The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

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    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.
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    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).
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    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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Waiting for a phone call [Tanya Skelton] 2010.12.15

Written by David Green.

skel.boys.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

Morenci school administrators have thoroughly discussed how staff members will respond when the Skelton brothers are found, preparing for both the best and the worst cases.

One thing not discussed previously, said Superintendent of Schools Michael Osborne, was a response for a protracted period of time during which neither good nor bad news arrives.

That’s the current situation, three weeks after Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton disappeared from their father’s house in Morenci on the day after Thanksgiving.

Their father, John Skelton, has remained in the Lucas County Jail with a charge of parental kidnapping and is offering no information about the boys’ location.

Morenci police chief Larry Weeks expected Skelton to be transferred to the Lenawee County Jail sometime this week following his extradition hearing Tuesday morning.

And that’s where the news ends.

It may appear that not much is happening with the investigation, but Chief Weeks will tell you otherwise. FBI agents remain in Morenci, continuing to sift through tips in a relentless search for the brothers.

“My whole focus is bringing these kids back,” Weeks said Monday.

The lull in the news doesn’t make it any easier for the boys’ mother, Tanya, who constantly waits for an update at the home of her parents, Don and Beverly Zuvers.

“I can’t put my phone down,” Tanya said Monday afternoon. “I sleep with this thing in my hand because 24/7 someone could call.”

Everyone in the house is waiting for that one, important phone call.

“If the phone rings, everybody just kind of jumps,” said family friend Kathye Herrera. “It’s hard to make a routine. It puts a whole new spin on your life.”

“We think of how our lives are turned upside down,” Bev said, “but you think of all the other families who are suffering, and the classrooms that have little holes in them. It’s not just us.”

“I want to wrap those kids in a hug and tell them, ‘I’m sorry that you’re having to deal with this,’” Tanya said. “No child should have to go to bed wondering, ‘Where are my friends? Why did this happen?’ That’s when all the anger comes to the surface.”

That anger is always soothed by reflecting on what others have given to help in the search for the boys. So much love and compassion has been shown, Kathye said.

“Morenci is the core and it’s just radiated out,” Bev added.

Volunteers from as far away as Texas. Someone who came down with a search dog from Ontario. Strangers who came from the Detroit area to attend the prayer vigil. So many gifts of food. Cards and letters from children. A woman who searched for five days simply because her granddaughter went to school with one of the boys. A card from a stranger in California. A donation of money from someone in Zeeland, Mich. The devotion shown by the FBI agents and other law enforcement personnel who spend day after day away from their own families.

The list goes on and on.

“I can’t find the words other than ‘thank you,’” Tanya said. “It seems small. It doesn’t seem enough for what they’re doing for my sons.”

Those thoughts help keep a positive attitude in the Zuvers house where hope for the best remains.

“I don’t think they’re gone, as their mom,” Tanya said, and Bev agrees.

“We feel they’re out there somewhere,” she said. “I just feel they’re with somebody.”

“They’re still with a stranger,” Don added. “They need to be back here in Morenci at home.”

Tanya remembers her last memory of being together at home with the boys, shortly before Thanksgiving. The youngest two had a disagreement about something, crying resulted, and soon all three boys were on the sofa, sitting on Tanya’s lap.

“We said a family prayer, everybody participated, and by the time we were done everybody was laughing and hugging. That happened Tuesday night. That’s my happy memory,” Tanya said, “and it’s the one I’m holding on to.”

Grandparents describe the three boys

Tanya Skelton and her parents, Don and Beverly Zuvers, spent a few minutes  Monday afternoon talking about the missing brothers.

“They’re three all-American boys,” Don said.

Tanner, 5, is the story teller who will spin a tale as serious as can be, but it’s an unbelievable story, such as the time he went deer hunting with a boomerang.

“Is that true, Tanner?” Don would ask about a story.

“Nah, I’m just pulling your leg,” Tanner would answer.

Alexander, 7, is the tech guy among the brothers. He’s always looking for an old cell phone to play with, and his grandparents always keep one charged so he can take photos—and pretend to make a call.

“He’s the boy with a thousand questions,” Don said.

“Don’t tell me it’s red,” Bev said. “Tell me why it’s red.”

Andrew, 9, is the analytical son. Very sensitive, very smart—the one who will quietly sit observing things trying to figure out the whole picture.

Bev recalls a time when Andrew disputed something—maybe it was a rule about bicycle riding—and he came up and put his around her and said, “Grandma, I think we need to talk about this.”

Family members urge people anywhere to contact the Morenci Police Department with any leads (517/458-7104).

“Everywhere you go, look around,” said family friend Kathye Herrera, “because you never know.”

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