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.
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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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Skelton boys still missing after a year 2011.11.30

Written by David Green.

skeltons at lakeBy DAVID GREEN

“Our lives are going to change in a big way.”

That’s the message Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks told the city’s mayor, Keith Pennington, a year ago after the sudden disappearance of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

Pennington recounted that phone call Sunday afternoon in the high school gymnasium when he faced an audience of several hundred people gathered to observe the one-year anniversary of the brothers’ absence.

Pennington said he wanted to bring a bag of cash and dump the $60,000 reward fund onto the stage to remind people it’s still here, ready to go to anyone providing information about the case.

“Now is the time to come forward,” he told the crowd, but noted that the big break will likely have to come from the boys’ father, John Skelton.

Skelton is serving a sentence of 10 to 15 years at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Mich., after pleading no contest to unlawful imprisonment of the boys.

When it was Chief Weeks’ turn to speak, he recounted stories about the people from dozens of agencies and organizations that have assisted the Morenci police in investigating the case.

He told of FBI agents and Michigan State Police officers refusing to leave for a rest and occasionally falling asleep in their chairs.

The chief said it pains him when he’s not able to give all the details of the case, especially when he’s unable to provide all the answers that people want to hear. He continues to do everything he can think of to work toward resolution of the case, such as the distribution of flyers last week at the intersection of Morenci Road and U.S. 127.

“When I go to bed at night and lay my head on the pillow, I want to know I’ve done everything I can do,” he said.

Weeks said he’s occasionally asked if it’s a cold case and his answer is that it definitely is not.

“We hold up hope that we’re going to solve this case,” he said.

It’s a matter of “when” and not “if,” repeating what he’s heard others involved in the case say. That’s the attitude he hears frequently and it’s what gives him the strength to carry on.

At the end of his talk, Chief Weeks received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Michigan State Police trooper Sarah Krebs, who works with missing person cases, said Morenci is very fortunate to have such a close relationship with Chief Weeks and his department. That’s something she doesn’t see in all communities.

Krebs, a detective and forensic artist with the state police, said people are often critical of missing person investigations, thinking that officers just aren’t doing enough. She agrees that in years past there were weaknesses, but she believes procedures have been strengthened and gaps filled to create a much better system, including communication with family members and the public.

Krebs praised the support of the community in working to solve the case.

“I’m happy to see Morenci has taken volunteerism to heart,” she said. “Continue to do this. Do everything you can so it doesn’t happen again.”

A slideshow highlighting some of Michigan’s missing persons indicated that more than 3,000 people in the state are unaccounted for—many for a decade and more.

“I would like to congratulate the Morenci community for its support of the Skelton family and I really hope you continue to help in your efforts,” Trooper Krebs said.

tanya hugTanya Zuvers, the mother of the missing boys, said afterward that she was pleased with how the program went. This was the first event that she and her daughters planned, from beginning to end, and it went even better than anticipated.

“I feel that we accomplished what we wanted by keeping it out there that Andrew, Alexander and Tanner are still missing,” she said. “Until they are brought home, we will not stop.”

Once again, she said, people from Morenci and the surrounding area came to give comfort to the family.

“We are blessed by all the outpouring of support,” she said.

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