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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2008.08.06 Beware of bear and boxes of rocks

Written by David Green.


It’s been some time now that David and I assumed ownership of Ben’s former room. I think Ben must have been in college at least a couple years when we realized it was pretty silly for his room to stand empty while Rozee and Maddie shared a room.

We moved our bed and dressers in there without moving much more than Ben’s bed and dresser out. It’s a small room; the only other things in there are another dresser, a bookshelf David made long ago when we lived in the apartment above the Observer, and a couple of night stands.

The room is filled with Ben’s memorabilia; we can’t ever seem to get rid of his stuff. Ben’s not motivated either. Whenever he’s home, it’s just for a short time and there’s always something better to do than sort through old CD cases or books about Japan.

I was rubbing David’s feet the other night while he read in bed. I gazed around the room, taking stock of the line of trophies atop the door moldings, maps on the wall, a scary mask and skinny man sculpture made in art class, books and photos albums, cigar boxes of stamps—and the other dresser.

I knew that dresser was full of stuff. I’d tried to clean it out once before, but it’s too much for me. Two drawers contain dismantled radios, “D” batteries taped together, wires and whatnot—it brings to mind the old days of Odyssey of the Mind (OM) at Morenci Elementary School.

And then there are all the disappointing untouched Christmas and birthday gifts from over the years—a sand painting kit, Art Deck Game, Weird and Wonderful Wildlife postcards, journals and little notebooks—when all he ever really wanted was a bow or a BB gun.

It’s easier to just let it be.

“I was going to take the maps of Japan and Brazil down, but it was taking the paint off the walls so I stopped,” I said to David as I rubbed his feet.

“It’s time to take the bear tape off,” he said.

“Oh, you mean the bear danger sign?” I asked. Ben bought a sign on our trip to Alaska back in 1997 which he hung on his door some years ago:

Area Closed

Bear Danger

”Well, I haven’t seen any bears since we’ve been in here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any,” David said.

But David had been talking about a length of tape—like police “keep out” tape—Ben had also hung across his door. It wasn’t bear related at all; it was something he brought back from a trip he took to Germany when he was in high school.

The tape broke several months ago and flaps in the breeze—a noise that can startle a person on a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom.

“It flaps whenever you walk out of the room,” David claims.

I get more alarmed by the glow-in-the-dark acrobatic alien than the police tape. It sits on the bookshelf across from our bed and glows eerily, the alien suspended in mid-air on one of those little gizmos that flips the alien when you squeeze a couple buttons.

But I took a closer look at the “police” tape and looked up the words—betreten verboten lebensgefahr holzfallung—on entered forbade mortal danger wood falling.

Sheesh! What was my son doing over there in Germany nearly a decade ago? I emailed Ben asking about it.

“I didn't bring it back for any reason except that it had German words on it.”

“Was it extra tape hanging or did you endanger some poor souls who wouldn't know wood would be falling?” I probed further.

“I really don't know where I saw it or what it was being used for.”

I’m always a little surprised at ourselves when I think back on Ben arranging that trip the summer after his junior year of high school. He booked a seat on a bus which he boarded at Detroit Metro. The bus took him to Toronto where he caught a cheap flight to Frankfurt where his friend Tilman’s family met him.

Tilman Schmoll was an exchange student in Morenci during Ben’s sophomore year in high school, along with Sergio Filho who Ben visited in Brazil the summer before visiting Tilman.

I worried every step of the way during both those trips just as my mother worried about me traveling during high school summers. Big difference in scale, though. I was only going by bus from Port Authority terminal in New York City to upstate New York—Groton and Albion—and then a longer stretch to Gardiner, Maine the next summer.

As Ben takes off for Abu Dhabi, I suspect I’ll have an even harder time removing the boxes of rocks from those dresser drawers, the Brazilian Guarana soda bottles from the bookshelf, the New York license plate from the doorway....

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