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.

Fayette Fire Dept. has several 40-year-plus members 09.10.09

Written by David Green.

VETERANS—Following the retirement of Earl Ferguson, the Gorham Fayette Fire Department still has four members with more than 40 years of service. From the left is Dick Buehrer (49 years), Gary Rice (45 years), Dick Vine (43 years), Boomer Rice (41 years) and Tom Stambaugh (36 years).


Some people might see a lot of old guys on the Gorham Fayette Fire Department. Chief Tom Franks sees a lot of experience.

Earl Ferguson officially retired last month and received a plaque for 47 years of service, but he isn’t the senior member. That honor goes to Dick Buehrer with 49 years and counting.

Those two aren’t the only 40-year veterans of the department. Gary Rice comes in at 45 years, Dick Vine at 43 years and Calvin “Boomer” Rice at 41 years.

Next in line, Tom Stambaugh, trails with “only” 36 years on the squad.

Some chiefs might think the department is tipping a little heavy on the older end of the scale, but Chief Franks doesn’t mind.

“To tell you the truth, I’m glad I do have them because there’s a lot of knowledge and experience there to bring forth to the newer members. Those guys are a dying breed.”

Franks said his senior member, Buehrer, lives about a block from the fire station and he’s always the first person to arrive for a call.

“Dick shows up more than anyone, too,” Franks said. “He probably drives about 80 percent of the rescue runs.”

Ferguson had cut back some in the last two years, Franks said, but he always kept his training up and still helped out when available.

Looking back over more than 40 years with the department, Ferguson said he really enjoyed his time as a volunteer. He served in a variety of roles, from driving to helping out with LifeFlight landings, and, of course, fighting a lot of fires.

He said he leaves the department with a lot of good memories along with some unpleasant ones from responding to accidents that remain hard to shake.

Franks said he likes to keep his roster at 35 members and it’s currently full. He can only take EMT volunteers now and the department pays for schooling.

Eventually it will be time to bring on a new member or two, and when that day arrives, he’ll turn to his veterans to help teach the rookies how to get the job done.

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