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.
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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.
  • 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.
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Sports round-up 11.26.08

Written by David Green.

ZACK CRAIG: It’s about 280 miles from Morenci to West Liberty, W. Va., but that doesn’t stop Nelly and David Craig from watching their son, Zack, play basketball with West Liberty State College.

With a fast internet connection, the Craigs can sit at home and watch games through live internet streaming.

And there’s a lot of action to watch.

The Hilltoppers are known nationally for their high scoring games and they’re back at it again this season.

They opened play with a 125-62 victory over Salem International and followed that with a 119-50 win against Ohio University Eastern.

Craig, a 6-foot-5 206-pound guard, was injured early in the season last year, but he’s making an impression this year as a red-shirted freshman.

In the opening game, Craig scored 16 points in 12 minutes on the floor, shooting 57 percent overall and 48 percent from three-point range.

In the second contest, he tied for second leading scorer with 17 points, shooting 60 percent overall and in three’s. He also collected eight rebounds in the game.

Craig was a four-year starter at Morenci and broke his father’s scoring record to establish a new school mark with 1,606 points. He averaged 22 points a game and shot 50 percent from the perimeter.

The NCAA Div. II Hilltoppers led the nation in scoring last season with an average of 97.5 points a game. They broke the hundred mark in 13 contests.

West Liberty isn’t known only for its three-point shots, said Matt Watson of the college athletic department.

“We don’t just shoot the three,” he said. “We make the tempo really fast and force turnovers with our full-court pressure. We also are among the nation’s leaders in assists and steals each year.”

FAYETTE BOYS BASKETBALL PREVIEW:With six letter-winners returning, five of them seniors, Fayette’s boys coach Todd Mitchell has some good experience on the floor this season.

He has some talent on the bench, as well, with a nine-man rotation and plenty of competition for starting positions.

“It makes practice a lot more competitive when they know they’re all going to play,” Mitchell said.

He aims to use his strong bench to his advantage to run an up-tempo game with plenty of fresh bodies to put on the floor.

“We should be able to be more aggressive with nine guys,” he said.

He expects the squad to put the pressure on at times.

“Defensively we’re really improved,” Mitchell said. “We’ll continually improve at the defensive end and the offense will come.”

Mitchell is also seeing an improvement in ball handling skills from the past season.

Senior Austin Hylander (6-2) returns as the top scorer, backed up by classmate Coty Griffiths. Both are second-year letter-winners.

Senior Shelby Franks is also back for a third varsity season and Eliott Richardson (6-3) returns for a second year. Ben Kovar is the fifth senior.

Mitchell will look to newcomers Evan Stoltzfus and Jason Rodriguez, plus sophomores Tyler Keefer and Darrell Randall to fill key spots on the team. Rodriguez and Keefer put in enough time with the varsity last season to win letters.

Three other players will see time on both the junior varsity and varsity: junior Travis Kline and sophomores Nelson Barnhiser and Hunter Colegrove.

“We played well in scrimmages against Wauseon and Hicksville,” Mitchell said.

An additional practice is scheduled at home Dec. 2 against Emmanuel Christian.

Coach Mitchell is looking forward to the BBC schedule because of the parity he expects to see.

“This should be one of the more balanced years in a long time,” he said. “It’s wide open.”

North Central has a freshman to watch—a kid who could dunk the ball as an eighth grade student. Pettisville and Stryker lost personnel through graduation, but still have good talent. Hilltop should be improved.

It’s going to be balanced and competitive, Mitchell said, and every league game should be a challenge for most everyone in the conference.

First on the Eagles’ agenda is to avenge a loss to Morenci last season when the two teams resumed an old cross-border rivalry.

The Bulldogs traveled to Fayette to post a win last year; Coach Mitchell intends to turn the table this time around.

The league season opens at Stryker Dec. 11.

FAYETTE GIRLS BASKETBALL PREVIEW: Fayette girls basketball coach Ashley Oyer knows the challenge for her squad this year: Put more points on the scoreboard.

She was generally pleased with the Eagles’ defensive intensity last season—Oyer’s first with the squad—but offense was another story.

“We were getting the shots off,” she said. “They just were getting them through the basket.”

She’ll add one more complaint on the offensive side—far too many turnovers last season—but the criticism ends there.

She has seven letter-winners back, four of them seniors, and she believes she’s seeing an improved squad.

“I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve held our own,” Oyer said following a scrimmage last week at Swanton. “I think we’ll be a lot more fun to watch this season.”

She’s not forgetting something she liked the most about the Eagles last season: They never gave up.

“These are tough-nosed kids who are never going to back down,” she said. “They take pride and they play hard all night.”

Last season’s leading scorer was guard Rachel Seiler who started as a freshman. Junior forward Katelyn Downing was close behind, followed by senior guard Danni Wyse, a three-year letter-winner.

Other seniors returning to the squad are two-year letter-winners Trish Bates, a forward, Mara Raker, guard, and Brittany Seiler forward. Junior guard JeriAnn Lewellen is also back for a second season.

Three juniors have moved up from last year’s junior varsity team: 6-foot forward Heather Cuff and two guards, Elisha Hartman and Jacy Lewellen.

Two sophomores will alternate between varsity and junior varsity: guard Andrea Canfield and forward Amber Scott.

Oyer looks for her squad to run a faster-paced, more aggressive game. The team has also worked to improve its perimeter game.

Coach Oyer figures that Pettisville is the team to beat this season in the BBC, but Stryker still has good talent returning. She’s hoping to see the Eagles in the race, as well.

Fayette opens the season Friday with a non-league contest at Liberty Center. The league season gets underway at home against Edon Dec. 5.

Update: Katelyn Downing suffered an ACL injury and will miss the season.

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