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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2006.03.08 Death too good for chipmunks

Written by David Green.


As rambunctious and well-meaning as she is, Darla the dog is not a good sentry.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s just a little froofy dog, a Bichon poodle who sleeps (“night night nappers” in Darla speak) in a blanket-covered cage near my Mom. I don’t expect her to chase off cat burglars. I don’t expect her to keep other dogs off our property. I don’t even expect her to not piddle on the carpet.

I do, however, expect her to work the morning patrol, the 6 a.m to 10 a.m. shift. The chipmunk beat, as I call it.

I don’t like chipmunks. Chipmunks are what alarm clocks would be if alarm clocks were furry, mobile and vindictive. Alarm clocks are obnoxious, but they are honorable about it. Before you go to sleep, you make arrangements with an alarm clock. It rouses you at an agreed upon hour, you smash it with a hammer, then you go back to sleep.

But have you ever tried to smash a chipmunk with a hammer? I have. Several times. It’s not easy. It also hasn’t done much for my already threadbare reputation to be spotted chasing a rodent down the street in my pajamas, shouting threats of bludgeoning death in the early morning hours.

If you’d suspend your judgment for another few inches of print space, I’ll explain. Chipmunks are sinister. They lie in wait outside my window with their ears perked, waiting for the sound of my breathing to hit that perfect pitch, the sign that I’ve achieved a most pleasurable level of sleeping comfort.

Then they let loose: chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp. And wake me up. No matter how much window banging I do, no matter how much shouting, they don’t stop.

Some of you might say, “Jeff, you’re crazy. Chipmunks don’t make noises.”

To which I’d reply, “If it’s taken you this many of my columns to realize I’m crazy, then you’re crazy.”

After which, some of you might say, “Jeff, we’re not here. We’re hypothetical people. You made us up.”

And then I’d say, “Oh. Shut up. Jerks.”

You have to believe me. Chipmunks chirp. Look it up on the internet. If you don’t think chipmunks chirp, it’s probably because you have a dog who does his job and chases the little buggers off.

That’s how it was for me. I had no idea chipmunks made noise until after my childhood dog, Bridget, passed away. Bridget lived to the ripe old age of 15 (40 gajillion in dog years), and even in the blindness and deafness and screen-door-running-into-ness of her final days, the chipmunks lived in fear of her.

Bridget knew her duty. Every morning, at the crack of dawn, just after Mom got up, she would scratch at the door, waiting to be let out, eager to terrorize those flea-bitten varmints.

Darla, too, rises with Mom. She also scratches at the door. But it’s the wrong door. It’s my door. And when, in my sleepy daze, I open it up to shoo her away, she scampers between my legs, up onto my bed, and under my covers. 

“Darla! What are you doing!” I implore her. “This isn’t time for night night nappers!”

Darla wags her nubbin of a tail and rolls around in the tangle of sheets and blankets.

“You just had a night night nappers!” I yell. “Now get out there and mertilate those chirping chipmunks! Kill, Darla! Kill! I demand horrifying mutilation and death!”

Darla snores. I snuggle next to her and try to get some sleep. The chipmunks begin chirping. Darla snores louder. I waver between hanging myself by my belt and making a turkey and salami sandwich. The sandwich always wins out. Salami is hard to come by in the afterlife, so I hear. Well, at least the afterlife I’m headed to.

The severe lack of sleep I get at my parents’ house has yielded one positive outcome, though. By the time I get back to Morenci on Sunday night I’m so dog-tired and sleep deprived that I pass out at 8 p.m., enjoying several wonderful hours of sleep.

That is, until around two in the morning, when the water heater in the next room comes alive with an immense whoosh and the clankclank clank clankaclankclank clonk clonk-ing begins.

No matter how many times I smash that darn thing with a hammer, it just won’t shut up.

– March 8, 2006 

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