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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Morenci Distinguished Alumni 04.07.10

Written by David Green.

Three Morenci alumni will be honored April 17 at the annual Morenci Education Foundation dinner. A graduate from the 1940s, one from the 1950s and one from the 1980s are in line to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

William Van Arsdalen

1947 graduate William Van Arsdalen earned a degree in education from Albion College, then joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He later earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University.

His teaching career began at the Chesterfield school southeast of Morenci. Bill later taught in Brooklyn, Mich., and finished his 42-year career in Hillsdale.

He taught history, physical education and mathematics at the middle school level and also served as a boys and girls basketball coach.

He led the staff at Hillsdale’s Davis Middle School for 14 years as the school principal. In 1994 he was chosen by his colleagues as Teacher of the Year.

Upon retiring in 1994, Bill rejoined the Kiwanis Club and traveled throughout Michigan as a district governor and lieutenant governor.

Bill has been involved with the Hillsdale United Methodist Church, Hillsdale County Senior Citizen Board, United Way of Hillsdale County, Hillsdale County Fair Board and Hillsdale Community School Board of Education.

In 1956 he married Joan Guss from Hudson and they are the parents of a son and a daughter.

Glen Smith

Glen Smith was the valedictorian of the Class of 1954. He went on to earn a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from the University of Michigan, studying chemical engineering.

Glen spent his career working as a research scientist with the Mead Paper Corporation in Chillicothe, Ohio. He developed national and international patents for paper pulp processing and traveled the world as a corporate consultant. He also served on several professional societies in his field.

Glen volunteers in a variety of civic and church organizations, ranging from the annual Gus Macker basketball tournament to community musical and theatrical performances. He recently began working with the Stephen Ministries which trains lay people to assist others in need.

Glen is also a skilled woodworker who has built items to benefit non-profit organizations.

Glen married Carolyn Boyers of Wauseon in 1959 and they are the parents of four children.

Janice Clelland Donnell

Janice Donnell earned a degree in geography/earth science from Central Michigan University following graduation from Morenci Area High School in 1983.

She also served with the National Guard signal battalion in Adrian. After her marriage in 1988, she served as a National Guard platoon leader with a maintenance battalion in Carthage, N.Y., earning second lieutenant rank as a reserve commissioned officer.

Annual training resulted in deployment to Germany and Italy. She earned a master’s degree in education in Hawaii.

While living in New York, she served as a community development coordinator with a county planning department. The Donnells now live in Virginia where Janice works as a substitute teacher.

At the many communities where the Donnells have lived, Janice has served as an elementary school volunteer, a Sunday School teacher, an Awana Kids leader and as a volunteer with Mothers of Preschoolers and Moms in Touch. She was formerly involved with a prison ministry project and her family still entertains residents of nursing homes.

Janice and her husband, Chuck, are the parents of two daughters.

Guests have until April 10 to sign up for dinner tickets. Tickets can now be purchased with a credit card at the foundation website (

The auction fund-raiser will begin around 7 p.m. The public is invited to the auction even if not attending the dinner.

 Adam and Gail

 Morenci graduates aren’t the only people to be honored at the April 17 Morenci Education Foundation dinner. A pair of distinguished transplants will also be commended.
Adam and Gail Johnson lived in Garden City, Mich., Springfield, Ill., and Washington, D.C., before taking the lead from Adam’s brother—a Gamble’s store owner in Chelsea—and purchasing the Gambles hardware store in Morenci in 1980.
Their immersion into Morenci life includes Adam’s role with the local and county United Way, the Kiwanis Club and the Rex Riley Scholarship project. He also served on the Morenci Board of Education.
Adam and Gail have both been active in the Morenci Business Association (now Chamber of Commerce) and Gail was instrumental in leading the annual community-wide garage sale effort.
Gail was also a member of the Morenci Child Study Club and taught mathematics at Siena Heights University.
The Johnsons’ children Ron and Jennifer are both Morenci graduates.

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