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.
  • 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.
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Alumni visit North Morenci School 2011.09.08

Written by David Green.

zachel_school.alumniBy DAVID GREEN

The ball field was over there. Over here is where we jumped rope. There was another outhouse next to that one for the girls.

More than 70 years have passed since some of the guests at the North Morenci school first took their seat in the one-room schoolhouse at the corner of M-156 and Ridgeville Road.

Former students were encouraged to share their memories of the school during an open house Saturday afternoon. Their stories were recorded and will be made into a DVD to play when contemporary students visit the school.

The former students talked about the subjects taught at the school and explained that a final test was taken in Adrian.

Spelling bees were always scheduled, much to the chagrin of Jay Gould.

“I wasn’t any good at it, and I haven’t improved, either,” he said.

That wasn’t the case for Zella Sallows. She remembers winning the contest.

The annual Christmas program was always a big event.

“We practiced for about a month,” Twila Knoblauch said. “One of the mothers came and played the organ.”

There were plays and recitations and songs—always scheduled in the evening to encourage a large attendance.

“Standing room only,” Jay said.

Elizabeth Barron remembered a poem she had to recite:

“I am a little curly head

My father is a teacher

I like to go to Sunday School

And sit beside the preacher.”

She really was a little curly head when she recited the poem, Elizabeth said later, and she remembers speaking the words very quickly because she couldn’t wait to get back to her seat.

Students from several schools met in Adrian for a graduation ceremony.zachel_school.students

Latham Coffin was mentioned as a favorite teacher. Jay remembered him ice skating to school from his home near Clayton.

“He used his own car and taught us to drive in the eighth grade,” Twila said. “He taught us to drive after school. He taught us how to park and how to change a tire. He was a wonderful teacher.”

Recess is remembered fondly. Games included jump rope, pom-pom pull away,  Red Rover, inny eye over and baseball.

“If you hit it over the road you got a home run,” Zella said. “I got it once.”

Twila contrasted efforts today to prevent the spread of germs with the school’s drinking water system of the past.

“We had a pump on the other side of the school,” she said. “We would pump a pail full of water and bring it in. There was one dipper and if you wanted a drink of water, you would take that dipper and we all used the same dipper.”

There was also a small hole in the mouth of the pump, Jay recalled. If you held your hand over the mouth, a stream of water would shoot out like a drinking fountain.

There were eight grades at the school—usually about 30 children—and the teacher called up one class at a time to sit on a bench in front of the teacher for lessons.

The remainder of the class behaved, especially those who were taught by the strict Mr. Ramshire.

“He could take after you and catch you, too,” Jay said.

“That sounds like the voice of experience,“ joked Morenci Education Foundation president Bill VanValkenburg, who led the discussion.

“He chased one guy and caught him, didn’t he?” Zella remembered.

“That guy could run fast and thought he could out-run him,” Jay said, “but he got him down the road.”

Bill said later that the Morenci Education Foundation—now the owners of the property—intend to make a few adjustments at the school in an effort to create a functioning one-room schoolhouse for students to visit.

“We want to maintain what John and Peggy Zachel did, but take it one step further,” he said. “We want to let kids experience what a day at school was like.”

For example, there are only nine desks in the school and another 20 or so will be needed. Bill hears from former students that the teacher’s desk was at the west end of the school, so the desks should be turned around and another blackboard will be needed to replace the missing one.

“It’s going to be challenging to find that,” he said.

• To order a copy of the DVD that will be produced, contact Rev. Bill VanValkenburg at the Seneca Community Church.

To make a donation to the schoolhouse maintenance fund, make sure the foundation knows that your gift should be given for that purpose.

Donors can specify how they want their gift  to the foundation used—scholarships, mini-grants for teachers, schoolhouse restoration—whenever a donation is made, VanValkenburg said. Otherwise the money will be placed in the general fund.

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