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.

John Van Havel clears 18-gallon mark for blood donations 7.23

Written by David Green.

After a recent blood drive in Morenci, John Van Havel stopped in the Observer office to say that he might be in first place now that Jack Smith has moved away and Arnold Smith is no longer donating.

He isn’t sure, but he just might be Morenci’s chief donor.

He swapped his 17-gallon pin for one with the number 18 on it earlier this year and he’s slowly moving his way on up.

John remembers his first donation—just a short 53 years ago. He was studying at Michigan State University and, like all males of the day, participating in the mandatory Reserved Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

“We had drill once a week and if you gave blood, you were excused from drill,” he said.

He just kept on donating after that, but he didn’t get serious about it until about 10 years ago. “Getting serious” means hitting every blood drive that comes along.

He missed one a few years ago when he was vacationing in the Upper Peninsula because he couldn’t locate a drive. Due to his inquiry phone calls, he received invitations from Petoskey and Escanaba for two years.

After John earned his 18-gallon pin, he saw Wayne Carpenter from Jasper.

“How many?” John asked.

Wayne started holding up fingers from both hands, two repetitions.

“Son of a gun!” John answered.

He knew what was coming from Wayne.

“He and I have been friends for decades and we have a friendly contest,” John explained. “But he’s so far ahead of me.”

Wayne became a regular donor before John made the decision and he’s somewhere up in the 20-gallon range. He always seeks out blood drives on vacation and he even has some Canadian donations to his credit.

Blood donations have fallen in recent years, but John has no intention of backing off. Dale Storrer is threatening from below, and who knows—Wayne could retire early and John just might have a chance to catch up.

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