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).
  • 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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Brooke Barrett named an all-state softball player 6.25

Written by David Green.


As the lead-off hitter for Morenci’s girls softball team, Brooke Barrett often set the tone for the batters to follow.

And she often did it with an extra-base hit.

Barrett is one of four Div. IV first-base players recognized with all-state honors by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.

The honor came as a surprise to her, but one she’ll cherish. Softball, after all, is her favorite sport.

“It’s the sport I was best at,” she said.

Barrett went through the summer ball routine, starting with T-ball, and joined the varsity team as a freshman. She got some playing time in the outfield, but the next season—with the graduation of Emilie Yatzek—she started at first base and stayed there for three years.

Morenci coach Kay Johnson saw a lot of improvement in Barrett’s defensive work and she appreciated her role as the infield leader who directed the Bulldogs’ defense.

Barrett also moved into the lead-off position in the batting order as a sophomore.

“She settled into that position pretty well,” Morenci coach Kay Johnson said.

Barrett often reached base and she had enough speed to move around to second or third.

“It’s nice to set the tone for the team and the get girls ready to play,” Barrett said.

She was on the low end of the statistics for striking out and often managed to get on base. A combination of power and speed helped move her beyond first base.

This season she finished with two home runs, five triples and six doubles. She scored 27 runs, drove in 14 runners and batted .370—second best on a team that played a challenging schedule.

As the first batter of the game, Barrett often smacked a hit against a good pitcher to serve notice that Morenci was ready to take the challenge, Johnson said.

“We won eight games in a row going into the regional finals and Brooke often led the way,” she said.brooke.barrett.jpg

Barrett was an all-league selection three years in a row before moving on in the honor team selection process this season.

“It’s a lot easier when you have a good team behind you,” Barrett said.

It’s also better when you’re having a lot of fun, and that’s exactly what this season was all about.

“We were always laughing,” she said. “We did a lot of crazy things. We were one big family.”

Looking back over her high school career, Barrett lists her sophomore year over-the-fence homer as a highlight.

The toughest pitcher? That would be Summerfield’s Jordan Ratliff—another all-state selection.

She quickly comes up with the funniest moment, as well. Mariah Bovee at second base moved back into the outfield to catch a fly ball and tripped over the umpire. He helped her up and asked if she was all right.

There are teams and players with better numbers, Coach Johnson said, but the all-state selection committee also considers the schedule that a candidate faced.

As a member of the tough Tri-County Conference, Barrett knows all about that.

Barrett  epitomizes the characteristic of this year’s team, Johnson said. Nothing flashy, no one standing out as the star of the squad.

Instead, the Bulldogs were made from a great collection of role players—each one adding her unique strength to the team.

The squad’s three seniors, Salena Martinez, Rachael Rutkowski and Brooke Barrett, provided a core of leadership that every team needs to succeed.

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