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.
  • Front.tar.wide
    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.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    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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Balanced Game: It's what Zack Craig plays

Written by David Green.


He’s the big guy on the team, the one who naturally comes up with the most rebounds and blocks.

But he’s also the leader in scoring and he has the best free throw and three-point shooting percentages. On top of that, he finished with a strong second place in assists and he tallies the most steals.

Zack Craig plays a balanced game of basketball. He’s everywhere and he does it all.

His four year’s on Morenci’s varsity team culminated last week with a selection to the first team Class C all-state squad.

Four years ago, Morenci coach Jim Bauer brought the lanky freshman to the varsity team without much hesitation.

As a general rule, he said, there are three factors to consider when moving a younger player to the varsity. Is he going to play more than half the time? Is he going to help the team? Is he going to help himself?

“The answer was ‘yes’ to all three,” Bauer said.

That first year Craig played behind Aaron McClue, the Bulldogs’ most recent all-state player until last week. McClue played underneath and Craig started popping in three-pointers from the outside. He scored 17 points in his first game.

“If there were any doubts,” Bauer said, “that certainly showed that he belonged.”

That was the beginning and he progressively improved each year, Bauer said, not just physically but in how he handled himself on the floor.

“Zack really learned how to adapt in games,” he said. “He gave the team whatever the team needed, whether it was scoring or passing. He always made such an impact on the team one way or another.”

In his junior year, he really started to make everybody on the team better, Bauer said. The Bulldogs ended with a 43-6 record in Craig’s final two seasons.

“Not many players can put up the well-rounded numbers that Zack did,” Bauer said. “The most amazing to me is his 50 percent shooting from three-point range. That’s uncanny.”

Craig scored in the 200-point range as a freshman, then beyond 300 points as a sophomore and 400 as a junior. Finally, he reached 548 in his senior season and ended at 1,606.

“He had his hand in a lot of points, whether it came from him or someone else,” Bauer said, “and that’s just the offensive side.”

He had a team-leading 36 steals this season, along with 66 blocks and an average of 10 rebounds a game.

The moral of the story? You get what you deserve, says Bauer.

“There are probably not many kids in Lenawee County who put up as many shots as him. He’s getting rewarded now for the time he invested.”

For Craig, he still thinks about low points of his career. The loss in this year’s regional finals still stings.

“I can only remember the bad things,” he said.

However, there was a dunk or two that can bring back a smile, and he can easily come up with his favorite moment. It happened this season, when classmate Jed Hall scored his first three-pointer and the assist came from Craig.

Hall was working his way back into the lineup after suffering two broken legs and other injuries in an automobile accident last summer.

“Austin [Wolf] was driving and I’m pointing to Jed,” Craig remembers. “Austin passed to me and I got it to Jed.”

“Zack and Jed played so much together, it was like they could read each other’s mind,” Bauer said.

Craig made a college visit earlier this week to check out a program that has his interest and there are others to consider.

Coach Bauer hopes his star’s prowess on the court will lead to a free-ride at some school.

But before college practice begins, there’s some other athletic activity to attend to: baseball.

Yes, there was a time when Zack Craig did something besides shoot hoops and he’s heading back to the baseball diamond this spring.

Just one more facet of the well-balanced athlete. 

    – March 28, 2007

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