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.
  • Front.tar.wide
    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.
  • Front.pull
    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.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    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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2008.01.30 Rats and I like peanuts

Written by David Green.


I have found great joy in a bag of peanuts. Great joy and a little trepidation.

My wife bought a 20 oz. bag of Hampton Farms salted and roasted peanuts in the shell. “Goodness grows in North Carolina,” says the state agriculture slogan.

“Remember: small children can choke on peanuts.” No mention that this product may contain peanuts.

It must have been a long time since we had a bag of salted, roasted peanuts because they tasted so darn good. Colleen didn’t want to eat the darker ones for some reason, so I got all of those, too.

It’s been a good week, despite the rubbing of salt in wounds. I get these weird little slits on my right thumb and index finger in the winter—apparently something I inherited from my mother—and it really hurts to crack open those salted shells.

It’s such an odd thing about peanuts that they aren’t nuts. Think soybeans, alfalfa, locust trees. Think legumes—woody, indehiscent legumes. Peanuts are goober peas.

The allergy issue is a serious one for many people. I’ve read that one whiff of peanut dust can cause a fatal reaction. Fortunately, peanut dust doesn’t blow around here. It’s down in Alabama where nearly half of the U.S. crop is grown.

For me, an allergic reaction is not an issue. I have other fears about peanuts and about peanut butter.

The oldest peanut butter manufacturer in the nation, the Krema Nut Company of Columbus, began selling its product exactly 100 years ago. The owner had a catchy slogan: “I refuse to sell outside of Ohio.”

It’s comforting to know that U.S.D.A. standards allow only about 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter. That’s probably only about six legs per sandwich, but maybe that’s part of what makes it taste so good. Or maybe it’s rodent hair or feces, but the likelihood of encountering that stuff is only about one in five sandwiches. This sounds rather disgusting, but it’s unavoidable. That and more is in a lot of food.

It’s not the rat poop in peanut butter that worries me, it’s the choking hazard. So many times I’ve quickly packed a peanut butter sandwich when driving off to attend some event or another and I’ve almost gotten a mouthful stuck in my throat.

When it happens, various scenarios run through my mind. Speeding into someone’s driveway, knocking on the door, pantomiming the need for water. Or quickly stopping and melting snow in my hands or lapping up water from a puddle.

With peanuts—like that wonderful bag we ate our way through last week—it’s the rotten peanut that worries me. Remember the song?

“Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut last night.

Last night I found a peanut, found a peanut last night.”

So far, so good.

“Cracked it open, cracked it open, cracked it open last night.

Last night I cracked it open, cracked it open last night.”

Now is when it gets a little troublesome.

“It was rotten, it was rotten, it was rotten last night.

Last night it was rotten, it was rotten last night.”

My mother taught me this song in my preschool years. It made quite an impact. It frightened me. I worried about dying.

Now where were we? Found a peanut, cracked it open, it was rotten.

“Ate it anyway, ate it anyway, ate it anyway last night.

Last night I ate it anyway, ate it anyway last night.

Got sick, got sick, got sick last night.

Last night I got sick, I got sick last night.”

I’m not sure what happens after that. I know there are many variations to the song and I can’t remember just how our family version went.

Called the doctor.

Didn’t answer.

Called the hospital.

Cut me open.

Took the peanut out.

Sewed me up again.

Died anyway.

Now what a thing to be telling a preschool kid. Eat some food you know is bad and end up dead.

You see? There’s much worse in this world than a simple rat’s whisker.

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