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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

Santas by the dozens at Gail Johnson's house 2011.12.14

Written by David Green.

santa.dumdum“This is the original one,” said Gail Johnson, holding up a rotund little Santa Claus. “He had Dum-Dum suckers in his bag.”

That’s how her large and still growing collection of Santa Claus figures began. She guesses that she must have been about five years old when she got it.

“How I hung on to it all these years is beyond me.”

Her Dum-Dum Santa looks a little plain in comparison to many of her contemporary collectables, but it claims a special place in her heart.

Her friends and relatives know of her collection and so it grows on her birthday and at Christmas, and any time when someone is off traveling and sees a unique version of St. Nick.

She gladly accepts the gifts, but when she’s shopping for herself, there is an important guide to her selection. 

“If I’m picking it out, it has to have a nice face,” she said. “If I like the Santa’s face, then I’ll get it.”

When Gail and her husband, Adam, get away from their Morenci hardware store to travel, they’ll often return with a new Santa.

On an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, they spotted a unique wooden Santa being hugged by a bear. When they attended a niece’s wedding in Buffalo, they discovered a Christmas store and found a tall, thin Santa that added to the diversity of her collection. When traveling through Amish country, they were attracted to an odd Santa whose chubby abdomen is a bell.

santa.8As most collectors soon learn, remembering the story behind an item is half the joy of collecting. Gail looks at a figurine of a Santa holding a baby and knows it was a present from Adam at least 20 years ago.

Santa holding a deer and sitting on the world came from her son, Ron, several years ago. So did the Disney Santa, but that was a much more recent acquisition. The ceramic chef came from her sister-in-law. The signed Carruth stone Santa is a gift from her colleague, Jody.

Now her collection grows through gifts from her grandsons who are always on the lookout for something unique to add to Grandma’s collection.

There’s no sign that this collection will be slowing down any time soon. Come December, Santa takes over at the Johnson house.

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