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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2007.04.18 Dogged by the baby

Written by David Green.


Darla the dog is no fan of babies.

I was worried about how she would behave when my brother John and sister-in-law Stephanie brought their newborn son over for Easter dinner last week. I even suggested keeping the froofy little bichon poodle in her night-night (cage) until John, Stephanie, and little Johnny Five were on their way home.

“Don’t worry,” my mom said. “Darla will be on her best behavior.”

To my surprise, she was.

When my nephew arrived, I was pleased to notice that the Winnie-the-Pooh characters on his brand-spanking-new Easter outfit were recreations of E.H. Shepard’s original illustrations—not the Disney-ized versions most are familiar with.

I’ve always been a fan of A.A. Milne’s original Pooh stories, and since high school have been disheartened by what Disney has done to the characters. I took a moment to remark to John that he was raising his son right.

“Glurg,” he replied. I reckoned I could’ve fit my entire comic book collection in the bags under his eyes. He and Stephanie had had a stressful week, as I imagine all new parents do in the days ensuing the birth of their first child.

First, there was concern over whether Johnny Five was eating enough, then there was concern about regularity, then there was concern about whether the operation “down there” was healing correctly—all issues that were discussed at length in the build-up to the Easter feast, which I was characteristically itching to get at.

Darla didn’t know what to make of Johnny Five. As my mom laid him on the couch to look over his outfit, the dog sat perched on the other side of her lap. She leaned over cautiously and took a sniff of the baby’s blanket, then darted back to her side of the mom. She stayed alert after that, nose up, perplexedly breathing in the new baby smells.

It was funny in a pitiful sort of way to watch the poor little dog try to figure out what the hay was going on. She shot me a series of desperate looks, as if to say, “Jeff, I don’t understand. Help.” I couldn’t help feeling bad for her.

I went downstairs to hassle my other brother Jamie while he played video games. When I emerged a few minutes later, Darla was sitting in front of the kitchen sink, separated from Johnny Five by a counter and a couch.

“What are you doin’ over there, boo-boo?” I inquired.

“Johnny Five hiccuped,” my mom said. “Darla didn’t like that.”

“Oh Dar Dar boo-boo dog,” I said, scooping her up. “You didn’t let that mean old baby scare you, did you?”

“She said ‘I did,’ she said,” I replied in mock conversation. “I don’t like those babies.”

“Boo-boo, you don’t gotta be scared of no babies,” I told her.

I went to the refrigerator and got her a carrot. My parents began substituting carrots for doggy treats when Darla started getting a little pudgy. I’ve read that, unlike humans, dogs can’t eat anything they want without gaining a pound.

Poor thing. In a few minutes, I would be in ham heaven.

Or so I thought. As my dad began carving that juicy meat into manageable hunks, an intense rumbling came from Johnny Five, followed by a cathartic wail.

Darla boogied out of the room.

Soon, it was clear that the confusion over whether Johnny Five was regular or not was resolved.

My nostalgic mom eagerly volunteered to change the baby’s diaper. I curiously ambled over to watch her work. I’d never seen anybody change a baby before, and knew it was a skill I’d have to learn at some point.

Boy, talk about a sour, unwholesome task. As my stomach veered south, my mom worked along with somewhat distressing enthusiasm. She handed the soiled baby wipes to John, who disposed of them in the next room, but not before swiveling around with an exaggerated motion that brought the wipes frighteningly close to my face.

He’s such a jerk.

Anyway, I was in no way prepared for what I saw—when babies go, they go, and there is all kinds of peripheral cleaning and maintenance that I hadn’t thought of.

Yuck. It was another of life’s lessons learned at the expense of my appetite.

But not at the expense of Darla’s. After we sat down to eat, she jealously nudged my leg as I munched a stalk of asparagus. Gone was my taste for ham. Gone was my taste for cheesy taters.

Dar Dar pawed at my shin.

Smiling, I flicked her a sliver of meat.

    – April 18, 2007 

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