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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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2012.08.01 Worry, with a side of compost

Written by David Green.


I am eating Maddie’s crackers.

They are her favorites: Late July brand. “Organic, Classic Rich, Flaky, Buttery Tasting Crackers” it says on the box. Their expense keeps us from buying them except when they’re on sale. 

I bought the box several months ago in a moment of weakness at the food co-op in Ann Arbor. They weren’t on sale, but I missed Maddie and it sounded like she might be coming home. I thought she’d be happy to find them in the house after months of travel.

But then she changed her plans again and they’ve sat on the shelf, waiting, while she continued her travels in New Zealand.

And then a few weeks ago, she flew to Australia hoping to learn to surf and sail. Several days after landing, she arranged two sailing trips, one for two nights and the other for two weeks, and then planned to head home, probably by Aug. 24. 

And then Monday evening came this text:

“Would you be mad if I went back to New Zealand and worked/traveled in the north island?”

She was having some difficulty making flight arrangements for an August 24 departure and the ticket was going to cost way more than she anticipated. I’m not sure why she asked if I’d be mad. It doesn’t really matter if I get mad or jump up and down with joy. She’s going to do whatever she’s going to do, and it’s not looking like it’s going to involve getting on a plane any time soon.

So, tonight, looking for something to snack on after an uninspiring, weak dinner, I made a bold decision. The heck with saving the crackers for Maddie. Chances are, she won’t be home before their “Best by” date of Sept. 13, 2012. I opened the box and lavished them with peanut butter.

I am worn out from worry.

“Survived first night on the water and I love it,” she had texted a few days ago.

Oy. I had so hoped she would get seasick and not go on the next arrangement she’d made through a website, sailing with some unknown older man and some other girl.

I kicked myself for not encouraging her to take advantage of an internship she was offered back in April for this summer. An internship on the land, not the sea.

When Maddie took off for New Zealand in January, she had planned to return in May—either to begin an interesting internship in Santa Cruz, or, hopefully, to begin one of several other intern opportunities she was applying for in California.

Before she left, she had to spend a week at the Santa Cruz place, Love Apple Farms, to see if she and they were compatible, and for them to decide if she would be accepted into the Farm Apprenticeship Training Program. The visit would also allow her to see firsthand what it would be like.

It’s the kind of program she could probably have done at an organic farm in Michigan. But then she would be in Michigan, not California. And California has the advantage of being California, so when Love Apple says it “integrates the rigors of traditional farming practices with modern organic and biodynamic values and sustainable, high-end farm to table standards,” that sounds a lot better than  a Michigan farm saying the same thing. 

Plus, “With unparalleled attention to detail and devotion to quality, owners Cynthia Sandberg and Daniel Maxfield have elevated Love Apple Farms from a small garden to a widely-renowned farm and agricultural education center”—in California.

“So, what’s the story?” I texted her after her visit. “Did you like Love Apple and vice versa?”

“Yeah, I don’t know. It was nice, but I won’t be super upset if they don’t want me,” she said.

“Was it the dead-gopher-in-the-compost bit that dampened your enthusiasm?” I asked.

I was referring to a gory detail in an e-mail she had sent while at Love Apple.

“Drank goat milk from a champagne glass 5 minutes after it was milked, shoveled a giant pile of compost, Swiss chard sautéed with garlic on quinoa for lunch, sat in on an aromatherapy class, shoveled and carried some more, farm dinner (I ate soup!) and now I have a 5 minute hot shower...not too bad!

“Oh and I picked up a torn apart gopher doggy poop style and buried it in the compost.”

“What?!” I emailed back. “How did it get torn apart? I thought compost isn’t supposed to have meat in it...”

“Dog,” she said explaining the gopher’s demise.” 

“I don’t know...Uncooked rodents are OK?” she surmised about the gopher’s final resting place.

Yes, uncooked rodents are OK in compost piles in America. Come back and learn some more, Maddie.

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