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.
  • 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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  • Front.walk Across

2006.09.27 Clayton arrives at the bridge

Written by David Green.


After all the running and walking was over Sunday morning at the Neal Singles 5K, a solitary pedestrian headed into town later that afternoon.

Inveterate walker Clayton Klein, 87, wrapped up his 417-mile journey that began in the Upper Peninsula town of Paradise, passed through the Lower Peninsula town of Hell, and finished in Morenci.

When Clayton walked the state a year ago, he traveled down M-52 to the state line. This year, after he sent an e-mail about his upcoming trip to newspapers across the state, I invited him to take a turn and end his journey south of Morenci. A walk across the historic truss bridge would offer a satisfying finish.

He took me up on the offer and Morenci was placed at the bottom of his itinerary. And that was the last I heard from him.

He started his walk Sept. 1, crossed the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day and kept heading south. His schedule stated he would leave the Bob Evans restaurant in Adrian about 8:30 a.m. Sept. 24 and head for Morenci and the state line.

I had no way of contacting him and I couldn’t hang out at the bridge all day waiting. Maybe he was off schedule, I thought, and wouldn’t even appear.

Around 1 p.m., I drove to the bridge with John Robertson, an out-of-town visitor who was here for the 5K run, just to try my luck. No one was in sight.

We had lunch, John left for home, and another set of 5K visitors, Jeff and Grace Johnston, announced they would like to take a walk before they got in their car and headed back home to Flint.

“Do you want to walk to the bridge to see if Clayton is here?” I asked, not too seriously.

That sounded good to them so off we went. Once again, there was no sign of the hiker, but what did we expect?

“Do you think he might carve his initials on the bridge?” Grace asked. “Clayton was here.”

I spotted something odd under the highway bridge so we went down to take a look. It was a toy that must have washed downstream.

We were standing down below when I noticed a man approaching on the sidewalk. I didn’t think it was Clayton. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but he just looked like anybody out for a stroll. All alone, ordinary clothing, no hiking staff.

“He looks like a dapper gentleman,” Grace said. “I think it’s him.”

We went back up on top and met the man about in the middle of the bridge.

“Is your name Clayton?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered, “and are you David Green?”

To think how close this had been to a completely uneventful end to his journey. We just happened to show up at the right time.

We walked with him into Ohio—he thought it was about a mile away instead of 50 yards—and read the old slab of granite that surveyors planted at the state line more than a century ago.

Grace asked the obvious question: Why do you do this?

“A couple reasons,” Clayton answered. “First of all, I really like to walk. Second is the charities.”

He likes to tell people about Hospice and the American Cancer Society. He doesn’t do fund raising and he doesn’t collect money. He just provides people with the proper addresses if they want to donate.

All Clayton had to do now was wait for his ride. His son and daughter were scheduled to pick him up sometime that afternoon. Clayton isn’t the kind of guy to carry a cell phone. He hadn’t spoken with his son since they were in Hell together a few days earlier. He just knew they would show up.

We walked back toward Main Street and he kept an eye open for a Ford mini-van.

We talked about walking in the rain (he doesn’t favor raincoats, they only make him wetter), about dogs (he’s never been bit, he just acts friendly and they accept him), and about his other adventures. He used to do a lot of travel by canoe, and his tale about almost getting gored by a musk ox in  the Northwest Territories is a good one.

Jeff and Grace had to get back home. I had to get some work done. We left Clayton at the corner of East and Main, pleased to make his acquaintance.

I looked over my shoulder once and saw him leaning up against a cable TV box in the yard where we left him.

I looked again later and he was gone.

– Sept. 27, 2006

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