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

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    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.
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    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).
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    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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Blaise Winter tells students to believe in themselves 10.03.2007

Written by David Green.


Blaise Winter stands just inside the doorway of the Morenci Area High School gymnasium. He’s watching students by the dozens file past and take a seat in the bleachers.

They’re coming in to listen to him—this guy they’ve never heard of, this guy dressed in black and smiling through a slightly disfigured face.

Winter throws out some words to a student here and there walking past. He’s making some noise, he’s getting pumped to face the crowd, he’s about to turn on the passion.

And let’s be clear about it right from the start: No one accuses Blaise Winter of lacking passion.

Morenci business owner Joe Farquhar begins the introduction and Winter slinks across the floor in his best feminine pose. No one accuses Winter of being subjugated to the rules of proper etiquette, either. He’s worked through all of that long ago.blaise1

He apologizes to Farquhar for spoiling his introduction, then he tells the audience that although he’s worked on a speech impediment for years, not all of his words come out quite right.

And then he lets loose, doing what Blaise Winter does these days: Traveling the country telling audiences—no, exhorting audiences—to stop looking for problems in their lives, to face their fears, to stand up for what’s right, to grow in body, mind and spirit.

Winter instantly transforms into a dynamic speaker who grabs your attention and doesn’t let you go until he’s ready. A funny story one minute, a passionate plea for growth the next—all the while urging listeners to change for the better and become what they dream of.

Winter is 46 years old, a dozen years out of an 11-year career with the National Football League, and he wants to tell people how he got there.

In short, he got there the hard way. An abusive father, a hearing deficiency, a cleft palate and lip.

“I hated my deformity,” he said. “I hated that I was born with a hole in my face. My mother told me to face my fears, but I didn’t want to. My first fear was the mirror.”

He didn’t speak well as a child, he didn’t look good, he was constantly bullied and teased, and his father only brought him down a notch further.

“He made us feel bad to make himself feel better,” Winter said.

Winter had no shortage of excuses to use in his life, but his mother wouldn’t have it. Now he knows what she was saying. Don’t use your circumstances to justify your bad behavior.

“Get over it,” he told the students. “You don’t have to carry on hate or a bad attitude.

“I had a tendency to destroy myself with my thoughts. What you think is what you become. You might become old and bitter and there are too many old and bitter people in the world.”

In high school outside of New York City, Winter decided to play football—the helmet could hide his ugly face—and he excelled. His aim was to play at a college, but his coach didn’t think that was ever going to happen.

The coach’s words hurt worse than any football injury: “You try hard, but I don’t think you’re good enough to play at college. I don’t believe you can play at that level.”

Winter made his way down his list of prospective schools until he reached a territory lower than desired. He decided to try out at Syracuse and made the team as a walk-on. Within a month, the head coach told him he was on scholarship.

“You’ve got four years to prove to me what I think you can become,” the coach said.

Winter worked his way up to a starting position and was eventually named MVP. When his college days ended, he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, as a 295-pound defensive lineman.

Winter’s talk could have gone on for much longer, but his 50 minutes were drawing to a close.

“How many people can say they’ve lived their dream?” he asked the students. “I hope I’ve helped you think about your lives.”

And then he said a few words about what it’s like to be Blaise Winter standing before an audience.

“My intensity and passion are often misunderstood,” he said, “but there’s nothing wrong with passion as long as you’re genuine about it.”

When Winter wraps up his show, there’s probably no one questioning his sincerity. He’s taken everybody for a ride on his speeding train called “Believe in Yourself.”


Words of advice from Blaise:

• You can sit and look for problems and you’ll find them, but that’s not what I want you to do. I want you to grow.

• I’ve learned to use adversity to grow. I’ve learned to use a problem to become stronger in body, mind and spirit.

• I really believe that people create the lives they want to lead.

• Go out and influence others. Stand up for what’s right. A lot of people don’t like me for that, but I’m looking for others to stand up with me. The basketball team, the football team needs to stand up together and say it’s wrong.

• Open your mind and search. Don’t listen to your best friends but to your enemies. I learn more from my enemies than I do from my friends.

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