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.
  • 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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Frank Cordts retires, chosen Morenci Citizen of the Year 2012.06.27

Written by David Green.


frank cordts

Morenci police officer Frank Cordts wasn’t too keen on the idea of a retirement party, but he got one anyway.

“Frank, we’re having a reception,” police chief Larry Weeks told his veteran officer recently. “I hope you show up.”

Cordts was there and so were dozens of family members, friends and area residents who gathered to honor Cordts upon his retirement from the squad.

Cordts did it all and saw it all during his four decades with the police department, starting off in 1972 as a part-time officer and serving as chief for many years.

City council member Tracy Schell welcomed the crowd of well-wishers Thursday night at the Legion home.

“We really appreciate all the time and great work that you put in for the city of Morenci,” she said. “It’s very appreciated.”

Weeks said that he promised to keep the evening low key, but added, “I truly want to honor Frank’s years of service that he’s put in.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for about 22 years and know that it’s a very difficult and challenging job,” Weeks said.

Events transpire that leave scars of varying kinds, from physical to emotional.

“To have done this job for 40 years, with the pressures it presents, is really an amazing feat,” Weeks said. “I hope you give pause and think about what it takes to work in this job for as long as Frank did.”

Police officers are often thought of as tough guys working in tough situations, said administrator/city clerk Renée Schroeder, but she told about another facet of the policeman.

“One January—the coldest day of the winter and with a huge snowstorm—Frank walked in with a tiny little kitten that he found in a snowbank and said, ‘We’ve got to do something with this little guy.’”

After it hung around city hall for a couple of days, Frank found a good home for the cat.

“I’ve seen the soft side of Frank,” Schroeder said, “and I wish him a very, very happy retirement.”

After the reception, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington added his thanks, saying, “the measure of a police officer is rarely known until there is a call for help. I am pleased every time I get a good report from a citizen extolling the way Frank handled the situation, and there have been many.”

“For that type of service,” the mayor said, “the community thanks him.”

Chief Weeks told Cordts that he appreciates the opportunity to have worked with him during the past decade, and added, “and I appreciate calling you a friend.”

Cordts told the crowd that he never expected such a turnout of people.

“I thank you for supporting me over the years and I thank you for being here tonight,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

He may be leaving the police force, he said, but he will continue being a friend and family member as he has for the past 40 years.

Citizen of the Year

First, let me say I am honored to receive the nomination for the Citizen of the Year. It makes me and my family proud that I am being recognized for my many years of commitment and service to  my community.

How did you end up in Morenci? 

I graduated from Pittsford High School in 1968 and went to work at M&S Manufacturing Co. in Hudson. In May of 1969 I was laid off and transferred to Morenci. I didn’t like the 18-mile drive, so in August of 1969 I moved to Morenci and I have been here ever since.

List three things you really like about Morenci.

Morenci is caring, friendly and has nearly everything a person needs.

In what ways have you seen Morenci change over the years?

Over the years I have seen many changes in Morenci including a loss of industry. When I moved here there were nine full-service gas stations, five bars, three hardware stores, a lumber yard, a mill, two grocery stores, a meat market, a Ma & Pa grocery, party stores, a furniture store and a clothing store. Everything a person needed was here. That has since been swallowed up by the big chain stores, and what a shame.

List some of your contributions to the community.

In 1972 I joined the Morenci Police Department. At that time, I set a goal of working for the department for 40 years and have just complete that. I have given of myself through thick and thin and I am proud of my contribution to Morenci.

Describe your most difficult day on the job or any difficult day.

I had some tough days, the most difficult being two fatal house fires in recent years. Those took a heavy emotional strain on me that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I was rewarded every time I went to work and was able to, in some way, give someone I came in contact with a better outlook on their day.

Who are your family members?

I am blessed with my family. They include a son, Christopher Cordts and his wife and three children in Morenci; a son, Allen and his wife and three children in Warren, Mich.; and my fiancée, Melinda Shirley and her daughter, Cabria. I am the youngest of 12 children and I have my extended family—the wonderful citizens of Morenci.

If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently?

Absolutely nothing. From where I came from and my deprived childhood, I am finally very satisfied with my life and my accomplishments.

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