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.
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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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Laura Stover finds her father 2010.10.20

Written by David Green.

laura_stover.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

The fact that Laura Stover was adopted was never a secret from her. For as long as she can remember, she knew that her parents, Charles and Phyllis Sandusky, obtained her from a foster home when she was a baby.

The secret lay in the identity of her birth parents.

She wondered about them from time to time, and after high school she started reading about how a person could track down birth parents.

The words “Social Security number” figured large in the process and Laura had none.

A few years went by before she decided to begin the search. That occurred about seven years ago and the effort led to communication with her birth mother.

A document from the adoption agency listed only general information. Her closed-adoption birth certificate let her know she was born at Detroit’s Botsford Hospital so she asked for the medical records.

Laura knew it wouldn’t provide all the information she needed, but she hoped for the best. She received a photocopy of the original records, with names whited out before the copy was made.

About a week later, a stroke of luck aided her search. Someone at the hospital made a mistake and mailed the copy with the white correction fluid. It was easy to see the names by holding the paper up to the light.

What she learned first was the name of her grandfather because her mother was still on his insurance coverage. She soon learned he was deceased, so she next obtained his death certificate.

There was her mother’s maiden name, but that was only half of what she needed. The certificate listed a brother of her mother and an internet search led to him. When Laura called, he promised to inform her mother about the phone call.

“She called me back in about a week,” Laura said, and they’ve had intermittent contact ever since, although her mother isn’t yet interested in a visit.

Laura was given the name Randy K by her mother and learned they went to Cody High School together, but that was all her mother would offer—not even the full last name. They weren’t even dating by the time her mother discovered she was pregnant.

Laura found a website with listings of Cody classes and in with the Class of 1974 she found a Randy with a last name that started with “K.”

“This is how I found my birth dad,” she said, “by looking through the Cody website.”

It was just a year ago when she came up with a name and phone number, but she didn’t call right away.

“I gave it some time because I didn’t know what to say,” Laura said. “I didn’t want to cause problems with his family. I had to prepare myself for finding out that maybe he didn’t want to know me.”

She finally made the call, but the number was disconnected.

Additional searches showed that phone number and listed a wife and children. Laura also found a separate listing for his wife.

“Should I call that number?” she wondered. “Does she know?”

This seemed to be her only hope.

“I rehearsed a few things I would say and I said I was trying to find some classmates of my mom,” Laura said.

However, it was a man who answered and Laura left her name and number, wondering if she would ever get a return call.

She did call back and asked if Laura was searching for big Randy or little Randy. Laura said it was someone around 55 years of age.

“I already knew what you were going to tell me,” the woman said.

When they were dating, Randy told her about his child given up for adoption, and he told her that he would really like to meet her some day.

The two were no longer married and Randy had left the state in search of employment after being laid off from the Detroit Public School system.

Once again, Laura received a promise that her message would be passed on, and then she waited.

The call came in April—April 28, to be exact, one day before Laura’s birthday.

“It was kind of like a birthday present,” she said.

Laura told him the tale of her search and he mentioned there were 900 students in his graduating class at Cody. That made her success all the more satisfying.

Randy came for a visit in June to meet his long-lost daughter and to meet his “new” grandchildren. He looked through Laura’s scrapbooks to get a slice of her life growing up in Morenci, and they all had dinner together at the Sandusky house. Laura’s adopted parents were strong supporters of her search.

The meeting brought closure to Randy’s longings as well as Laura’s.

“I had two photos of you as a baby,” he said. “That’s all I’ve had for 35 years.”

All he knew in 1975 is that the adoption met two qualifications that the birth parents requested—the new parents would be college educated and involved with the Lutheran Church. And he also knew she was off to live in a farmhouse.

With only those clues, he didn’t expect to ever meet her unless she found him.

Laura’s family continues to grow. In addition to the three siblings she grew up with, she has other brothers and sisters from both her mother and father that she’s yet to meet. She also keeps in touch with her foster parents even though she spent only the first month of her life with them.

She’s made it clear to both of her birth parents that she has no regrets about their decision to choose adoption.

“I’ve had a great life,” she’s told them, quite satisfied with how things have turned out. It’s just a curiosity that’s driven her search.

She’s hoping her birth mother eventually decides to meet. Perhaps some day her mother will have the same feeling that her father expressed on a card attached to flowers: “Thanks for not giving up.”

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