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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Loretta Gorlitz's Christmas village 2008.12.24

Written by David Green.


After 15 years, Loretta Gorlitz finally said, “Enough!”

That might have come as a surprise to friends who have given her miniature buildings over the years for her Christmas village display.loretta.gorlitz.jpg

But even Loretta knows when it’s time to stop. After all, she’s really run out of room.

“It’s getting too crowded,” she said, and pointed out the overflow area on the top of her entertainment center.

In 1993, Loretta started off with only three buildings that she placed under her Christmas tree. That was only the beginning.

She’s acquired more and more through the years and the village kept growing.

“People have given me most of them,” she said. “I can pretty much tell you who gave me what.”

She buys some of the small figurines for her display—skaters, sledders, people walking through town, etc.—but the buildings are rather costly. She recalls when they sold for less than $10. Now the price is closer to $20.

Bookstore, churches, beauty salon, hardware store, florist, grocery—a wide array of businesses are in her display—and among the dozens of buildings, only two are alike.

Loretta’s display not only grows every year, it also changes with each Christmas. A few years ago, she created a mountain scene in one corner. Now she has mountains everywhere, in the background.

“The wall was getting marred up,” she said, so the new paint job included scenery for the display.

The creation now takes over a full half of her long living room. That means the organ moves into the kitchen, the dining room table is taken apart, the chairs are placed in the entryway, and a sofa is doubled up next to another one along the same wall.

“It took me three weeks to put it together this year,” Loretta said.

She uses three 8 by 10 sheets of luan placed end to end, with supports underneath plus a milk crate in the center of each for added support when she has to lean over to place buildings.

Most of the buildings are lighted by one of three power cords, but 10 of the fixtures are battery powered.

She created a railroad scene, a farm scene, ice ponds and sledding hills. There are rows of houses and clusters of stores.

The buildings were manufactured by more than a dozen different companies. A few of them were kits and hand-painted by the buyer before passing it on to Loretta.

It’s surprising that neither of her two cats prowl the streets of the village like giants from a science fiction movie. The younger of the two used to enjoy sleeping on the cotton batting snow, but Loretta succeeded in convincing her that it wasn’t allowed. Now they both spend a lot of time sleeping underneath.

It’s a lot of work to assemble a new village every year, but all it takes is a visit from children to remind Loretta that it’s all worth the time.

“After church, some young children came to see it,” she said. “They got down on their hands and knees and looked in all the windows. They were so thrilled.”

She may be done collecting, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a new display a year from now.

She has a simple answer to a question about whether she’ll do it again next year.

“Of course!”

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