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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
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    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
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    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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2007.01.07 The bedtime reading ritual

Written by David Green.


I read the other day that one in 10 parents dreads hearing the words, “Please read to me before I go to sleep.”

The study found that many parents “struggle to understand the bedtime stories they read to their children.” What? Are they reading “Introduction to Astrophysics”?

Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

Maybe they’re choosing the wrong books.

The study also found that a quarter of the parents surveyed skipped passages or made up words to get to the end of the sentence. I can see where you wouldn’t want your six-year-old to urge you on, saying, “Now just sound it out. What does the first letter say?”

The study was carried out in the United Kingdom and it appears that evening reading is going well over there. It was listed as preferable to playing in the park or watching television.

It was certainly my preference when our kids were growing up, but then again, we didn’t have a TV to compete against. The nightly reading saga was big entertainment. Just think how exciting it must be now during the Harry Potter era.

In two days this week, I heard two different radio interviewers talk with actor Jim Dale, now famous as the voice on the recorded version of the Harry Potter books.

Dale is very good. He does distinct voices for each of the main characters. In book five, he said, there were 134 characters that author J.K. Rowling wanted put to voice. Sixty of those voices were eliminated in book six, but more than 60 new ones were introduced.

Dale kept track of characters with a tape recorder so he would remember a voice when it again entered the story.

I was certainly no professional like Jim Dale, but I did try out some voices now and then. Maybe a little falsetto for female characters, but it wasn’t really popular and I was sometimes asked to stop.

Even more likely, I would get called for making a character say something inappropriate.

“Is the moon really made of green cheese?” Laura asked Ma.

“No, you little nincompoop,” she said. “Looks are deceiving. Sheesh!”

I think it was probably during the third time through the Little House series that I started to get a little loose with the process. I was just as intrigued as the kids were the first time through.

With careful finger work, it was possible to turn two pages at once and blend right into the story line despite the loss of details. Sometimes you got caught, sometimes you didn’t.

But that was never done with the Little House books. They were the sacred text of night-time reading. You don’t mess with Laura Ingalls Wilder, except, perhaps on the third time through, but by then it was tough not to play it straight because the kids already knew the story.

I still remember the power of those tales, like the time we read “The Long Winter” during the heat of July.

The window fan was running, it was probably 80° in the bedroom, but when I finished reading about the trials and tribulations of an exceptional winter in the little town of De Smet in the Dakota Territories, I half expected to look out the window and see snow on the ground. I really got drawn into those tales.

As many of you know, there’s excellent children’s literature that makes good reading for adults. “Julie of the Wolves.” “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” “Caddie Woodlawn.” “The Indian in the Cupboard.” “Danny, the Champion of the World.” I could take any of those out of the bookcase and read them tomorrow.

Well, not tomorrow. For me, tomorrow is Monday, a busy newspaper day, followed by Tuesday, a bigger newspaper day.

I was always excused from reading to the kids on Mondays because I was at work. I’d catch up on tired Tuesdays, but that would lead to another problem.

Suddenly the voice would go silent. I’d be in that relaxed state of mind and just doze off. An elbow from Ben or a “Dad, wake up!” from Rozee would get me going again.

I’ve read that one out of 10 weekly newspaper editors fears these words on a Tuesday night: “Please read to me before you fall to sleep.”

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