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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2002.09.25 An evanescent vocabulary

Written by David Green.


Let me introduce you to the word “moiety.” Until yesterday, I’m sure I never saw that word in my life. I’ve never read it. I’ve never heard it spoken. But according to the editors of the American Heritage College Dictionary, it’s a word I should know.

That and 99 others.

Last week, the dictionary editors released a list called “100 words that all high graduates—and their parents— should know. Talk about making a person feel stupid.

The list was made public just after a recent announcement by the people who write the SAT test. Math scores keep going up, but verbal scores actually went down last year.

Moiety, as the rest of you surely know, means half or a portion. Anthropologists might know it, too, as either of two kinship groups based on unilateral descent, blah, blah, blah.

The 100 word list starts with abjure, moves on through lugubrious and quotidian, and ends up with ziggurat.

I’ve heard of all four of those words and can define none of them. There’s not too many of the 100 than I could actually define. Several I could use in a sentence and a few more I could probably figure out if I read them in a sentence.

But overall, do I ever feel stupid.

I RAN through a few of the words with my wife and eldest daughter to see how we stood.

We made it down through the fifth word in the list before Colleen was ready to offer a guess: antebellum. To me, that sounded like a period of history and Colleen said it was related to the South.

Antebellum: Belonging to the period before a war, especially the American Civil War.

How about this one: enervate. Energize, Colleen said. That sounded good to me.

Enervate: To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality.

“Just the opposite,” Colleen said. “I was sure I had that right.”

That’s expected, according the editors. The word is often incorrectly used to mean “to invigorate.”

Rosanna suggested that I move down to the P words. Several of her recent vocabulary words in pre-composition class have been Ps and later. I hit the Os first and offered obsequious. No one had a guess so I wen��t to the definition: Full of or exhibiting servile compliance; fawning.

“Fawning, yeah,” said Rosie. “I remember it from class because we didn’t know any of the definition words either.”

That’s the problem with many of the definitions. They seem to engage in circumlocution. That word, by the way, is located between churlish and circumnavigate.

Paradigm (“I would have got it right in multiple choice,” said Colleen). Soliloquy (Rosanna knew it, thanks to a play she was in). Vortex (“A really cool ride at King’s Island,” says Rosanna). Inculcate (“It’s a nice way of saying brainwashing,” suggests Colleen).

And so it went. There were some hits and there were lots of misses.

I HEARD about the list on a radio program. The interviewer asked the dictionary senior editor if he had a favorite word among the hundred. He did.

“Actually, I do like the word supercilious,” he said, following up on the intervi�ewer’s use of the word. “Especially after I learned the etymology.”

The Latin roots come from eyebrow and pride. The raising of the eyebrow, the raising of pride showing haughty disdain. “It’s just a really cool word,” he added.

If the interviewer had been asked, I think her favorite would have been jejune. She said it two or three times, and it seemed like a special word just by the way she spoke it. She mentioned how churlish and jejune could both relate to teenage attitudes.

For me, I really like the word diffident. It means shy or timid, lacking in self-confidence. I couldn’t have defined it because it’s been too many months since I became fond of it. I first saw it on the menu at a Chinese restaurant. One particular entrée contained “diffident vegetables.”

And the most appropriate word from the list? That has to be evanescent, because my efforts to learn these 100 must-know words are sure to vanish like vapor.

    – Sept. 25, 2002 

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