dry up and fall off plants, but occasionally they produce fruit—a fruit that’s of no value to the gardener.

That seems to explain his strange produce, but what about the yellow flowers?

Williams isn’t sure if he wants to eat any of his topatoes—a wise move since they’re said to be high in solanine, a poisonous alkaloid found in potatoes, tomatoes and all members of the nightshade family—but there’s one other thing weighing on his mind.

“If I dig down underneath my tomatoes and find potatoes growing, I’m moving out of here.”

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