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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Allison Pickles earns high honors in pinto competition 2008.03.12

Written by David Green.


Just a week after the Pickles family acquired a new horse that they named Patch, Allison (Pickles) Ott had some news for her parents, Doug and Londa, news that was going to change a lot of things, including her time in the show ring.

Allison and her husband, Joe, were going to be parents.

Move forward a couple of years and Allison is now a working mother of a toddler, with limited time for training and competing in the national pinto shows.

Allison loves heading out for a competition and spending time with the “extended family” of horse show people, but it’s a different story now with her own family—especiallott.pinto.jpgy her two-year-old son, DJ.

Here’s her description of life on the road.

“When you are gone from Friday evening until Sunday evening, it is exhausting, as showing is exhausting. You don’t sleep well as it is not your own bed. You’re scared you are going to be late to get up, DJ doesn’t sleep well, the dogs rustle at every movement outside the trailer, etc.”

And then there are the thoughts of returning home to catch up on laundry, cooking, cleaning—all before getting ready to go to work Monday morning.

It doesn’t end there. Monday evening is designated as the time to clean the trailer so it’s ready to go for the next show. The catching up continues Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and then it’s Thursday.

“That’s packing the trailer night so we are as ready as we can be to pull out after work.”

That’s a routine that just doesn’t work like it used to. In year’s past, Allison averaged three competitions a month. Last year, the pace fell to just eight total.

That’s why she thinks it’s so remarkable that she earned enough points to place second in the national pinto organization standings. The winner attended 45 shows.

The title she and Patch earned is second place in the Junior Amateur High Point—2007 Horse of the Year standings for pintos, and third in the Junior Amateur Challenge 20.

“All of this was achieved with no practice, just honesty and trust and the willingness to work together as a team,” she said.

She’s referring to Patch in that statement, because motherhood doesn’t leave time for training and caring for a horse, either. Patch now lives about three hours away with a trainer near Mansfield, Ohio.

Allison describes Patch as a gentle giant. DJ walked with Patch in lead line competition and received a letter of achievement—at the age of 18 months.

Allison showed very little in 2006 with a baby in the house, so 2007 was somewhat of a return to the ring.

It also brought some changes that she was fighting.

She travels with her mother, Londa—an essential component to competition with a toddler in tow—and one day when they were on the road, Londa suggested competing in showmanship and Western events.

“I went through a pile of excuses,” Allison said. “This discussion went on for two hours.”

When they arrived at the show, some friends also started putting on the pressure and Allison gave in.

“This horse has a forté for English events,” she said. “He is 16 hands high, which is pretty big. For him to slow down to compete with the smaller stride horses is a big challenge for him.  Showmanship is something that requires a horse to compete an accurate pattern at my command, while I lead him. It takes skill and respect from the horse.”

Horse and trainer never had any practice in other events except at shows, but they gave it a try and the challenge was a good thing.

“It shows how easy he is to work with and willing to try new things,” Allison said.

Last year they competed in both English and Western showmanship. There’s a difference in attire, equipment and beat of the pattern—an extended trot for English, a smaller stride jog/trot for Western.

They also entered a variety of other events that test both horse and rider.

The new challenges brought a fresh face to competition. They made her feel young again, said the 29-year-old. It was showing for the fun of it.

As for her versatile horse, the two will be parting ways.

“He enjoys people’s attention and I just cannot commit to him,” Allison said. “This is the reason he is for sale.”

That won’t put an end to her showing—she still has six other horses to choose from—but she’ll never return to the heavy schedule she once enjoyed.

There’s more work on the farm with some expanded cattle operations and there’s DJ who likes to play at home. But horse and rider won’t be put out to pasture yet.

“We’ll go to some shows for sure,” Allison said.

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