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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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2008.10.22 F? g2g? Stop! prw

Written by David Green.


Maddie is home from college for a weekend visit and we went across town to my parents house Saturday night.

While sitting around the kitchen table making a cake disappear, I watched Maddie reach into the pocket of her hooded sweatshirt and glance downward. I knew what she was doing. A text message had arrived.

A few minutes later another came through. Her cell phone must not have been as deep in her pocket when the next message came through because I heard the vibration.

I had to make the announcement at this point. I wasn’t embarrassing her; I was educating my parents.

“Maddie has received a text message and now she’s answering it,” I said, adding that it’s very rude to ignore it.

I had to be a smarty-pants about it because I had just learned that rudeness fact earlier in the day.

Myself, I’m pretty ignorant about modern communication. E-mail and an occasional digital chat are as far as it goes. I don’t own a cell phone and I haven’t yet had the desire to get one.

That sounds pretty old fogey of me. After all, even my parents have one.

I have managed to make a few calls on those rare times when my wife has persuaded me to take her phone along when I’m off traveling somewhere.

It’s an older, drab-looking model that doesn’t even fold up. When I use one of my kids’ phones, I usually end up photographing my ear or calling the wrong number, like the infamous incident when we were halfway to Kentucky and I was suddenly talking to Kylene Spiegel back in Morenci.

I learned Saturday that I’m not among the estimated three billion people who own cell phones. I have never sent even one of the estimated trillion text messages that were sent out in the past year.

In a review of a book called “Txtng: The Gr8 Db8” by David Crystal, the author says that these trillion message are but “a few ripples on the surface of the sea of language.”

The debate referred to in the title is whether texting is destroying language, or as reviewer Louis Menand puts it, “Is texting bringing us closer to the end of life as we can tolerate it?”

lol; g2g; brb; F?

I’m so bad at this that I don’t know if “lol” means “laughing out loud” or “lots of luck.” I see it at the end of e-mails occasionally and wonder.

A.S.A.P.; R.S.V.P.; B.Y.O.B. F.Y.I. c.c.  Phone. Thanx. People were playing with language before typewriter days and Crystal, a linguist, isn’t worried about the current episode. Texters know how to spell. Our language is safe. Go back 100 years and it was probably the new-fangled telephone that was going to destroy communication.

To Crystal, texting isn’t just communication, it’s also somewhat of a game. Why else would people send text messages when they’re sitting across from one another in the same room.

People enjoy texting, he points out. It’s not anarchy, it’s a challenge to ingenuity, to speak your piece within the 160-character limit, and to speak it quickly.

Menand’s article mentions that in the old days when so much communication came via e-mail at a desktop computer, people felt a lot of pressure to respond as quickly as possible. But in those days, he says it was understood that people sometimes must walk away from their desk.

In 2008, there’s no excuse for being without your cell phone. If you say that you didn’t have your phone, it’s obvious that you’re lying and trying to avoid someone. You must respond instantly, which is why I announced at the kitchen table that Maddie was obligated to write back.

Wanting my children to excel in life, I was disheartened to learn that Maddie isn’t able to text with her eyes closed. Four out of 10 teens make that claim.

She isn’t a two-thumbed texter, either, but she blames that on the limits of her phone. If I wish to buy a model with the full, expanded keyboard she might improve her skills.

I know enough to keep my distance. If I come too close, her thumb will enter a quick “prw.” That’s my favorite bit of text that kids use: parents are watching. I could have used that myself at the kitchen table.

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