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.
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Sports Round-up 01.20.2010

Written by David Green.

FAYETTE BOYS: Fayette’s varsity boys added a win to their season record, but it wasn’t the one they really wanted.

The Eagles claimed a non-league victory Saturday at Edgerton after dropping a close league battle Thursday against Pettisville, 44-38.

The Pettisville loss was extra painful after the Eagles took a 10-point lead into the locker room at half-time.

The Blackbirds connected on only three field goals for the entire first half, but a danger sign appeared fairly early.

“We put them in the bonus in the first quarter,” coach Todd Mitchell said. Pettisville’s key to success became obvious: an 18 for 24 showing at the free throw line.

After a solid first half, the Eagles had trouble finding the basket after intermission.

“We couldn’t score against their zone,” Mitchell said. “We stood around and didn’t get in the seam of the zone to attack.”

Pettisville hit nine of 10 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Tyler Keefer finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. He also collected three steals and Darrell Randall grabbed a pair of steals.

EDGERTON—Saturday night was Fayette’s turn to capitalize at the line, connecting on 26 of 35 attempts and winning the non-conference contest 66-59.

“We were attacking the basket and they were out of position,” Mitchell said, a situation that led to a lot of Edgerton fouls.

The Eagles ended the half with a one-point lead and they were only ahead by two after three quarters.

In the decisive fourth period, almost everything came at the line. Fayette hit 16 of 20 tries, including eight of 10 from Trevor Cox.

The game was a good bounce back after the Pettisville loss, Mitchell said.

Cox led scoring with 22 points and he also collected eight rebounds.


JVs: A league win last week against Pettisville raised the Fayette JV boys season mark to 7-3.

An early double-digit lead shrunk to only three points by game’s end, 44-41.

The Eagles committed a few too many turn-overs, coach Matt Maginn said, but played an overall hard game.

He praised the assists from Jerry Minzey, Jessie Rodriguez and Kevin Ferguson, noting that they did well at getting the ball to the right people.

Kruce Miller led scoring with 12 points, followed by Chase Hookstadt with 10.

The Eagles played a close game Saturday at Edgerton that could have gone either way. In the end it was Edgerton’s win, 36-34.

Miller and Rodriguez each scored 11 points and Rodriguez also collected five steals.

It was a game of good intensity, Maginn said, but some costly turn-overs. The Eagles also had a little weaker showing at the line, hitting seven of 16.


FAYETTE GIRLS: Fayette’s varsity girls came through with their biggest quarter of the night in the final period Jan. 11 to take a non-league win against Swanton.

The Bulldogs had a one-point lead heading into the final quarter, but they were held to only four points while the Eagles came through with 11 for a 36-30 win.

Rachel Seiler, Katelyn Downing, JeriAnn Lewellen, Leah Brinegar and Heather Cuff each hit a bucket in the fourth to propel the Eagles to victory. 

Fayette went to the line 22 times and put 10 of their attempts through the bucket. Downing shot four for five and led scoring with 12 points. Cuff was next in line with eight.

No information was sent from the Pettisville contest.


JVs: Fayette’s JV girls cagers took a non-conference win at Swanton last week, but the trip Friday to Pettisville added a loss to the Eagles’ record.

Fayette got off to a slow start at Swanton and trailed at half-time. The Eagles attacked the basket better in the second half, said coach Matt Schaffner, and outscored the Bulldogs 22-12 for a 32-26 victory.

Fayette could have made it easier on themselves, but shot only 10 for 26 from the line. Ashtyn Baker finished with 13 points and Allison Cuff added 10.

Another slow start put the Eagles in the hole Friday at Pettisville. Despite out-scoring the Blackbirds in the second half, Fayette couldn’t overcome the first-quarter deficit and lost 32-25.

“I felt that we played another game of solid defense,” Schaffner said. “Pettisville is a very good team, and I think holding them to 32 points was key in keeping the game as close as it was.” 

Schaffner said the team missed a lot of shots in the paint and shot poorly from the line. Ball control was good, he said, with only 12 turnovers.


MORENCI BOYS: It was still a good game Friday when Clinton and Morenci’s varsity boys headed to the locker rooms for intermission. Then it all fell apart for the Bulldogs.

Morenci scored only 10 points over the next two quarters to lose 70-37.

The Bulldogs started off a little cold in the early going, but a three-pointer by Brett Bovee brought Morenci to within five, 16-11, and two free throws by Clayton Wolf kept it close as the quarter ended.

Nathan Schaffner sunk a three pointer in the second quarter, followed by a bucket from Luke Craig and two more free throws from Wolf to keep the Bulldogs down by only six at half-time.

That was the end of the close game. After three turn-overs, two misses and a charge, the Redskins were up by 16. A 12-0 run stopped when Craig hit a three, but after that Clinton’s lead just kept growing.

