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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2010.07.14 The visitors with six legs

Written by David Green.


How do these brown beetles find their way into our kitchen sink in the morning? There are often two or three trying to climb up the slick surface, or if there was a pan left with water, there are two or three swimming around or, perhaps, drowned.

Of course they’re drawn to the light above the sink, but I don’t see an easy way in. Land on the screen, climb up until reaching a small gap betwixt screen and upper window, squeeze through, take a swim.

They look like June bugs, although they seem a little small. My wife and I might have witnessed a June bug uprising a few weeks ago.

We were walking around the school track when we noticed a lot of insects in the air and a huge collection of them at the top of the scoreboard. We thought they were bees and hurried on by, dodging and wincing.

We thought we might be turning around at the next lap and avoiding the scoreboard end, but I got a close-up look at one of the “bees” that landed on Colleen’s shirt. It was a beetle. They seemed to be buzzing us and sometimes landing. June bugs, perhaps, and I think of the words from poet Anne Sexton who wrote about the June bug at her window:

“June bug came on the first of June,

plucking his guitar at the west window,

telling his whole green story, telling—

little buzzard who is all heart who

wants us to know how expensive it is

to keep the stars in their grainy places,

to keep the moles burning underground,

for the roots are stealing all the water,

and so he pulses at each window, a presence,

a huge hairy question who sees our light

and thinks of it:

            You are the food,

you are the tooth, you are the husband,

light, light, sieving through the screen

whereon I bounce my big body at you

like shoes after a wedding car.”

No, these guys aren’t big enough for June bugs. They’re more like Japanese beetles in a plain brown wrapper.

In my wife’s eyes, none of our six and eight-legged visitors are welcome. Oddly enough, she doesn’t even want the spiders that eat the insects. Imagine that.

We have a new visitor this year that I don’t recall ever seeing before. It’s not easy to see them this time, either. I think they must be the grease ant, also known as the thief ant.

They’re the same size as the pharaoh ant, but the pharaoh has 12 antenna segments to the grease ant’s 10. Maybe I’ll count them later.

These are the tiniest ants I’ve ever encountered. A pest, indeed, but so impressive. They form a line of coming and going workers heading to and from the nest.

I’ve read that a positive identification for grease ants is to see if they curl up into a ball when they’re sprayed with ant poison. Ours are sprayed with vinegar and they die quite rapidly, but not into balls. I think the acid just immobilizes them right in place.

We have an ant trap that isn’t effective with grease ants even though the product indicates it is. I even added a little peanut butter around the opening. We’ll have to get another kind eventually when we tire of spraying vinegar every two or three days. The vinegar probably drives the fruit flies absolutely wild.

I remember visiting my Grandmother Green many years ago when she discovered tiny ants around her sink. She pointed an index finger and started poking at them one by one. I think they were the next size up from grease ants. With grease ants you could poke them five by five, if you were so inclined.

There’s a screen that needs repairing and that might be the source of the lightning bug that surprised me in the living room the other night. The rare visit by one of them inside the house is a novelty and perhaps enjoyed by both Colleen and me.

The beetles have been the primary visitors lately, but occasionally there’s something else of interest swimming or hiding out—another kind of beetle or the sleek, black flier that reminds me of the old X-15 jet airplane.

This is a secret—don’t tell my wife—but there’s a spider in our bedroom. It’s in a cage of its own making and won’t come out to bite her in the night. It’s our hairy black little friend.

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