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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Bob Dister serving at two churches

Written by David Green.

bob.disterBy DAVID GREEN

Whenever Bob Dister filled in at the Morenci United Methodist Church pulpit, church member Mona Dwyer said the same thing: “Bob, you ought to be a preacher.”

Eventually, Bob took that suggestion to heart and former Morenci pastor Dorothy Okray helped him along the path.

He started out by attending classes for lay speakers through the Methodist Conference until he earned certification. 

Next came the process to become a “local pastor,” the Methodist phrase for a pastor who came from another career rather than attending seminary.

To continue his role as a local pastor, Bob will eventually attend seminary, taking 20 classes over a period of five or more years and ending as an “associate member.”

“We’re doing it backwards,” Bob said about the approach that he and his wife, Pat, are taking. “We first got a church and then I’ll be going to seminary.”

Bob began his first full-time pastorate July 1 with the dual role of leading the United Methodist congregations in both Clayton and Rollin Center.

Bob replaces Linda Jo Powers who moved to Elkton. Before her, former Morenci resident Craig Pillow served both churches.

Bob gave up his role as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Lenawee County to take on his new job. Habitat is a Christian ministry, Bob said, but it was an administrative position.

He longed to work directly with members of a congregation. 

“Now I’ll actually be working with parishioners in all aspects of their lives, from baptism to education to marriage to the end stages of life.”

His own education didn’t come entirely in the classroom.

“I’ve had wonderful mentors with the pastors who came through Morenci,” he said. “They’ve been a great inspiration.”

As an example, he learned from Evans Bentley to bring a hymnal along on hospital visits and to ask the patient for a favorite hymn to sing. Bob says that being there for others is part of the gift he has to offer.

It’s a continual learning process, Bob said, both in the classroom and on the job. Even his sermons vary on a Sunday morning.

Although he delivers essentially the same message at 9:30 in Rollin Center  and at 11 a.m. in Clayton, the two are never the same, he said.


Although Bob gave up his job with Habitat for Humanity, he’s still closely tied to the organization and is a member of the faith relations committee.

The group’s goal is to involve churches in the outlying communities in Habitat projects. That could be as simple as providing meals to workers who are building or renovating a home or perhaps supplying a work crew at a site.

To get a cluster of churches working together to support one another marks a new direction for Lenawee’s Habitat, he said.

Bob played a key role in planning Morenci’s first Habitat house and he organized the first two Labor Day Bridge Walk events to raise money for the project. More than three dozen Habitat homes have been built in the county by volunteers.

“As difficult as the economy has been,” Bob said, “there’s opportunity for building and renovating homes.”

Habitat Lenawee intends to expand its annual capacity from three homes a year to four in 2013, and then to five in 2014.

Bob said to look for an announcement in a few weeks for a family selection meeting planned in Morenci.

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