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.
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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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Elizabeth Berg visits Morenci 6.24.09

Written by David Green.


There were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd when author Elizabeth Berg visited Stair Public Library Saturday

But the appeal of the nationally-known novelist went far beyond Morenci. Every city in Lenawee County was represented, plus a few from Fulton County to the south. Albion to the west, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline to the north. Sylvania, Lambertville, Erie and Toledo to the east. Even as far away Auburn Hills, Royal Oak and Pinckney.

Nearly 150 people came to hear Berg read from a book and answer questions, and many of them stood in line afterward to have her autograph a book.

Berg read from her latest book, “Home Safe,” about a girl who grows up to become a prolific writer, while putting up with her meddling mother.

“Now I had to do a lot of research to find out how mothers behave in that way,” Berg joked.

Of course she never acted that way with her own daughters, she said.

Berg described “Home Safe” as her most autobiographical book. It started off as a difficult story to produce because for the first time she was really having trouble writing.

“It was driving me crazy,” she said. “It was like I had lost my best friend.”

Eventually the story broke through and like all of her stories, she said, it contains a dose of pathos along with humor.

Berg was asked when she first started writing and she traces that back to a poem she submitted to “American Girl” magazine.

“It was rejected and it should have been rejected.”

And she became dejected because at the time she thought it was a wonderful poem. She didn’t write again for 25 years, long after she was involved in a career in nursing.

She sees the medical profession as great preparation for writing—an excellent way to get to know and understand people.

An audience member asked Berg how she organizes her thoughts in the writing process. Once she gets the germ of an idea, the book tends to write itself, she said.

She typically writes the first 20 or 30 pages, reads it over and notices that it appears somewhat “wobbly” at first. Before long, however, the story starts to flow and she feels like a secretary writing it all down.

She thinks her first book, “Durable Goods,” is still her best and it took the least amount of time to write—just a few months.

She urged writers in the audience to “honor the intent” of their story and take as much time as necessary to finish and finally let it go.

But overwriting, she cautioned, can take the life out of a story.

She once wrote an entire book and in the end, didn’t like it. She put it aside but eventually returned to it and reworked it. The story was “Open House,” the novel that became an Oprah Book Club selection.

How did the Oprah choice change her life? She went from living in a small condo to buying a big house.

It validates your work in a way, she said, but it’s a mistake to think that every subsequent book will sell. Many readers won’t remember your name, Berg said. It’s only the Oprah selection that drives readers to the store.

Berg admitted, sadly, that she doesn’t write for herself anymore. No journals, few letters—everything is directed to her fiction.

An audience member wondered if writers retire or if they simply run out of ideas. Berg believes the ideas always keep flowing.

“You’re a writer because you have a different way of looking at the world,” she said.

Writers continue to be observers. Once a writer, always a writer, she said.

What did Katie Nash grow up to be? someone asked.

Nash was the focus of Berg’s first book and made a later appearance in “Joy School” and then again in “True to Form.” Berg thought she directed readers to the girl’s future in “True to Form,” but it wasn’t clear to that audience member.

“That second book came after someone asked for another book to follow up on Katie,” Berg said. “Well, maybe I’ll have to write another book.…”

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