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.

Two Morenci groups back Project Soldier 01.19.2011

Written by David Green.

gun_winnerBy DAVID GREEN

Julie Waltrous is delighted with the support she received from the Morenci American Legion Post and the Morenci Kiwanis Club, but she’s really not all that surprised. She’s received help from a variety of sources over the past few years.

Waltrous, of Brooklyn, Mich., coordinates Project Soldier—an effort to send boxes of miscellaneous supplies to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We’ve brought a lot of people together,” Waltrous said.

School groups, churches, Legion posts and Kiwanis Clubs, concerned individuals—the assistance has enabled the group to mail 50 boxes overseas six to eight times a year.

The Brooklyn Kiwanis Club started the effort in 2004 and it’s grown since.

“It’s truly amazing,” Waltrous said, “and it’s so cool to see so many people come together for a common effort.”

The group places a high priority on sending boxes to area soldiers when their names are called in to receive supplies. When they run short of local soldiers, they contact the Texas organization “Adopt a Platoon.”

“We’re currently packing for a platoon from Michigan,” Waltrous said.

She described a recent effort that sent 100 boxes to a remote outpost in Afghanistan.

“There’s no running water, no PX, no chow hall,” she said. “We did our best to give them a good Christmas.”

Morenci’s Legion post has collected items in the past, but last year the group got involved with fund-raising and collected $600 through a gun raffle. They repeated the effort this year. The cash helps Project Soldier buy items to supplement donations and to pay for shipping—$10.95 a box.

“Russ Tompkins is the driving force behind [Morenci’s participation],” Waltrous said. “The American Legion post in Morenci has been wonderful.”

Tompkins pushes to get the effort done and he’s also helped out in Brooklyn. When people gather there to pack boxes, all the participants become teammates, Waltrous said, and the camaraderie is great.

In addition to food and hygiene products, Waltrous said they also send a little “silly stuff” such as Play-Doh and wooden puzzles, and Beanie Babies to hand out to children.

Hotel size soap and shampoo is a good size to send, she said, and when they get donations of large toothpaste tubes, they’re often able to exchange them for smaller travel size tubes.

She suggests saving the extra condiments from drive-through restaurants because those, also, are a convenient size for soldiers to use.

If donated items can’t be mailed, they’re given to a VA hospital, food pantries or other organizations.

“It’s really become a passion and I want to keep it going until they come home,” Waltrous said.

If they group ends up with left-over items, there are plenty of veterans here at home who can use assistance, she said.

As plans progress for another mailing, Waltrous will treasure the way so many people join together to make it a success.

“It’s not mine or yours—it’s ours,” she said.

Suggested items are listed below. See the Project Soldier website for a detailed list. The group can be contacted through the website or by calling Julie Waltrous at 517/315-1039.

• Toiletries and personal hygiene items, but no glass containers or aerosols;

• Snack foods;

• Coffee, tea and hot chocolate;

• Powdered drinks;

• Games, magazines and batteries.

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