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.

Author Steve Amick visits library

Written by David Green.

steve-amick By DAVID GREEN

Ann Arbor author Steve Amick never wanted to write about his home state of Michigan. Too commonplace, he figured. But his first published novel that’s gaining wide acclaim is nothing but Michigan—page after page of Wolverine State details that residents recognize and savor.

“I used to keep Michigan out of my writing intentionally because I thought it was so pedestrian. Everybody’s doing that,” he told a crowd Thursday night at Morenci’s Stair Public Library Annex.

“But when the manuscript started getting passed around New York City, they said, ‘It’s so exotic.’”

That surprised Amick, but he was delighted.

“I’d been writing every day and not making any money off it. I’ve written a lot of novels that never saw the light of day. I might be working on three of them now.”

The one that finally made it—“The Lake, the River and the Other Lake”—was just written for fun, he said. After all, who would want to read about life in a small resort town on Lake Michigan?

Lots of people, apparently, and not only those who know the joys of summer days Up North. Critics from across the nation have responded very favorably to Amick’s story.

One member of the Morenci audience told Amick that she really enjoyed the development of his characters.

“There were so many of them,” she said, “and they all seem like people we know. Were they based on people you know?”

Absolutely not, Amick answered, although recollections of people he’s known seep into his mind. Only one incident in the book—a property line dispute—bore any semblance to  an actual event of his past, and the people involved.

Amick spoke about the importance of telling his characters’ stories, of how it broadens his perspective of personalities different from his own.

“I really tried to walk around in other people’s shoes,” he said, “to look at others’ points of view. As a novelist, it gives you the opportunity to really listen to other people. Writing about these people forces me to try to empathize.”

Amick was questioned about a segment of the novel that causes many readers to react with disgust. He was asked why the passage was even included.

“I can’t stress enough that I wasn’t driving this train,” he said. “All I did was report what happened in my brain.”

He said he can’t really take credit for  making it happen.

Amick said he knows that writers sometimes get into a state of mind where the words just come pouring out.

“I’ve heard about it happening,” he said, “but I’ve never experienced it like that before. I got up from the table and I was surprised myself. It’s really a right brain thing.”

Amick spoke about the excitement and trepidation of the novel becoming a movie. He really hopes the filming takes place in Michigan.

If not, he at least wants the producers to visit the state. It’s important for them to see what Michigan looks like. A sunset over Oregon, for example, doesn’t look like a sunset over Lake Michigan.

The novel, with the big lake to the west and a smaller inland lake nearby, pretty well fits the territory around Manistee, he said, although his fictional community has none of the physical characteristics of Manistee.

He’s excited about showing the world the beauties of Michigan’s Up North, but that prospect also causes some concern. It’s like the urge to keep silent about a secluded beach.

“Part of me wants to hide it from everyone,” Amick said.

“Are you moving to Hollywood?” an audience member asked.

No chance, he answered.

“I’ve lived in Los Angeles and I hated it.”

• Amick’s novel is one of 20 books chosen as the Library of Michigan’s 2006 Michigan Notable Books. His visit to Morenci and other libraries in the state is sponsored by the Library of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Humanities Council and several other organizations and businesses.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016