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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House Tour: John and Nancy Salerno 2007.11.21

Written by David Green.


People go on home tours expecting to see “the finished product.” All the projects are complete and everything is in order.

Then they return to their own homes and the reality of fixing things up.

You might say that John and Nancy Salerno’s residence is the home tour house for the rest of us.

Lots of big plans, Nancy says, but not everything gets

For example, the siding on the exterior isn’t yet complete. The tour won’t include the basement that remains on the to-do list. There’s some rough plaster showing from a project on a stairway.

Just take it as it is and enjoy this spacious 112-year-old structure that, despite the status of on-going projects, really has had a lot of work put into it.

For example, the basement walls were bowing inward, so new block was laid. They put in a new bathroom, removed carpeting and layed wood and wood tile, replaced a stairway, built a garage, paved the drive, refinished bedroom walls—the list goes on and on. No wonder it’s still a work in progress.

The Salernos bought the house east of Morenci in 1993 and have become  veteran owners after just 14 years.

“This house was sold and sold and sold,” Nancy said.

“I think we’re the 13th owner,” John said while leafing through copies of past deeds.

Some people lived here for only a couple of months. One person was the owner for just 12 days.

The Salernos arrived in Morenci from Syracuse, N.Y., part of a migration in the early 1990s due to the closure of a GM plant.

In Syracuse, the family of six were crammed into a two-bedroom Cape Code. John headed to Michigan ahead of the family for work and to find a place to live.

“I told him he would have to find a big house and then I would come out,” Nancy said.

John got that mission accomplished.

This was a good-sized house before the large addition was built by previous owners.

Moving from the city to the country was an experience. Nancy remembers the curtains blowing in the wind from the leaky windows. Eventually, 33 windows were replaced among the total of 40.

And then there was the wildlife, such as the raccoon who lived in the barn and later moved into the house after the old barn was burned.

“We had to come to an understanding that I lived inside and the animals lived outside,” Nancy said.

Birds, bats, snakes, even a rat on the inside, plus opossums and ground hogs outside.

“We don’t have critter problems anymore,” Nancy said. “At least I don’t think we do.”

The Salernos scraped and painted the house, but that fresh surface didn’t last long. Traces of a colorful paint scheme are still visible around the front porch. Rather than go through that again and again, they decided to cover it over with siding.

The family enters the house through a rear door—one of five doors leading to the outside—to arrive in what they call the library. A stairway leads up to the master bedroom and to John’s office. There’s a clawfoot tub in the bathroom they created upstairs, and there’s a story about moving the heavy thing up the stairs, with the fear that it might just slide back down and crash through the back wall.

Turning left out of the library takes a visitor into the large family room.

All of that is in the addition to the original house.

Next comes the kitchen that contains some of the original cabinets. Nancy had the doors and back of one cabinet removed for easy access to dishes—both from the kitchen and from the adjoining dining room.

The dining room includes furniture that was once owned by Nancy’s grandmother. The window shows one of the many stained glass designs she’s painted. It’s actually plastic paint that can be peeled off.

Next is the living room and finally there’s a main floor bedroom. A stairway in the living room heads up to three more bedrooms. John replaced the sagging stairway with new, bright wood.

Outside the house is a deck facing the garden. Nancy and her daughter, Valerie, once planted several herbs there and they grew like crazy. That was the start of the garden.

Her boys—Jonathon, Christopher and Joseph—dug a small pond for fish and the garden expanded over the years. It now includes a gazebo, outdoor lighting and a fig tree that the boys are bringing inside for the winter.

It’s been a lot of work and considerable work remains to be done, but it’s a home the family has come to appreciate.

Even those 40 windows are a joy to Nancy.

“Nobody has a lot of windows anymore,” she says.

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