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.
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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.
  • 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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Chanler McCaskey makes all-state team 2010.06.30

Written by David Green.


chanler.all-state.jpgYou might say it runs in the family.

1983: Phil McCaskey named an all-state football player.

1984: Ronda (Sutherland) McCaskey became Morenci’s first and only all-state volleyball player.

2010: Their daughter Chanler joined the ranks as an all-state softball player.

The recent Morenci graduate became the 15th Bulldog to earn all-state softball honors through coach Kay Johnson’s program.

In more than three decades of leading Morenci softball teams, Johnson wonders if McCaskey might be the finest third basemen she’s had.

“I don’t know if any of the others were as complete as Chanler,” Johnson said. “She really developed into an all-around player.”

Quickness, a strong arm and a feared presence at the plate.

That last quality wasn’t known during McCaskey’s first two years with the team.

She played left field in her freshman year, but soon earned a starting position at third base. She wasn’t given too many opportunities at the plate, however.

“I only had a few plate appearances because I couldn’t hit and I had quite a few strikeouts, so someone else hit for me,” McCaskey recalls.

Eventually she realized that wasn’t the way she wanted to finish her softball career.

“She worked on her swing form more than anyone else,” Johnson said, “and there was a change last year.”

McCaskey worked hard and gained confidence. Soon it all clicked, she said, and hitting became a strong point of her game.

The girl who used to strike out a lot finished her senior year with a .414 batting average, about 150 points higher than the team average.

She led the team with 41 hits and scored 42 runs. She finished with 31 RBIs and plenty of extra bases—24 of her 41 hits.

“She didn’t stop at first base,” Coach Johnson said. “When she put the ball in play, she did it with some authority.”

Her senior year produced 12 doubles, five triples and seven home runs—four of them over the fence.

That puts her in second place for homers in the Bulldog record book, behind Anna Sell’s 11. Sell batted back in the days before most schools had an outfield fence, when a hard hit ball kept on rolling.

Johnson said McCaskey earned respect at the plate and recalls two games this season when she received intentional walks.

McCaskey slammed doubles against two of the premier pitchers in the state, Johnson said, which gives some perspective to her batting average. Her quickness on the bases resulted in 19 steals.

Her quick first step also allowed her to play closer to home from her third base position. She developed into a “super arm,” Johnson said, and she cut her errors down to six this season.

McCaskey will play for Alma College next season.

“They’re really pleased with her,” Coach Johnson said. “Her athleticism, her agility and her versatility.”

“Softball is my favorite sport and definitely my best sport, but volleyball is fun to play and something that I would also like to continue at Alma College,” McCaskey said.

There was a time that neither softball nor volleyball were at the front of her mind.

“I started playing baseball and softball when I was five, but I was also a gymnast and I thought that was my calling,“ she said, “but I can’t even do a proper cartwheel.”

Then it was basketball that she thought might accompany her to college, but that wasn’t clicking like she expected.

In the end, softball was the sport to which she devoted the most time and effort, and that’s the one that will stay with her.

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