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.
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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).
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    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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Farrans' work in South Africa continues 2012.11.28

Written by David Green.

farran.interiorBy DAVID GREEN

When a patient returns home from Calvary Care Home in Richards Bay, South Africa, it's a bittersweet moment for Kyle and Heather (Fankhauser) Farran.

As directors of the hospice home, the Farrans are delighted to see an HIV-positive person become well enough to leave. But on the other hand, they know they aren't saying goodbye for good.

"We know they'll be back," Kyle said, because the recovery won't last. Still, the former patients are welcome back whenever the need is there.

"When sickness returns," Kyle said, "we want them to come stay with us for a couple weeks."

In 2007, the Farrans moved to Richards Bay to begin work with the Zulu AIDS population for the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. They left with the financial backing of several churches and individuals in the United States, and more assistance was obtained a few years later when they saw the need for a hospice home. 

The four-bed facility opened in November 2011. That's when the hard work began, Kyle said. He picks up and drops off patients, leads Bible study and handles the administration and maintenance of the care home. Heather, a Morenci native, handles the medical side of the facility and provides training for the staff.

When patients began arriving, the Farrans were in for a surprise. They thought their center would serve as the last resort for their guests. Instead it was a more of a stepping stone.

"The vast majority were able to go home," Kyle said.

Heather, who trains the hospice staff members, explained what they learned about HIV-positive patients: They face continual cycles of health and sickness.

"We never really know which time of sickness will be too much for their immune system to handle and bring about death," she said.

When a person is admitted to the center, there's no way to know what lies ahead.

"What has been incredibly exciting is seeing very sick people get stronger and go back to their homes," Heather said. "There are many variables involved in this, but a few are a clean, germ-free environment, compassionate care, quality food and getting them properly back on their medications."

The  cultural stress of facing AIDS in the Zulu populations can further weaken a patient. HIV-infected victims are ostracized by their families. The Farrans' first patient had been kicked out of her own home by family members.

The health prognosis for the Richards Bay area doesn't look good.

"Nothing is really improving," Kyle said. "If anything, things are getting worse as tuberculosis numbers rise. Because of a compromised immune system, HIV-positive patients easily succumb to TB and battle to fight it off."

From the start, the Farrans wanted Calvary Care Home to serve as a model for others to replicate, and that desire might become a reality.

"We were able to show the facility and share our training material with a family from another city hoping to start this type of hospice care," Kyle reports.

In addition, Heather was asked to lead some training sessions for other hospice groups when the Farrans return to South Africa.

The couple has no idea how long they'll stay in Richards Bay, but for now their direction is clear.

"We see the need in South Africa and want to keep working to care for those dying from AIDS."

A very challenging year is coming to a close for the Farrans. They say they're continually learning and they still love what they're doing.

Each day in Richard's Bay they work to fulfill the motto of their clinic: Loving people to the last breath.


OPEN HOUSE—Kyle and Heather (Fankhauser) Farran have scheduled an open house from 2 to 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Morenci Area High School cafeteria. Guests are invited to stop in for a quick visit or stay for a PowerPoint presentation on their ministry, scheduled at 2 and 6 p.m.

"Because our furlough is very short," Kyle said, "we are unable to visit every church [that has supported us], but we would love to see everyone."

To make contributions for the operation of the care home and for the Farrans’ personal expenses, find details on their website at

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