The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.

2006.11.08 Trying to bear with a somber November

Written by David Green.


For the first time in several years, I’m not spending this week in Missouri helping my Aunt Sue celebrate her birthday. Her death in March changed family plans for a party and trip to the top of the St. Louis Arch tomorrow in honor of her turning 100 years old. Some of us found other, charitable things to do with our time. Some of us, not so much.

My sister and niece Shannon just returned from a two week trip to Africa with a church group. They spent most of their time helping underprivileged children, but did get to make a trip to a wildlife refuge and see an assortment of rare and exotic animals. I, on the other hand, went to Adrian last Saturday and saw a chili dog-eating bear.

The advertisement for the bear’s appearance at an Adrian business mentioned something about the bruin being famous for eating chili dogs. Co-worker Jeff immediately asked if it was the bear that defeated Takeru Kobayashi, the human chili-dog eating champion, in an eating challenge.

Sometimes it troubles me that Jeff seems to have a never-ending storehouse of irrelevant knowledge, but the facts of his statement were correct, even though the bear he referred to wasn’t the one coming to Lenawee County.

Diamond, a Kodiak bear weighing in excess of 1,000 pounds, ate the 50 hot dogs put in front of him while Kobayashi could only keep down 31 in the same time span. Diamond’s feat gained him a spot in the Fox network special “Man vs. Beast” back in 2003.

The bear that came to Adrian was named Lakota and weighed “only” 850 pounds. Lakota is a cinnamon bear, part of the black bear family, and lives in Ohio when not on the road eating disgusting food and making money for his owner. Instead of an eating champion, Lakota was scheduled to take on teams of policemen and firemen with cash at stake. Lakota, of course, didn’t get to keep any cash, even if victorious. That’s probably a good idea. If I were Lakota, I’d take the cash and pay somebody to find me a new home.

Since I unfortunately had nothing better to do, I decided to go see the bear. When I arrived at the store, shortly after Lakota’s arrival in a truck, I was told the bear was refusing to get out of its travel cage. I can’t say I blamed Lakota. It was a cold day, perfect for hibernating. Instead, they were expecting Lakota to eat bad food and perform for humans.

And why chili dogs, anyway? I hate hot dogs myself and that’s certainly not part of a bear’s natural diet. Why not nuts and berries, some raw fish, or something else a bear would really like? Just because Yogi Bear stole picnic baskets doesn’t mean all bears like human food. Yogi wore a tie and hat, too, but I haven’t noticed anyone trying to force them onto real bears.

After Lakota was coaxed from the trailer and put on display, a sign posted nearby explained that Lakota’s normal diet included lettuce, wheat bread, corn and dog food. The dog food made me feel a bit sad. Wouldn’t you think Purina would make Bear Chow for bears forced to live in captivity? There has to be enough bears in zoos and circuses to make a nutritious, good-tasting bear food profitable.

I was also interested in the fact that the sign said Lakota weighed 720 pounds, not the 850 claimed in publicity for the event. Of course, maybe Lakota weighs closer to the 850 pounds after the eating contest.

I wondered if Lakota had been fed that day, or left unfed and hungry on purpose to put on a bigger show. Maybe I should have sneaked in some bread and lettuce to the sad-looking bruin.

For ten dollars, Lakota’s handlers would take your picture with Lakota. I considered doing it so I could get close enough to slip the poor bear some Rolaids before it was forced to eat hot dogs.

I didn’t stick around to watch the chili dog eating contest. I had too much respect for the noble beast to watch him have to embarrass himself.

Next November, I think I’ll just go to a zoo and feed the bears, if it’s allowed. And no chili dogs, maybe some birthday cake in honor of my Aunt Sue.  And then, allow them a long nap. I’m sure that’s what Lakota would want.

    -November 8, 2006 

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