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

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    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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2008.04.23 Distinguished clown award

Written by David Green.


I’m having a busy weekend with children visiting and the darn Morenci Education Foundation dinner getting in the way.

In other words, I’m short on time and I’m just going to recount my episode on the stage Saturday night when I was given one of those Distinguished Alumni Awards. Most of you weren’t there anyway, and those who were there might have missed portions. My delivery certainly wasn’t the best.

I wanted to make the foundation board question its judgment in selecting me, so when called to the stage, I first wrapped an arm around foundation president Bill VanValkenburg, held a camera out in front of us and snapped a photo.

I walked to the podium and remarked on how this was a fine way to ruin an otherwise nice evening. I mentioned this must be a very frightening moment for my children who are probably quietly saying to themselves, “Do not let him go to the podium. He’s going to do something silly and embarrass us all.”

I said that sometimes I tend to think in terms of headlines and announced one for the event: “Local boy does good,” and then gave a few more: “Local boy stands nervously at podium. Local boy forgets his speech. Local boy feels faint.”

That’s when I keeled over onto a Lane recliner. I was so glad to see that chair next to the podium. That’s the seat where auctioneer Duane Dunbar operated before he auctioned off the chair, too. I was a little concerned about flopping onto the hard floor, but the chair made fainting easy.

Continuing with the show—what kind of acceptance speech was this, anyway?—I announced that the only way I could get through this thing was to take an approach that I was more accustomed to. I reached into a sack, withdrew an old dial telephone, and called myself for an interview.

Right Ear: Hello, this is David Green from the Observer. I want to talk to you for a story about the alumni awards.

Left Ear: OK, what do you want to know?

Right Ear: Are you looking forward to the awards night?

Left Ear: Are you kidding? It’s like I’m going into major surgery with all my family gathered around.

Right Ear: You want me to print that?

Left Ear: No, I trust that you’ll make me sound good.

Right Ear: I hear that line a lot in my business.

Left Ear: You could say that I’ve dreamed about this night for a long time.

Right Ear: Really?

Left Ear: It was more like a nightmare. I actually did dream about it. I was failing so miserably at the podium that people started talking to each other. Even my mother found something better to do and walked away.

Right Ear: You probably aren’t accustomed to standing at the podium.

Left Ear: No, I’d rather be taking notes. Actually, I’d rather be somewhere else. I try to follow Henry Thoreau’s advice to be wary of events that require new clothing.

Right Ear. No, Left Ear still: In a good year, I never put on a necktie. This year I made it to April 19.

[Note: My necktie was handcrafted from the April 9 Observer. It wasn’t the best, but it worked.]

Right Ear: Still, it must be nice to be honored as a distinguished alumnus.

Left Ear: I don’t have a big list of organizations and clubs like most of those honored. I just make a newspaper every week. Just doing my job.

Right Ear: Are you going to give a speech?

Left Ear: I’m hoping to be the last one so I can say that the other two said everything I wanted to say. Then I can just say “Thanks” and go sit down.

Right Ear: I see that all three honorees are living in Morenci.

Left Ear: Yes, I noticed that, too. I thought I could talk about how unique I was until I learned that all three of us live here.

In all the years of the awards, there have only been three Morenci residents honored. Until tonight.

Right Ear: Are you the first member of your class?

Left Ear: I think so, but here’s a better one. I’m the first second-generation honoree. My father received the award in 2001, also for making newspapers.

Right Ear: So it’s a family tradition.

Left Ear: Sort of. My grandfather and father actually wanted to do newspaper work. I just didn’t find anything else to do and decided to give it a try.

Right Ear: And it’s gone well?

Left Ear: I feel very fortunate. I work with words, images and design every week. It’s a very creative job.

Right Ear: Well, I hope your big night goes well.

Left Ear: It could be worse. When my father got the award, he had to go to classrooms and talk to students. I think he had to give the same speech three times.

Right Ear: What’s the matter, you don’t like talking to kids?

Left Ear: I don’t like giving speeches. If I had to talk to students, I’d probably address the underachievers and tell them there’s still hope for all the clowns and bums because eventually they just might rise to the top.

Right Ear. No, still more Left Ear: I hope you can get something out of all this for a story.

Right Ear: Yeah, me too. It could be a challenge. Well, thanks for talking with me.

Left Ear: OK. Goodbye.

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