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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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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2006.12.13 They call me Lackbeard

Written by David Green.


I’d never want to be marooned on a desert island for six years, but not for the reasons you’d think.

I actually think it would be a pretty interesting experience to spend a few years like Robinson Crusoe on a tropical atoll with nothing to keep me company but coconuts and a herd of feral goats. The problem is, nobody would believe me if I did.

When my rescuers finally showed up, the discourse would go something like:

Jeff: Thank goodness you’re here! I’ve been awaiting rescue for ages!

Rescuer: Relax, buddy. You’ve been here what? Three days?

Jeff: What are you talking about? The ship I was on sank six years ago!

Rescuer: If you’ve been on this abandoned island for so long, where’s your beard?

Jeff: [After a long pause] I have no good answer to that.

I’m among the approximately 4,000 American men between the ages of 18 and 122 who go beardless each year. Sure, I have facial hair, but it grows in careless, inconsistent splotches that kind of remind me of my cleaning habits. If I go three or four days without shaving children laugh at me and dogs bark at me on the street.

I’ve wanted a beard since seventh grade, when I had geography with the delightfully bearded Mr. Fincham.

Mr. Fincham would’ve been an unremarkable teacher were it not for his remarkably remarkable stories. He once brought in a wood stake he said was from Transylvania, claiming it could have been used on a vampire hunt. Another time, he showed us a katana given to him by a World War II veteran. It was procured after the soldier shot a Japanese commanding officer charging at him in a last ditch banzai attack.

The best story of all was the one he told to warn us against tipping back in our chairs.

When he was in high school, Mr. Fincham had a close female friend who was “very bright and just very charming. She was just really very bright and had the whole world ahead of her.” That’s how Mr. Fincham spoke.

One day, Mr. Fincham’s friend tipped back too far, fell over, and knocked her head on the floor so hard her skull broke and little pieces of bone stuck into her brain. When he went to visit her in the hospital, he found her screaming silently in pain—her voice was gone by then. She was clutching her bedside railing with such violent force that her hand had turned black and blood oozed from her fingernails.

“It took her two weeks to die,” he said gravely.

And nobody ever sat down in Mr. Fincham’s class again.

I admired Mr. Fincham’s deftness at terrorizing middle schoolers—after all, they were, and continue to be, my worst enemy. Consequently, I admired his massive beard, which he periodically combed after setting us to work in our outdated geography books. It is, to this day, my belief that I would be at the forefront of beard achievement had I not slighted my idol.

The summer between seventh and eighth grade, I took to reading the stack of old National Geographics my grandpa sent me and stumbled across a startling factoid. And so, on the first day of school, as Mr. Fincham started into his anti-tipping anecdote, I raised my hand in interruption.

“Mr. Fincham, your story can’t be true,” I proclaimed. “I read that the brain doesn’t have pain nerves, so she couldn’t have been in as much pain as you said she was!”

Mr. Fincham grabbed his beard in surprise, assuring us that he would never lie to his students. Still, he said wouldn’t tell the story until he could provide proof that it was true. For one day, we sat comfortably. That night, Mr. Fincham phoned his doctor friend.

“It was brain swelling that caused the pain,” he explained to us the next day after another terrorizing telling       of the story. He looked me dead in the eye. “Brain swelling. The brain may not feel pain, but the skull does when the brain swells into it.”

My classmates grumbled, pushing back their chairs and climbing to their feet. Several hair follicles on my face and neck shrunk back into my skin, never to be seen again. It seems Mr. Fincham placed a call to a few of his friends on the U.S. Board of Beard Determination as well.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that if you ever want people to believe you’ve had a prolonged stay on a desert island, never challenge a bearded middle school teacher.

    - Dec. 13, 2006 

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