The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

2012.08.01 Losing sleep with the Moth Man

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I’m not the nocturnal member of this family. That would be my wife, of course, who can operate day after day on what I consider not enough sleep.

Since she knows that I’m in bed reading by 10:15—with the exception of 1 a.m. Mondays—she was ready to call the police at midnight Saturday. She had her phone with her as she drove toward Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area (the Tourist Camp for those of you over the age of 50, perhaps). She thought I must have been murdered by a mysterious moth man.

It was rather uncharacteristic behavior for me to hang out in the woods that late. Colleen was engaged in some overdue gardening when I rushed home Saturday around 9 p.m., announced that the moth man had arrived and ran into the house for long pants and a camera.

I don’t recall saying much else as I ran to the car and took off into the fading light.

For me, this adventure came courtesy of Chief of Police Larry Weeks. He sent an e-mail to tell me that a couple of guys would be “doing an entomology survey in Riverside Park Saturday in the pm.

Larry apologized for not having any more information than that, but he ended with “I figured it would be something you might be interested in.

Was I interested? I drove down the road to Riverside four times Saturday afternoon but never found anyone. In the back of my mind I wondered if they might work in the night because I had tracked down one of the guys, Dwayne, and he had an odd e-mail address that refers to a class of night-flying moths.

So I decided to check one last time around 9 p.m. I turned down the Riverside drive and soon saw an odd purplish light off to the side. Soon there was another and a man standing nearby. 

I drove on down to the park and saw a large white sheet erected in the opening with a pair of black lights lighting it up. There were more lights here and there around the woods. Thank you, Larry Weeks. The adventure was about to begin.

So I rushed home and rushed back and met Dwayne, an unlikely moth specialist. Sure, it’s just a matter of stereotypes, but if I were introduced to a machinist with a ponytail and lots of tattoos, I wouldn’t automatically think, “I’ll bet this guy knows moths like someone else knows baseball players or rock musicians.”

Maybe he knows all of those things, but believe me, he knows moths.

Before it got dark, Dwayne had walked around the Riverside loop and painted a splot on several trees with a fruity mixture. I’ll have to listen to my recording to get details. This whole episode will make a great story in a future Observer.

I met him at his moth collecting headquarters—the large cloth with the black lights. Soon it was time to walk the loop to see what had arrived.

I’m pretty dumb about moths. I generally equate them with windowsills where I see them dead. Of course they’re always buzzing around porch lights and street lamps, but I never made the obvious connection—for the most part, moths are creatures of the night. You don’t see them much in daylight, but at night they’re everywhere.

Dwayne would walk up to a fruity patch and I would see nothing and assume it was empty except for the ants. He would open a collecting jar, move it to the tree and soon a moth would fly inside it. What excellent camouflagers.

I soon caught on and started spotting them. Other than size, they all looked pretty much alike to me. Dwayne would rattle off the Latin name like he was talking about a good friend. I suppose he was.

We looked through his collection back at headquarters and it became obvious they weren’t at all the same. It also became obvious they’re beautiful little things. Such interesting, delicate markings, iridescent under the flashlight. Butterflies get all the attention with their bright colors, but moths know how to do it in browns and grays.

The wingstem that grows at Riverside attracts the gold moth. The wafer ash another, the hop vine another, etc. It gives Riverside one more reason to exist. I’m always surprised every time I hear about people from far away who value Morenci’s wild park.

Around midnight I decided I should leave. It’s a vacation week for a staff member at the Observer and I needed to do a lot of extra work. I really had no time for moths and for staying up so late.

I thanked Dwayne and drove back up to North Street. A car was just turning into the drive. It was Colleen and now Morenci’s police department would not receive her missing person report that night.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016