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.

Stephen Rutkowski helped commission USS Bainbridge 4.29.09

Written by David Green.

A story in last week’s Observer highlighted a Fayette connection to the USS Bainbridge, the U.S. Navy destroyer involved in patrolling for pirates near Somalia. Melina Gardner of Fayette is a crew member.

There’s also a Morenci connection, although a step removed from the current status of the Bainbridge.

Small world, says Navy officer Stephen Rutkowski of Morenci.

“I was a member of the commissioning crew,” he said. “I was on the ship from June 2004 through June 2007.”

The commissioning crew, he explained, is responsible for putting the ship into service after its construction. Rutkowski describes the effort as massive test of management skills.

“We start from scratch to make sure all the pieces for the ship operate and function,” he said. “Then we take her out of the shipyard and work out the bugs.”

The Bainbridge was commissioned in Florida for a couple months after leaving Bath, Maine, where it was built. After that comes the job of training the crew to operate the many facets of the guided missile destroyer that’s powered by gas turbine engines.

“This is why most crew members remain for several years after commissioning. Those crew members that are attached to the ship at the time of commission are called ‘plank owners’. There are still several plank owners onboard today.”

Rutkowski said he’s been back on board several times since the commissioning and is still in contact with the ship.

He added that area resident Joe Terrell was in Florida during the commissioning and went onboard for a three-hour tour. He later returned for the ceremony when the ship went into service.

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