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

  • 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.

Billy Williams puzzled over his topadoes 7.23

Written by David Green.

Doubters come laughing, but they leave scratching their heads. And Billy Williams is every bit as puzzled as the gawkers.

What’s the fuss? He has tomatoes growing on potato plants.

Williams has a couple of rows of tomatoes growing in his back yard garden on Burley Street in Morenci and he also has a few rows of potato plants.topatoes.billy.jpg

“I thought it was a little goofy,” he said,  when he saw both yellow and white flowers on a few of the potato plants, but he didn’t think much about it until he saw tomatoes growing from those yellow blooms.

That’s when he dug down into the dirt and also found a healthy crop of potatoes down below.

“I thought there had to be a tomato plant down there,” Williams said, but there was nothing but potatoes.

He cut open a tomato and found an ordinary piece of fruit with seeds just like any tomato.

“Lots of people have looked and they can’t believe it,” he said. “I probably had 30 people over here and nobody’s seen anything like this. Nature never fails to amaze us.”

It’s baffled a lot of experienced gardeners who laughed until they came to look for themselves. Williams watched his aunt dig down. She thought there must have been an explanation down below the surface.

Maybe he grew tomatoes in that area last season. No, that’s not the case. And besides, these are cherry tomatoes and he grows a regular size crop.

Did he buy the potato seed somewhere? No, that’s not it either. Had he bought the seed somewhere, he would have suspected some genetic modification, but he cut up the Yukon Gold potatoes himself.

“I planted them just like my grandpa and dad taught me,” he said.

Among all of his potato plants, five are showing the—what do you call it, Williams wonders, a topato?

Williams did a little searching on the internet to see if could find other occurrences of the mystery, but he didn’t come up with much more than dinner ideas.

A bulletin from Iowa State University mentions tomato-like fruit on potato plants. Normally, it says, potato flowers dry up and fall off plants, but occasionally they produce fruit—a fruit that’s of no value to the gardener.

That seems to explain his strange produce, but what about the yellow flowers?

Williams isn’t sure if he wants to eat any of his topatoes—a wise move since they’re said to be high in solanine, a poisonous alkaloid found in potatoes, tomatoes and all members of the nightshade family—but there’s one other thing weighing on his mind.

“If I dig down underneath my tomatoes and find potatoes growing, I’m moving out of here.”

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