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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Jennifer Hamner talks about Iowa flood 2008.06.18

Written by David Green.


It all seemed a little surreal to Morenci native Jennifer (Pummell) Hamner.

As a member of the medical staff at the University of Iowa Student Health Services, she worked at a freshman orientation session last week in the student union building.

Inside, the new students were learning about what to expect over the next four years of their lives. james.hemsley.bridge.jpg

Outside was an entirely different world. Students and other volunteers were hard at work placing sandbags along the Iowa River in hopes of preventing floodwaters from reaching the building.

Memorial Union was evacuated the next day as the water continued to rise.

Hamner moved to Iowa City five years ago when her husband, Everett, was accepted into the university’s doctoral program. Now she’s seeing what many natives encountered in 1993 when severe flooding soaked the region. This time around it’s even worse.

Hamner lives on the east side of the river and she works on the west.

“Buses have been running, but not as scheduled,” she said.

It’s difficult for vehicles to maneuver around flooded streets and to find an open bridge.

“I decided to walk downtown to get a bus rather than wait,” Hamner said. “I walked across the Iowa Street Bridge—pretty much as quickly as I could.”

She called a co-worker later in the day and learned that about two hours after she made her way across, water started flowing onto the top.

By Saturday afternoon, all local bridges were closed to traffic and Iowa City was cut in half.

“I never thought I’d be involved in a 500-year flood,” Hamner said. “It’s mind boggling.”

The Hamners’ home is in safe territory—they’ve checked out the 500-year flood plain map—but many areas of the city have been evacuated, with water seeping into homes, businesses and university buildings.

Many homeowners rebuilt after their homes were badly damaged in the 1993 flood.

“They thought it wouldn’t happen again,” Hamner said.

The term “500-year flood” is easily misunderstood, she said, leading many people to think a flood of this magnitude will happen only once every 500 years.

A 100-year flood is often mentioned, meaning there’s a one percent chance of that area flooding in any given year. Similarly, in a 500-year flood plain, the possibility of a flood stands at only 0.2 percent every year—but it’s happening in many portions of Iowa.

As of Saturday, the Iowa River continued to rise, but it crested earlier than expected Sunday when levees downriver gave way. Communities to the south were suddenly under water; Iowa City got a break.

Emergency situations often bring out the best in people and Hamner has seen it happen.

“It’s amazing to see the community come together and help with sandbagging,” she said. “The dedication of people has been the best thing to come out of this.”

Hamner spoke by cell phone as she and her family were heading out of the city for a planned vacation. The sun was shining and it looked like a nice June day in Iowa.

“It’s weird to be leaving all of this,” she said. “I feel very fortunate that our house is safe. So many people have lost their possessions. Our thoughts and prayers will be back with everyone in Iowa City.”

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