The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Bonnie Van Dam, Detroit Zoo worker 2.20

Written by David Green.

Bonnie Van Dam knew when she was a high school student in Morenci that she was destined to work with animals when she grew up. She just wasn’t clear about the species.

“I actually wanted to become a marine biologist when I was in high school,” she said. “I was crazy about whales and dolphins.”

Not too many years passed before she traded fins for feathers. It happened when she got to know some penguins.

After Bonnie earned a zoology degree at Michigan State University, she was hired by the Nature Conservancy to do research for the Michigan Natural Features Inventory—a survey of native plants and animals where data is collected by traveling into woods, along the shoreline, across fields, etc.

Bonnie learned something important from that internship—she realized she wasn’t cut out for research in the field. She found a posting for a job opening at a zoo and thought that might be more to her liking.

She started working with the Detroit Zoological Society in 1994 and it was a good fit. She’s been there ever since.

Within two years, Bonnie was working as a senior zookeeper in the bird department. She worked primarily with the zoo’s penguins for five years.

Her work didn’t revolve around penguins entirely. Vultures, flamingos, storks, cranes, spoonbills—she’s become well acquainted with them all.

Along the way, Bonnie initiated the zoo’s artificial incubation and hand-rearing program. She’s had success with a variety of species ranging from hummingbirds to the Ruppell’s griffon—a vulture native to Africa.

In 2001, Bonnie was promoted to head zookeeper of the bird department and in 2006 she took another step upward, this time as associate curator of birds.

This puts her in charge of 11 other zoo employees who oversee five bird facilities housing more than 40 species...

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