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.
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    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.
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    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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2012.01.18 A flap over a mystery gift

Written by David Green.


There was something unusual about our living room over the holidays. There was the smell of a fir tree and it was coming from a live fir tree. Maybe the word “live” isn’t accurate, but it was recently deceased.

For the past three years, our Christmas tree consisted of a cheap-looking artificial tree suspended from twine. It was a moving tree, capable of swinging through the season.

Our hanging tree started the year Colleen and the kids were off traveling somewhere and I remained behind to make a newspaper. I was also given the order to decorate for Christmas.

We had an artificial tree in the basement that I really didn’t appreciate all that much, but I didn’t really like the idea of cutting a tree down to place in the house for a couple of weeks and then throwing it away. Just one of those seasonal dilemmas.

I went to the basement that year and decided that if I were to use that tree, I would make it different and the swinging tree was born.

I figured that after one year of that, I wouldn’t be asked to decorate again, but that wasn’t the case. It was requested at least two more years.

This year was different. Colleen came home from Ann Arbor with an actual recently deceased tree inside the car.

The tree itself was all wrapped up in twine to keep it in a tight, missile-like shape which I found quite impressive. Easy to carry, easy to fit through doorways. What will they think of next?

Someone is probably now saying that their tree came that way in 1954, but I don’t recall ever seeing one packaged that way.

We seem to be infamous for getting our tree up late and also for getting it back down late. Don’t expect two very busy people to get right on it.

It remained on the porch for several days before I finally received my orders to remove some of the lower branches for use as decoration and to cut off enough of the trunk so that it was narrow enough to fit into the tree stand.

It wasn’t too much of a battle. I think I only marred one item of clothing with sap. Once the tree was erected, it remained undecorated until another child arrived home—someone with a little time on her hands.

When e-mails from children arrived asking what I wanted for Christmas, I pleaded for “not much.” I need to pare down; not add to the collection. I suggested something consumable or something I could give away, like a geocache travel bug.

It turned out well. I did get an interesting travel bug—a small item that’s placed inside a geocache and moved on and on to other locations.

One I found in Kentucky has traveled through Japan and is now in eastern Europe. There’s one I made with a piece of printing metal from the Observer that’s been making its way across England.

This new one I received will soon be registered and placed somewhere to begin its travels. A gift that will take up no space in my life.

I received grapefruit from Louisiana, along with some sugar cane to sweeten my life. An excellent consumable gift that will disappear. I have a gift card to purchase apps for an iPad. Much pleasure with no space taken up.

Our recent trip to Savannah for a wedding was covered by the gift of carbon offsets to counter the fuel burned en route.

There was one other possibility of a present that I’ve noticed on the back porch. There was a box addressed to me from South Carolina.

I’ve done nothing more than look at it to see that it was still unopened, but when Colleen discovered it, she brought it to me and brought a pair of scissors to cut the tape.

I continued writing the news story that I was working on and occasionally pondered what it was. Did I order a present for someone that I forgot to get under the tree? Had I bought a present for Colleen’s birthday that follows shortly after Christmas?

I finished the story and I cut open the box, with Colleen standing by. She was anticipating something good. A post-Christmas treat.

There at the bottom of the box, under packing material, was a rubber flap for the back of my electric lawnmower. The old one tore; Black and Decker was good enough to send a new one.

It seems like they could have gift-wrapped it.

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