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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2008.06.11 Hot times in old Abu Dhabi

Written by David Green.


Abu Dhabi.

Abu who?

That’s what we said when Ben called several months ago to say the landscape architecture firm he works for in Miami was offered a long-term contract to do business in Abu Dhabi.

Unlike Ben, who has eagerly traveled to four other continents besides the one he was born on, world geography has never been my strong suit. I had to consult Google Maps to find out that Abu Dhabi is part of the United Arab Emirates which is situated between Saudi Arabia and Oman. It’s located in that lovely hot zone, across the Persian Gulf from Iraq and Iran, about an hour southwest of Dubai.

What did we think about him going to live there for long stretches of time during the five to 10 years his firm would be involved in projects?

Oh, God, please don’t do it?

No, my first reaction was actually enthusiastic excitement for such an opportunity. When you give a kid wings, you have to accept that roots aren’t all that compatible with flying.

I can’t yet process my second reaction; I have Rozee’s July 5 wedding to think about. If I think about my only son living all the way across the globe in a decidedly volatile part of the world, I won’t be able to cope.

I am adopting the Scarlett O’Hara approach to stress: “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow,” tomorrow being July 6.

That approach has worked pretty well, especially since Ben’s date of departure keeps shuffling around. My only concern at this stage of the game is that he return in time for Rozee’s wedding.

I’m not thinking about the temperatures that reach 125 degrees accompanied by high humidity, the proximity to Iraq and Iran, the huge distance from Morenci, the high price of airline tickets, when we’ll ever see him again.

And then he called home last week, after I had been thinking about him and wishing he would call. I don’t call my kids all that often. They share a family phone plan which allows them to call each other for free anytime and us after 9 p.m. and on weekends. If I call before 9 p.m. it uses up their minutes, so I just send them telepathic messages to call me. 

Telepathy works pretty well (Call when I’m thinking of you, I tell my kids.) and when it doesn’t, I call them after 9 or on the weekends. Last Monday I was sending telepathic messages to Ben because we hadn’t heard from him in a few days.

He called a little while later.

“Mom,” he said.

“Ben! You got my message!”

“Yeah,” he said, matter-of-factly.

“My telepathic message?”

“Yeah,” he replied, in a voice that said, “Well, what do you expect, you sent a message.”

I felt I had arrived as a parent! My son  is on my wavelength! That, or Ben was just humoring me.

He started right in.

“We could go to prison for up to five years.…”

“What?! Where are you? What’s going on?”

I had nearly fallen off my chair and was rife with worry.

Just an hour before, David had read me something about crime in Miami...something about the number of shady characters who settle in sunny Miami. I imagined Ben calling from jail, that he had unwittingly gotten into some kind of trouble.

“Wait, listen,” he said.

I pulled myself together as he explained he would be going to Abu Dhabi for a couple of weeks before Rozee’s wedding and then going to live there in September. His wonderful long-time girlfriend, Sarah, would be going with him.

“We could face up to five years in prison if we were living together without being married,” he said, “so we’re thinking of getting married.”

“Oh, Ben, that’s wonderful! I exclaimed.

David was at work by then, so I e-mailed him.

“Guess who just called and is thinking strongly about getting married in August?”

“Maddie and one of those grad assistants? he replied.

Maddie is out in Wyoming taking a month-long University of Michigan geology course taught by a couple of professors and several graduate assistants. She’s having an excellent time  learning about glacial moraines and investigating lava holes, but she’s never mentioned the grad assistants.

I filled David in on the details of Ben’s exciting new development.

He quickly e-mailed back.

“Prison or marriage? Hmmm...have to think that one over.”

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