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.
  • Front.homecoming Court
  • Cheer
  • Front.park.lights
  • Front.pull
  • Front.ropes
  • Front.sculpt
  • Front.tar.wide
  • Front.toss
  • Front.walk Across

Jessie Torres wins top honors at rabbit competition 11.5.08

Written by David Green.


When it comes to rabbits—breed identifications, show classes, coloration—it’s unlikely you’re going to come across anyone who knows more than Jessica Torres.

The Fayette freshman proved that statement last week in Louisville at the America Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) national convention.jessie.rabbits.jpg

Her score in the intermediate breed identification competition was the highest in the nation. Jessie scored 188 points out of a possible 200—not just the best in her age group but better than any Ohio contestant in any of the three youth divisions.

With her teammate Kelsey Brown of Williams County finishing runner-up, the Just Raisin’ Hare 4-H Club group took team honors in the breed identification contest. Other team members are Trey Rupp of Wauseon and Alyssa Galford of Williams County. Trey is the son of Morenci Middle School teacher Doug Rupp.

There’s a good reason for their success: They worked really hard over the last two years.

“We’ve been practicing since last January,” Jessie said about the twice-a-month sessions.

When the convention drew near, team members got together on a weekly basis to review their knowledge.

At the convention, contestants faced a lineup of 26 rabbits and were required to correctly identify them from among the 47 breeds recognized by ARBA.

After that, competitors had to determine the class that each rabbit would show in. Finally, they had to determine coloration out of more than 100 possibilities.

It’s actually more complicated than that, says club leader Lisa Hoffman, because color terminology varies from breed to breed.

Take the color brown, for example. For one breed, it’s called tortoise; for another, it’s called tortoise shell; yet another refers to it as black tortoise.

“It’s somewhat like medical terminology and it has to be exact,” she said. “Some breeds of rabbits have 30 different colors. This is the hardest and this is the area Jessie excels in.”

When the awards were announced at the youth banquet last Wednesday, Jessie was called up to the stage as the fifth-place winner.

But wait a minute...a mistake had been made. She was then told that she was actually the national champ, and as she recalls, she just stood there on the stage with her mouth hanging open.

This year’s week-long convention was Jessie’s second. She attended the 2007 gathering in Grand Rapids, Mich., and already the team is thinking about next year when the site moves to San Diego. If they’re going to make that trip, some fund-raising is in their future—along with a lot more practice.

First comes a break from studying rabbits, but Jessie says they’ll start up again in January.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” she said. “We work really well together.”

She has high praise for Lisa, their leader,  who devotes many hours through the training sessions and organizational activities.

Three years ago, Lisa formed Council Oak Rabbit Breeders Association, an ARBA-chartered club separate from 4-H that allows members to show rabbits and earn credit toward participation in the national convention.

Most team events require a state-level qualifying stage and the Raisin’ Hare group made the cut at a state show in Columbus. In Louisville, nearly every state in the union had a team in the contest.

The convention is about a lot more than competition about rabbit knowledge. There’s also the rabbits, themselves, and more than 23,000 were judged at this year’s gathering.

That’s something Jessie wants to be a part of next year.

“I didn’t bring a rabbit this year,” she said, “but I went to the convention to buy one.”

That didn’t work out, but she made arrangements to obtain one in the spring. That will add a new layer of excitement in San Diego if the club manages to get that dream off the ground.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2015