Wolf led the Bulldogs’ scoring with 13 points, followed by Bovee with 11.


JVs: Clinton’s JV boys started to break the contest open in the second quarter here Friday, then really poured it on after half-time to win 47-24.

The Bulldogs kept pace for a quarter, but the contest soon slipped away as they never escaped from single-digit quarters in scoring.

Brad Funchion finished with eight points, followed by Hayze Wolf with seven and Alex Tompkins with six.


MORENCI GIRLS: A big win last week at Whitmore Lake was forgotten Thursday when the Bulldog girls fell to Whiteford 63-48.

The close contest was still a one-point game to start the final quarter, with the Bobcats on top 44-43, but the Bulldogs’ offense stopped producing.

After a string of Morenci misses and turn-overs, Whiteford had put together a 13-2 run that turned the game around. The Bulldogs ended up scoring just five points in the final quarter as Whiteford came through with its biggest quarter at 19 points.

The two teams played even up in the first quarter, matching points, turn-overs and fouls. The lead went back and forth throughout the second quarter and stood at a 39-39 tie after Mercedez McCaskey canned a three-pointer with three minutes to play in the third.

WHITMORE LAKE—Morenci took the lead early at the Trojans’ gymnasium, but really sewed it up in the second quarter.

An 18-2 advantage in the second put the Bulldogs (3-6) ahead 29-7 at intermission.

Meghan Smith and Tia Tompkins each scored 10 points and collected eight rebounds. Chanler McCaskey scored nine points and Brooke Bovee finished with eight.


JVs: One big win and one close call give the JV girls team two more league wins for the season.

Jan. 12 at Whitmore Lake, the Trojans were shut out in the opening quarter and Bulldogs went on top 14-7 at half-time.

Morenci came out with a 17-point third quarter on its way to 43-15 victory.

The Trojans scored just three three’s and three two’s from the field.

Chelsea Phillips led the way for Morenci with 13 points, followed by 11 each from Matea Garcia and Hannah Jeffers.

The Bulldogs had to come from behind to down Whiteford here Friday. 

The Trojans were still on top at the end of three quarters, but Morenci’s 10-6 advantage gave them a 37-36 victory.

The Bulldogs hit four of 10 free throws in the final quarter while the Bobcats went zero for two.

Phillips scored 17 points and Alexis Baker added nine.


WRESTLING: The jangle of medal came home Saturday with the Bulldog wrestlers when they returned from the Hudson individual tournament.

One Morenci wrestler placed in the A Division and five won medals in the B Division.

“I was happy with how they did,” coach Scott Clark said. “They keep improving.”

He was pleased that his younger, inexperienced wrestlers were able to compete in the B division against others with similar skills.

Dustin Roller was the only Bulldog to place in the upper division. He picked up four wins to place fifth.

After earning a pin against Hart at 1:45 in his opening bout, Roller made a costly error on his next match against Stockbridge.

He read the scoreboard wrong and thought he had a 3-2 lead as time wound down. He was actually trailing by that score, but never made a late take-down attempt.

Roller came back in the consolation rounds to down Hillsdale 12-1, Canton 9-5 and Dundee 12-1.

Mitch Schmucker took second in the B Division at 160 pounds with a pin against a Canton wrestler at 1:18. Tyler Arnett did the same in the 215 class, winning over Dansville 13-1.

Brandt Kelley (112) took third with an 8-3 win against Blissfield and a 20-4 win against Summit Academy. He lost to the eventual champion from Melvindale.

At 125 pounds, John Michael Martinez took third with a 15-9 decision. He also lost to the eventual champion.

Brady Canfield (171) placed third with a pin at 2:34 against Hudson. He dropped a 4-9 decision to Wyoming Rogers.

In the A Division, Clark said, the top six wrestlers at 189 pounds each came in with one loss or less on their records. At 125 pounds there were five state placers from last season.

GRASS LAKE—At a dual meet here Wednesday, Grass Lake posted a 56-14 win.

Kelley won a 6-3 decision, Roller won 26-10 and Whitaker took a void win.


SIENA HEIGHTS: Siena Heights University is exploring the possibility of adding football as an intercollegiate sport. To help make that decision, a task force led by Athletic Director Fred Smith was established. SHU has also hired longtime college football coaches Jim Lyall and Jeff Hancock as consultants to help with the process.

Siena Heights currently sponsors eight men’s and seven women’s intercollegiate sports that compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Earlier in 2010 SHU announced the addition of men’s and women’s bowling in the fall.

“I look forward to the exploration process,” Smith said. “There are many exciting possibilities, but also some potential challenges, to beginning football at Siena Heights. Our task force will look at all of the factors, both pro and con. We know other smaller institutions like Siena have successfully added football, and we will discover if football makes sense for Siena Heights.”

After the task force completes its findings, a final decision is expected later this year.

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