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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

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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