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

  • 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.

Investigators continue sifting through tips 2010.12.22

Written by David Green.


Not a day goes by that the Morenci Police Department fails to receive tips relating to the disappearance of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

Sometimes the call is about spotting three young brothers together. Other times it might be a person claiming to be a psychic or someone who had a dream or an astrologer with charts.

In all, the FBI, Michigan State Police and Morenci Police Department have received more than 900 contacts from people trying to help solve the case.

“We continue to get a variety of tips and some suspected sightings,” said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks. “Each of these tips is prioritized and throughly vetted. As of this time we have been unable to confirm that any of them are the Skelton boys.”

Weeks said a task force comprised of several members from the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to work in support of the Morenci Police Department to assist with the investigation. FBI agents remain stationed in Morenci.

“Additional resources from each of these agencies have been and will continue to be called upon as needed to ensure that we swiftly respond to information as it develops,” Weeks said.

Police continue to seek any information about John Skelton’s blue 2000 Dodge Caravan, particularly early in the morning of Nov. 26. The tip line number remains 517/458-7104.

In court last week, Skelton said the children were given to a person belonging to “an organization,” but investigators have doubted information he has provided.


Chief Weeks announced earlier this month the establishment of a reward fund that was kicked off by an anonymous donor offering $10,000 for the return or recovery of the brothers.

At the Dec. 13 city council meeting, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington spoke about an effort to increase the fund.

“One way to get tips in is to offer a reward,” the mayor said. “The quickest way to find the boys is to have someone tell us where they are. I believe John knows where they are and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else had at least a good idea where they are.”

The mayor said that if the community can raise $5,000 for fireworks, then twice that amount should be forthcoming for the reward fund.

Pennington said the first donation for the fund arrived from employees at the Montpelier, Ohio, company Powers and Sons who collected $347.

“There may be people and organizations throughout the country that want to do something,” Pennington said. “This is something everyone can participate in.”

A three-person committee of law enforcement personnel will determine whether or not to award someone making a claim. Law enforcement personnel and anyone responsible for the disappearance or harm of the Skelton boys is prohibited from receiving the reward money.

A separate three-member committee will be created for the purpose of raising awareness about the refund, Pennington said, and for promoting fund-raising events.

Additional information is available on the city website (

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