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.
  • 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.
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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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Underage drinking can bring serious consequences 2011.11.16

Written by David Green.


Life is all about choices, says Joan Clark, an enforcement agent with the Ohio Investigative Unit of the state’s Department of Public Safety, and you have to be smart about your decisions.

Agent Clark (not her real name) presented “The Sober Truth” program to two classes of Fayette students last week. Her goal is to make students aware of the consequences of underage drinking.

Why speak to seventh grade students?

“I can guarantee you’re going to hear about parties,” she said. “You’re going to be making big decisions about alcohol.”

Clark asked students if the school had a code of conduct for student athletes to sign. Hearing that it does, she asked a student what the code says.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “I didn’t read it.”

Students are walking billboards for their school, she said. 

“If you do something bad outside of school, it makes not only you look bad but also the school.”

There are several ways that officers in the Ohio Investigative Unit find out about what’s going on in Fayette, Clark said. Someone who gets kicked out of a party might become angry and report the event. Teachers hear a lot, she said, and will pass information along. 

Sometimes even parents will contact police, knowing their child will get arrested, because they would rather do this than later learn of of the child’s death.

Facebook also presents plenty of information. Kids post photos of people drinking.

“What do I call that?” she asked. “Evidence.”

Those photos could not only affect you criminally, Clark said, but they could become an impediment to entrance into college or in finding a job.

Clark ran through a typical scenario that her agency encounters.

The parents aren’t home so a child decides to have a party. Someone brings alcohol or drugs and the state police arrive with a search warrant.

“Local law enforcement agencies use discretion,” she said, “but we do not. Everyone at the party will go to jail for something.”

Not fair?

“Then don’t hang out at underage parties,” she said.

Possession of tobacco: $250 fine and up to 30 days at a juvenile campus.

Underage possession: $1,000 fine and up to six months at a campus.

“When you start using alcohol and drugs,” Clark said, “you find out who your friends are.”

If someone has a couple bottles of beer under the seat of a car, everyone could be arrested. If a police officer can smell alcohol on your breath, you’re considered under the influence.

“Ignorance of the law is not going to keep you from getting arrested,” Clark said.

She knows of a 17-year-old who was charged with the death of his best friend after furnishing alcohol. She knows of a woman who was asleep and unaware that her child and other youths were downstairs drinking. One of the guests died in a traffic accident and his parents sued the woman, who has since lost her house from her indebtedness.

“We’ve seen a lot of things we never thought we’d see,” Clark said, such as the alcohol poisoning of a BGSU student who was found foaming at the mouth—and dead.

“One bad decision can affect you forever,” she said. “You may hear this from teachers and parents; I can only tell you what I’ve experienced, so just be smart.”


Facts from the Ohio Investigative Unit:

• One-third of all citations issued to liquor permit holders involve sales to minors.

• A person under the age of 21 who presents a fake or altered ID or drivers license when purchasing alcohol may face a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

• If you are under the age of 21 and you purchase or share in the cost of alcohol, you may be arrested, taken to jail and ordered to pay a fine.

• 85 percent of high school students have had at least one drink of alcohol during their lives.

• 30 percent of high school students had their first drink, other than a few sips, before the age of 13.

• It is illegal for those under the age of 21 to be served alcohol by anyone other than their parent, legal guardian or a spouse of legal age.

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