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.
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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.
  • 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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2009.03.11 Williemow checks in

Written by David Green.


Williemow floated in and out of our lives over the weekend. He arrived Friday afternoon and was off again before daylight the next morning.

I’ve written before about the man named David Wilamowski who’s always been Williemow to us since we met in East Lansing in the late 1970s.

I’ve told about his travels—his almost relentless travels—and his itinerant lifestyle that keeps him on the move. He’s either doing organic farming in California or cooking for a caterer in Oregon or doing landscape work in Lansing or banding birds in Brazil.

He’s here or he’s there, but he’s never really home. He can’t be because he has no home. He owned a house and some land for a few years near Marquette, but he never spent a lot of time there and eventually he sold it. There are rain forests to explore and trails in the Sierra Nevadas to hike. Besides, it’s too cold up there in Marquette.

I received an e-mail from Willy earlier in the week stating that he was headed for a new job northeast of San Diego and he wanted to stop in for a visit.

He’s really excited about his new job. It’s another bird job. He and half a dozen others will be tracking the fates of the southwestern willow flycatcher and the least bell’s vireo. Follow them around, check their nests, sit on their eggs if necessary.

It’s a five-month job which is a rather long stretch for Williemow, but that’s OK with him because he wants to put away some savings. He doesn’t have a lot of faith in Social Security.

Whenever one of these rare visits happens, we pull a few tales out of him that we never heard before. This time we learned about the Purple House hostel in David City, Panama, where everything—even the toilet plunger—is purple.

Colleen asked about safety at hostels and Willy said it’s generally not a problem but there are some places to avoid.

“There’s a city in Panama where everybody who goes there gets robbed, so you don’t go there,” he said.

Have you ever been robbed?

“I have been robbed a few times,” Willy answered. “Once at gun-point in Mexico. He was pushing a gun into my forehead and he told me he was going to kill me.

“He got my wallet, but he didn’t get my leg stash,” Willy said, lifting up a pant leg to display his homemade money stash that he sewed from old denim jeans.

I mentioned that my brother, Tom, was going back overseas to teach for a couple of years, this time in Indonesia.

“What great birds,” Willy said.

Name a country, he’ll talk about the birds.

The conversation accompanied dinner preparation. Willy told me there was a wheatless cornbread recipe in the Joy of Cooking. Sure enough: Southern cornbread. I had to try it.

He brought collard greens from a market in Lansing and asked if we wanted some. I’ve never been a collard fan, but Willy’s cooking never disappoints.

You have to roll the leaves and slice them thinly before adding to the onions. I now love collards. What a good flavor.

It was strange to have him for such a brief visit. He generally has time to burn.

We got him for Friday night. By Saturday night he would be visiting an aunt in Lincoln. Then a cousin in Denver. Then another one in Albuquerque.

After that he scheduled a couple days for the Tecopa Hot Springs just over the California border. Then it’s on to the job site for a couple of days to get acclimated before work begins March 16.

He was already thinking ahead to some free time for hiking in the Sierra Nevadas. He knows of this desolate area where you climb up to the 11,000 foot level and then drop back down into a high valley.

“The first time I was there, I was looking around for a place to set up the tent and I looked down and saw an obsidian spear-point.”

Colleen asked if he still has the same retirement plan: a walk into the ocean.

“That’s not my retirement plan,” Willy said. “That’s the end plan.”

I was already in bed when the hostess was pointing out the shower towel for morning. I heard her ask, “So when is the next time?”

“I really don’t know,” Willy answered.

That’s how it is with Williemow. Here today; gone tomorrow.

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