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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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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Sarah Bach participates in eco fashion show 2010.05.19

Written by David Green.


After about 40 hours with a heat gun, Sarah Bach had a dress ready for the runway at’s “Southern Shores” fashion event. 

Why all the heat? The gown is made from plastic bags.

Bach, a former Morenci student and recent graduate from Michigan State University’s Apparel and Textile Design program, was one of 15 MSU students invited to take part in an eco-fashion show organized by actress Suzy Amis, wife of film director James Cameron.

MSU’s involvement in the program resulted from the Red Carpet Green Dress sustainable clothing competition. MSU student Jillian Granz won the contest and Amis wore her dress to the Academy Awards.

At the invitation of the Camerons, MSU’s design department was invited to take part in “Special Topics: Innovative Approaches to Apparel Design”—the only event in the Southern Shores show that featured non-professional designers.

“Our student designs were modeled in a small fashion show before a show by larger eco-friendly design companies,” Bach said. “We were like the opening act.”

The dresses were later sold at auction to benefit Muse Elementary School in California, a school that Amis founded with her sister, Rebecca Amis.

The Southern Shores show is organized by Jeff Garner, chief designer for Prophetic Clothing in Franklin, Tenn.

The Red Carpet Green Dress competition became a class assignment in Theresa Winge’s design class at MSU.

“We all had to think of a sustainable design and submit fashion sketches to the competition,” Bach said.

Her plastic dress varied from her first idea.

“My initial sketches that I submitted for the competition illustrated a blue peace silk dress that I would hand dye with indigo,” she said.

When it came time to create the dress, her professor told the class they didn’t have to stay with the original drawings.

“I chose to work with plastic bags,” Bach said.

She created a dress, but when the Nashville event was announced, students were instructed to create large, more elaborate designs. She started in again and came up with the gown that was shown at Southern Shores.

“The dress is soft inside,” she said. “It laces up in the back, so it can fit lots of different body types.”

It does get a little moist inside after it’s worn for a while and it does make a sound.

“It has a rustling noise that it makes as you walk,” Bach said, “like when you are bringing in several bags of groceries at once.”

She pressed plastic to fuse pieces together, then used a heat gun to allow the plastic to shrivel and take interesting shapes.

“The dress was really an evolution of the design process,” Bach added.

Her classmate Lauren Paulauskas, who also created a plastic gown, put it this way: “By repurposing plastic items or melting them down to create new plastic items, plastic is given a second life. My dress has rescued plastic from its potential life in the landfill and given it a life on the catwalk.”

Winge was delighted with the event and looks for additional opportunities for her students to work on sustainable designs.

Now that Bach has her bachelor’s degree, she’s off to Florence, Italy, for a course in natural dyes at an alpaca farm.

She’s waiting to hear from the Fashion Institute of Design in Los Angeles to find out if she’s accepted into the textile surface design program.

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