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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  • Cheer
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2007.04.11 Explosion in my pants

Written by David Green.


It all started with a missing Easter basket. No, it was earlier than that.

It all started with a missing blink on a smoke detector. Yes, that’s where it begins.

I was standing in the dark looking up at the smoke detector at the top of the stairs.  I was waiting for the blink of the red light that would let me know it was still functioning and would alert us the next time we severely burn some toast.

There was no blink. I could have pushed the test button, but it’s unreachable without a chair to stand on. It was late at night and I wasn’t about to stand on a chair at the top of the stairs in the dark.

So I filed that information away for Easter morning.

That’s when Maddie mentioned that her Easter basket was apparently not hidden. Her first clue was that the candy she bought for herself was still in plain sight on the table. She was right. I never even thought about it.

The oldest kid in a family will quickly tell you how the youngest gets everything. The eldest lived a spartan, disciplined life; the youngest has it easy and has it all.

That’s not entirely true. With two kids off to a job and college and the youngest a senior in high school, the Easter Bunny doesn’t always come knocking.

Maddie did her part. She bought her own candy. What was she supposed to do–fill the basket and hide it for herself?

So after a few minutes, I got up and fetched a basket from across the room. It wasn’t her Easter basket. I don’t think the Bunny ever told me where that one was kept, but this would certainly do.

I started removing the stuff inside and got down to a collection of batteries at the bottom. One was a 9-volt model that fits in a smoke detector. What good fortune. I slipped it into my pocket.

I filled the basket with the candy and a few other strange items and quietly went into what’s still known as the playroom to hide the thing. This was new territory. Easter baskets have always been hidden in the living/dining room. The playroom—now heavily used as a storage room—should prove challenging.

I told my wife the deed was done, but she had a couple of prunes to add. It’s an old family joke from back when the Easter Bunny left prunes stuffed with almonds instead of candy. The eldest child is right—he led a spartan, disciplined life.

Now we fast-forward a couple of hours to the smell in the kitchen. I was pretty sure what was going on. A few weeks ago it sounded as though a bird was caught in the vent of the range hood. I tried to do something about it then, but didn’t see a way in without tearing it apart.

I waited for Colleen to enter the shower and then I went at it. Off came the outer filter. Off came the fan/motor assembly. And then what? A metal flap opened only so far and I was sure that’s where the body lay.

The remains were removed and I went back to work, typing in some stories for this week’s paper.

Suddenly, there was an explosion inside my pants. That’s the only way I can describe it. It was a like a balloon popped in my right pocket. I could feel the impact.

After a moment of sitting there stunned, I reached in and withdrew the items. My lip salve was charred and the cap cracked. The inside of the battery was exposed after the bottom blew off. One of the chambers had exploded. Inside my pants.

It was extra unsettling because that’s exactly where I was sitting the day my left index finger suddenly turned red and went a little numb for a few days. It remained colder than my other fingers all winter.

I turned my pants pocket inside out over the waste basket and went into the bathroom to wash my hands. That’s when I noticed that darn hair brush still sitting on the counter.

When Colleen and Maddie headed out for their college visiting recently, I spotted a hair brush on the back porch. It had a strong plastic smell and I figured that’s why it was out there—to let it air out.

I was pleased to find it since Colleen took hers with her. I used it while they were gone and mentioned it to her on the phone one day.

“Oh, that’s the one we used on the cat.”

That’s how things have been going. Lately, it’s more than just my pants exploding.

    – April 11, 2007 

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