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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Writing 'real books' for kids: Paul Many speaks at library program

Written by David Green.


Paul Many says he enjoys going out to speak in small towns like Morenci.

“It give me a chance to defend myself.”

But why does a successful author need to launch a defense? It’s because of what he writes, Many explains. He deals in the genre known as “young adult fiction.”p_many

Young adult books—aimed at youngsters from 12 years and up—aren’t considered “real” books by a lot of people in the writing establishment, Many says, but there’s one phenomenon that erupted onto the literary scene a couple of years ago that’s helped change all that: Harry Potter.

Suddenly there were thousands of adults reading fiction written for their children, and they discovered it can be very good.

Several established writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Chabon, Clive Barker and Isabel Allende, have recently written for the younger set, and it’s all helped Many gain some respectability as an author.

One reviewer had this to say about Many’s third book, My Life, Take Two: “This is a real novel.”

“As if I were writing chopped liver,” says the New York City native who now teaches at the University of Toledo.

But he’ll accept the compliment, knowing there’s at least one more awakened critic. The positive review could lead to dozens of new readers, as well.

“I’m glad when kids are reading anything these days,” Many said Saturday at the dedication of the Liz Stella Annex at Stair Public Library.

Comic books, cereal boxes—anything to grab their interest.

Many didn’t start off in the field of young adult books.

“I wrote three adult novels first,” he said. “Fortunately, none of them were ever published.”

Many says he follows the old adage about fiction writing: You tell the truth until you have to lie.

“I base my books on experiences that are real to me,” he said, “real experiences that have emotional impact.”

Three novels

Many’s first published book, These are the Rules, follows a bumbling, sensitive teenager trying to figure out the rules of life—dating, driving, girls, the future. The lead character believes all his experiences are mistakes, and every chapter leads to the recognition of a rule of life.

Teen readers recognize the troubles of the lead character in the humorous, first-person narrative as they, too, try to figure things out in their lives.

That book, says Many, is about finding relationships. The second, My Life, Take Two, is about finding your place in life.

Stories from this book arise from tales he’s heard from students about exploring the woods and trails of Wildwood Metro Park when it was still the estate of a wealthy industrial family. Menacing caretakers were hired to chase away the trespassers. They would track them down on horseback and shoot at them with pellet guns.

“That was back when you could shoot kids legally,” Many jokes. “Don’t try it anymore.”

Again, Many uses humor to tell the story of an outsider who first tries to fit in but eventually learns to become comfortable with who he is. In many ways, the story parallels the author’s teen years in Queens.

Many’s most recent novel, Walk Away Home, tells the story of a troubled boy who doesn’t run away from home, but walks away.

“At one time the whole world was within walking distance,” Many said. “It had to be.”

Many, himself an avid walker, follows Thoreau’s advice for this story: A person will have a much richer experience by walking to a destination than by spending the time required to earn the money to buy a train ticket.

In between Many’s last two novels, he produced a picture book, The Great Pancake Escape. At least he produced the words. Many never met the illustrator, who lives in Hawaii.

Odd things happen when a magician uses a magic book instead of a cookbook while making breakfast for his family.

It’s a short book, but it was long on production, Many said. The editing process is short compared to a novel, but still he ended up with about three and a half inches of paperwork before the book became a reality.

Picture books are fun to make because of the quick turn-around time, Many said, and also because he knows people will be more apt to jump in and read.

“When you write a book that’s 28 pages long, people read it.”

    –Nov. 27, 2002 

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