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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2009.06.03 All those hatless heads

Written by David Green.


I saw such a funny sight at the state track meet Saturday. I should have noticed it in the past, but I think the sun made the difference.

I was standing near the high jump pit when the National Anthem was played—wait a minute, since when was there a pit at the high jump event? Fifty years ago?

And now I feel another digression coming on. I just don’t understand the concept of playing the National Anthem at every sporting event in the country. Why are we reminded of the rockets red glare before the hockey puck is dropped? Why are we given the image of bombs bursting in air before the first pitch is thrown?

Suppose all four stanzas of Francis Scott Key’s poem were used?

On the shore dimly seen thro’ the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

I’ve heard it played so many times over so many years of sports coverage that I now quickly assess how each version is going to play out. Will it be one of those really s-l-o-w deliveries that seem to drag on forever or will it come through as a peppier rendition?

At high school football games, it’s almost always live. A school band shows its skills or lack thereof. At high school basketball games, a pep band might provide the music or—I really dread this one—a student, almost always a female, will sing the song.

Twenty years ago it might have been sung, either well or badly, in a straightforward manner. Now, the singer has to mimic some singing star who shows off with a range of tones instead of a single note. It’s like turning a one-syllable word into one with five.

And the crowd loves it and I realize, once again, that I really don’t belong in that gymnasium, that I really don’t deserve to hear the performance, that I’m just a jaded, tired old misanthrope who can’t control his cynicism. But it’s my job and I must be there.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.

So there I was Saturday at Forest Hills Eastern High School awaiting the National Anthem. Actually, it was the second time of the day. “The perilous fight” was played out in the morning before the first heat of the 100-meter dash preliminaries.

That was back when I first started reading the slogan shirts that are responsible for athletes’ performances. A lot of those kids never would have made it to the state meet if they hadn’t worn a T-shirt all season that read: “Do work son.” I think on the front it read “Commas are overrated.”

How about this: “My blood, my sweat, your tears.”

Here’s another: “Run hard or run home.”

A Christian school turned to the Old Testament to urge its athletes to “run with endurance.” How about this Bible message T-shirt: “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”

So I’ve been to too many sporting events in the past 30 years.

OK, I was standing by the high jump mound waiting for Phoenix Duncan to do her thing. She had already fallen short of her best in the long jump and was probably hoping to make up for it in the high jump.

She approaches the bar almost dead-on rather from the side and I was standing off to the side so I wouldn’t be in her view.

But it was time for the Star Spangled Banner and gentlemen were asked to remove their hats to show respect.  Women, on the other hand, were allowed to wear their hats because head-gear on a woman shows no disrespect.

All right, I won’t go into that. I’m probably already due letters to the editor accusing me of being unpatriotic.

The music began. It was moderate in speed, but it was done so well that it didn’t matter if it dragged. Wonderful brass.

I couldn’t look up at the flag because of the position of the sun, so I looked straight ahead and saw hundreds of men without their caps. It was hilarious. Men always wear hats at sporting events. Bald spots, funny hat hair, matted down hair...all these strangely uncovered heads all o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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