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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Donors help fund mini-grant program 2012.12.19

Written by David Green.

andi.singersBy DAVID GREEN

When former Morenci resident Mary Jane (Borton) Dopp saw the plea for help in the Observer, the choice was obvious. She went with the music project.

Morenci Education Foundation president Bill Van Valkenburg let readers know a few weeks ago that funds for the Foundation's mini-grant program were thin this year because the source of cash ended when the group's annual golf tournament came to a halt.

He invited area residents to fill the funding gap by making donations, and he listed the requests for projects made by Morenci teachers.

"I just knew I needed to do something when I saw the story in the paper," Dopp said.

Her long-time interest in music led to a donation to Andi Rorick's class at the elementary school. Mrs. Rorick sought donations to buy a series of CDs that present a musical method of helping students memorize a variety of facts, such as counting by sixes, by sevens, by eights, etc., and learning to count the value of coins.

Think about the lyrics to a song that you know well, she said. It becomes second nature, and it can work the same way with information learned in school.

"They really respond well to music," she said. "It is so fun to see them apply what they learn through the song to get a math problem correct."

Mrs. Rorick said she was both surprised and appreciative to receive the donations.

"We are in an economic crunch and it is heart-warming to know people were willing to donate," she said. "My students and I wrote sincere thank you letters to all three women."

In addition to Dopp's donation, money came from two others with an interest in music: Morenci graduate Dolores (Sell) Wurst and Sybil Diccion. Diccion is the only one who lives in Morenci and arrangements were made for her to come to the class and listen to the kids perform. She also agreed to sing to them.

"When I told the kids that Mrs. Diccion would be coming to hear them sing and sing for them, you would have thought I told them they were going to Disney World," Mrs. Rorick said.

The visit took place last Thursday.

"They gave Sybil many sweet compliments and hugs," said Mrs. Rorick. "Hopefully the other two donors can come and visit sometime soon."

That sounds good to Dopp.

"They are great kids," she said. "I would love to meet them all some day."


"Our first effort was somewhat successful," said Bill Van Valkenburg. "Donations combined with resources we already had in our mini-grants fund made it possible to award all requests."

Two donors specified their gift to go toward Mrs. Kelly Bush's CD players and two others were combined to cover the cost of supplies for Mr. Dan Hoffman's Project Lead the Way engineering project at the middle school.

Another donor directed funds to Mrs. Natalie Zuvers's fourth grade science supplies request.

"I think the results were satisfactory enough that we will do this again," Bill said. "Our hope is to resurrect the golf tournament next summer, but because of the generosity of the Morenci community, we were able to cover all requests."

He's seeking grants from another foundation to cover the cost of three expensive requests for audio projection systems and an interactive whiteboard. 

"It always feels good to be able to help teachers in their classrooms," he said. "I just wish we had more resources available so we could do more."

The Foundation recently received an anonymous $10,000 gift from a Morenci alumnus that was placed in the Morenci Schools Legacy Fund—now standing at $40,000. Interest earned from the fund will be used to address major projects or needs of the district, Van Valkenburg said.

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