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).
  • 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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Patrick Jones knows it's tough to be a teen 2011.04.20

Written by David Green.

patrick.jonesBy DAVID GREEN

The latest book published by young adult author Patrick Jones is a twist on the classic vampire story.

In “The Tear Collector,” a girl needs human tears for sustenance. In order for her to survive, other people need to suffer.

“I know an actual tear collector,” Jones told an audience Saturday morning at Morenci’s Stair Public Library. “I know someone who lives off the trauma and tragedy and tears of teenagers—me.”

If 16 years of age was easy, he would have nothing to write about, he said, but the teen years are hard.

“There’s drama and there’s tears and that sustains me [as a writer],” he said.

If life was easy, he told the younger members of the audience, you wouldn’t read his books. But as it is, young readers turn to his books to see themselves and learn how his characters get through it all.

Jones gave a brief overview of how his six published books came into being.

“Things Change”—He was visiting a high school and observed the interaction between a boy and girl. He thought it was a “messed up” relationship. Jones wondered how a girl could be so smart in the head and so dumb in the heart.

He went home and started writing about Johanna, a girl in an abusive relationship.

He was surprised a few years later when he met a real Johanna at a Michigan high school. She was furious at him for stealing her life.

“I am that girl Johanna,” she said. “How did you know all this about me?”

“Nailed”—Telling stories at his wife’s high school reunion, Jones recalled an incident in his own school days, when he was a smart-aleck student who often got in trouble.

“I was a nail,” Jones said. “I stood out and went to a high school that was full of hammers.”

“Chasing Tail Lights”—Jones once observed two girls standing on a highway overpass, apparently getting high.

He wondered who they were, what they were doing, why they were getting high at 10:30 in the morning on a school day.

He imagined their lives and took inspiration from a girl he met in a juvenile detention center.

How do you find hope in a hopeless life? “Chasing Tail Lights” is basically a survival story, he said.

“Cheated”—His book about three high school boys who murdered a man for $2 developed from an actual story Jones read in the Flint Journal.

Why did they do it?

It’s not that a person makes a bad choice, he said. It’s that they make a series of bad choices that gets them deeper and deeper into trouble.

“Stolen Car”—At a school visit, Jones watched a girl getting dropped off for classes in the morning. After she slammed the door of the beat-up van, her mother got out of the other side of the car and chewed her out in front of everyone.

Further back in the school drive, a fancy SUV pulled up and three boys rolled out laughing.

What was that girl thinking? Jones wondered. “I don’t want to be in this life; I want to be in that one.”

How far would she go to make that happen?

“The Tear Collector”—A girl in Ft. Wayne told Jones she wouldn’t be buying any of his books because she only reads vampire stories.

On his three-hour trip home, he jotted down notes for the next book—the vampire who survives on others’ tears.

If you can’t fall in love and don’t mind being alone, high school is easy, said his vampire character.

“Every book to me is one question,” Jones said. “Why did this character do this thing?”

Jones meets someone or sees a relationship and then he begins asking question after question after question.

WRITING SKILLS—Jones said that when he turned in the manuscript for his first book, “Things Change,” the editor was very, very impressed.

“I have no idea how you wrote this book,” she said, “how you got into the head of a girl.”

She also asked if English was his native language. His spelling and grammar were horrible, she said, and his story wasn’t accepted for publication.

He gave up trying, but he eventually learned a lot about young adult fiction through his work as a librarian.

Microsoft Word’s grammar checker gave him a second chance—that and practice.

“You get better the more you do stuff,” he said.

HIS REAL JOB—Jones believes he has the best possible library job—the outreach program with the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis.

His department focuses on getting materials to those who can’t use the library due to one barrier or another. That includes the elderly, immigrants who never experienced a library, and kids in juvenile correction facilities.

HIS LOOK AT LIFE—“Life is a game of Uno,” Jones said.

What’s the point of Uno? To get rid of your cards.

Everyone is dealt a set of seven cards, he said, but life experiences complicate your hand.

“Oh, your dad deserted your family? Here’s four more cards.”

“Your mother’s an alcoholic? Here’s three more cards.”

“You have an eating disorder because of the stress? Here’s 12 more cards. Good luck winning.”

He finally realized after his fifth novel that this is what he was writing about.

Some cards are gained because of bad choices; others come from the family you’re born into.

”You are not all born equal,” Jones said. “You come with baggage. We all come with stuff we can’t control. You get those cards and you’re trying to get rid of them.”

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