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.
  • Front.sculpt
    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.
  • Front.pull
    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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  • Front.ropes
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Weatherman Michael Schlesinger talks at Fayette library

Written by David Green.


Being a TV weatherman isn’t as easy as it seems.

Students learned this last Thursday when Michael Schlesinger, meteorologist at NBC24 Toledo, spoke at Normal Memorial Library in Fayette.

Schlesinger, who has been involved in TV weather forecasts since he graduated from Pennsylvania State University about two decades ago, explained to listeners that workdays can be as short as four hours on a mild day. However, when the weather is extreme, there’s no telling how long he’ll have to stay at theweatherguy2 station.

As the weekend weather forecaster, Schlesinger’s Monday-through-Friday role is largely behind-the-scenes. He provides information to his fellow meteorologists, does on-the-spot reporting, and helps with miscellaneous studio work, such as operating the teleprompter.

He also does an array of public relations work, visiting schools and libraries and officiating awards ceremonies. Last week, Schlesinger was filling in for NBC24’s weekday meteorologist, who was on vacation. He described his irregular workday.

To have sufficient time to analyze weather data, a morning forecaster has to be up and about by 2:45 a.m. He or she must be in the studio by a quarter to 4 a.m. and ready to go on the air at 5 a.m.

An audience member asked what time Schlesinger had to go to bed to ensure he makes it to work on time.

“That’s a good question,” the weatherman replied. “There’s the issue of when I should go to bed and when I do go to bed. I should go to bed at about 7 p.m., but I don’t.”

Once at the TV studio, Schlesinger looks over data from between 12 and 20 sources, such as reports from local weather observers, radar readings, and transmissions from weather satellites. He then plans his forecast.

During the broadcast, Schlesinger stands in front of a blank blue screen that is invisible to the TV audience. Computers project regional weather maps onto the background and Schlesinger uses computer monitors to determine where he should gesture when explaining meteorological phenomena.

One of the major challenges of the job, Schlesinger said, is maintaining a polite and chipper attitude.

“It’s a ‘one-two-three, you’re on’ job,” he said. “In front of the camera, you’re ‘on.’ If somebody recognizes you in the supermarket, you’re ‘on.’”

TV meteorologists also exist at the whim of Mother Nature. Schlesinger keeps his weather radio—a radio continuously tuned to broadcasts from the National Weather Service—near his bed. When severe weather is brewing, the service sounds an alert. When that happens, Schlesinger drops what he’s doing and hurries to the station, even if he’s not due on air.

It’s important to have meteorological staff members on hand to provide constant updates to coworkers, he said.

Schlesinger encouraged children to inform their parents about weather radios, calling them the best way to garner early warning of tornados—which were the most popular subject of the day.

The weatherman showed footage of a tornado that devastated a trailer court when he worked at a TV station in Wichita, Kansas. Despite blaring sirens and the warnings of law enforcement officials, many of the court residents didn’t flee for cover. As a result, more than a dozen people died. He showed footage of a reporter and a cameraman taking cover from the Wichita twister beneath an overpass.

“All this is, is air. This is what we breath,” he said.

When an audience member asked if he had ever seen a cyclone cloud in person, Schlesinger replied, “No. It’s an ugly monster and I hope to God I never see one.”

If caught outside during a tornado, Schlesinger advised taking cover in a ditch or low-lying place since the majority of tornado fatalities are caused by flying debris rather than the heavy winds. When fleeing a tornado, it’s best to run at a perpendicular angle away from the direction the cloud is headed, or not to run at all, he said.

“[Being a meteorologist] is an important job because you have to stay on top of a lot of information so that you can help people remain safe,” he continued.

It was actually the urge to help that inspired him to pursue a career in meteorology.

“The first time I saw ‘The Wizard of Oz’ I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I felt bad for Dorothy and wanted her to be safe,” he said.

    – April 18, 2007

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