The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.

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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