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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2006.08.23 Say "Uncle"

Written by David Green.


In eight short months, I am to be an uncle.

My brother John and sister-in-law Stephanie cheerfully reported the news on a Tuesday night three weeks ago, just after I finished helping David empty the big blue van of the newest batch of Observers.

“I’m going to corrupt your child,” I cheerfully reported back to them.

I wasn’t kidding. I have long dreamed of being a weird uncle. You know, the shady character at reunions begging the rich family members for cash to start his latest pea-brained money-making scheme? Who has let enough people down that nobody even takes him seriously anymore? Who smells like airplane glue?

“I’m going to make him call me Uncle Sam,” I said. “I want him to associate the values I teach with the values of these United States of America. He will know more about the Galactic Rebellion and the Kree-Skrull War than the American Revolution and the Civil War.”

“What are you talking about?” said Stephanie.

“Are you going to name him John?” I asked.

“If it’s a boy, yes,” Stephanie answered.

“All right! Johnny Five is alive!” I exclaimed. My brother is John Middleton Pickell IV.

“Please don’t call him Johnny Five,” Stephanie said.

“Too late! Too late!” I yelled. “Input! Need input!”

“What if it’s a girl?” she countered.

I screamed “No!” and slammed the phone down. Then I ran to the office to tell David the good news.

“Guess who gets to be a weird uncle?” I asked.

“You’re going to be a monkey’s uncle?” he said.

“I have no idea what you’re saying!” I replied for the fifth time that day, then sprinted out onto the street.

I was preparing to go for a walk when John called me, so I parlayed the sprint into my standard plod. But I was still giddy with excitement. I’m sure I outdid myself in terms of sheer bizareness of appearance.

Let’s start with my normal exercise garb—a fluorescent orange Microsoft t-shirt that proclaims “Think” in bright white letters, a nine-year-old pair of diamond-patterned stark blue tennis shorts, black argyle socks, and huge orthopedic running shoes.

Add that I’m usually either humming or talking to myself as I walk, usually nonsense phrases like “Bus the Capitol” and “Call the mayor.”

And remember my freakish lack of elbow flex and strange semi-upright, shoulders-slumped posture.

Now factor in a huge, airplane glue-induced euphoric grin. Just kidding about the airplane glue.

I’m glad a crew of volunteers was mowing the grass around the track at the high school. If anyone heard what I was mumbling—the snippets of knowledge I plan to impart on my nephew—I’d have ended up in the looney bin.

Some samples:

“Han shot first. Han shot first. Han shot first. ‘Star Wars’ episodes one through three don’t exist.”

“William Shatner won two Emmys and a Golden Globe. For acting. This is scientific proof that nothing is impossible.”

“The American people elected Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura and Arnold Schwarzeneggar to the governorships of two U.S. states. It is not a coincidence that both were in ‘Predator.’”

“We refer to the man who played both Maverick and Jim Rockford as ‘Sir’ James Garner.”

“The closest any man will come to feeling the pain of childbirth is the fourth level of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog.’”

“Originally, literary scholars outlined four basic human conflicts: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self, and man vs. man’s work. Recently, a fifth conflict has been added—man vs. snakes on a plane.”

“I have always wanted to drink chocolate milk directly from a gas pump.”

I had my entire curriculum thought out by the time I returned from exercising, at which point David informed me of the nine gazillion unanswered calls to my phone line (the secret line in the office doubles as my personal line after hours).

I knew just who it was.

“I get to be the weird uncle!” yelled my brother Jamie.

“Too late! Too late! I already called it!” I chided.

“Shucks!” He said. “What does that leave me?”

“You can always be the cool uncle,” I said.

“Aw, who wants to be the cool uncle?”

Who indeed. Who indeed.

– Aug. 23, 2006

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