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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Craig Rower defends flying flag upside down 1.21.09

Written by David Green.


It’s nothing new. People have flown the U.S. flag upside down for years.

It’s been done to protest the war in Iraq. It’s been done to protest withdrawing troops from Iraq.

It’s signaled disenchantment with President George Bush and it’s expressed alarm with the loss of civil liberties.

It’s been turned upside down to protest the Wall Street bailout and it’s been said to show general disgust with the state of the nation.

A veterans group in Texas turned its flag around to show dismay with the lack of veteran’s health care in the region.

When the results of the 2008 presidential election were announced in November, the resurgence of the upside down flag went wild, with many people stating it would remain that way until Barack Obama was out of office.

It’s easy to find references to plans for flying the distress signal on inauguration day.

No matter what the cause, there’s been a common response to every act of flag flipping: outrage.

Fayette resident Craig Rower learned that after he began flying his U.S. flag upside down several weeks ago.

Rower, who serves as Fayette’s acting mayor, said he turned his flag upside down the second week of December, although a neighbor thought it started shortly after the November election.

Rower said he’s explained the act to anyone who’s asked, and he added that most people have agreed with him after hearing his words.

They might have agreed with his feelings of distress, but not with his means of expressing it.

After the inverted flag was reported to area media, a television station from Toledo came to Fayette to report on the incident. Now Rower is hearing plenty of criticism. The number of negative comments continues to grow on the Channel 24 website.

Maybe Rower got off easy. In other parts of the country over recent years, the act has resulted in arrests and fights and at least one death threat.

Rower said he’s had more than his fill of verbal attacks made against him and his family. He took the flag down Thursday and gave it to the police chief at the village hall.

“At this point I decided that the protection of my family was more important than the message was worth,” he said—the message that some people didn’t understand.

And what was the message?

“I have a growing disapproval of the direction that our federal government is taking this great republic of ours,” Rower said. “They are currently trying to introduce bills that limit our free speech.  They are trying to limit what can be said on the internet.  These things go against everyone’s first amendment rights.”

He also gave examples of infringements against the second, fourth and fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

“When you add these examples to the Patriot Act, something that should have been named the Unpatriotic Act, all of the bailouts, all of the ‘loans,’ and the government intrusion into the private sector, it becomes a just cause to sound the alarm against these atrocities,” Rower said. “This is truly distress. This is what an inverted flag means. It is the international sign of distress, not disrespect.”

But disrespect is what other residents saw. Many people stand behind Rower’s right to exercise his freedom of speech, but they think his method is inappropriate.

A few commenters writing on the television station website used their names and others wrote anonymously.

“My family with a history of military service to the U.S. thinks his actions are disgusting and not in keeping with the true intent of flying the flag upside down,” one commenter wrote.

Another wrote, “I am a proud Republican and no matter what and no matter who, I will stand behind the Commander in Chief. The majority voted him in so get used to this and stop being disrespectful to the flag, the American nation and the men and women that have and still serve this country so that you can be living free.”

Rower said he was surprised by the reaction of residents.

“I never expected this to garner this much attention,” he said. “I was just hoping that a few people would wake up to what was going on around them and see that their rights are being quickly eroded away.”

After Rower took his flag down, he was contacted by the nationally syndicated Glen Beck show for an interview and he said he’s receiving support via the internet.

That’s not the case at home in Fayette where many of his fellow citizens remain highly critical of his inverted flag.

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