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.
  • 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.
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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).
  • 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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Justin Hoffman event highlights organ donations 2008.08.20

Written by David Green.


Geneva Ballard had never thought much about organ donations until her 18-year-old son, Justin Hoffman, lay in a hospital bed barely clinging to life following an automobile accident.

Justin’s condition didn’t look too promising and if worse comes to worst, Geneva thought, perhaps her son’s organs could be used to help others.justin.hoffman.event.jpg

She talked it over with her other son, Jeremy, and the decision was made. If Justin didn’t pull through, his shortened life would help extend others.

A year later, Geneva sees that decision as the best thing to come out of an unfortunate situation. If she had to face it again, she would certainly make the same choice a second time.

That’s what she told Tracy Kropp and Nancy Ellis of Life Connection of Ohio when they were in Morenci Saturday. Geneva invited the organ donation facilitators to set up a booth Saturday at a “celebration of life” in honor of Justin on the anniversary of his death.

The two representatives from Life Connection were delighted to hear Geneva’s positive response.

“I wanted some good to come out of a tragic time,” Geneva said.

There’s a lot of good to think about.

Two kidneys, a liver, a pancreas and small intestine were used from Justin, and 69 tissue grafts were taken, allowing patients to make use of his corneas, skin, cartilage, etc. So far, 35 of the various tissue grafts have been used, but they can be stored for five years. In total, dozens of people will have benefitted from Geneva’s decision.

She received a four-page letter from one organ recipient who expressed her thanks and told how she often thinks of Justin. She’s had contact several times with another recipient.

“That’s really rare,” Life Connection’s Nancy Ellis said. Most recipients don’t make the effort to contact a donor’s family.

Those contacts helped Geneva through some tough times. Occasionally, commemorative medallions, certificates and other items arrived in the mail from Life Connection or other sources to remind Geneva of the good that came from her family’s misfortune.

“In some of my darkest days, a medallion would arrive,” she said, reminding her of a gift of love passed on to others.

Variety of Applications

Organ and tissue donations from a healthy body can save or enhance the lives of more than 50 people.

Kidney and liver transplants are the most common procedures, but there are also people in need of other organs, including the pancreas, heart, lung and intestine.

A range of tissues can also be used to aid others, including bones, corneas, heart valves, skin, tendons and veins.

The use of donated tissue for transplantation is described by Donate Life Ohio as “one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of medicine.”

A rib can be used in the repair of a jaw bone to restore facial appearance. The femur (leg) can be used in spinal repair to prevent bone collapse.

Achilles’ tendon can be used in rotator cuff repair. Connective tissue from the thigh can aid in tendon repair and restore a person’s independence.

The list of benefits is large and growing, however, the availability of donations lags far behind the need.

As of Aug. 1, there were 2,495 Michigan residents in need of a kidney transplant and nearly as many in Ohio. In Michigan, 298 people were in need of liver, a number that increases to 372 in Ohio.

The total number of patients awaiting transplants of various organs stands at 3,016 in Michigan and 2,873 in Ohio. Nationally, a new name is added to the waiting list about every 10 minutes.

Life Connection emphasizes five important facts that might concern potential donors:

• Donation does not restrict a normal funeral service;

• Medical treatment will not suffer if a person is listed as a donor;

• Families will neither pay nor receive payment for donations;

• Most major religions support donation and many openly encourage it.

• There are no firm age limits to serve as a donor. Medical staff evaluate each potential donor for suitability.

For additional information, call Gift of Life Michigan at 800/482-4811 or Life Connection of Ohio at 800/262-5443.

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