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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Morenci Town & Country Festival 06.23.2010

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s Town and Country Festival unfolds Thursday for a three-day run at Wakefield Park. Activities begin with the opening of carnival rides at 5 p.m. Thursday and conclude at midnight Saturday with rap singer HiZe.

Thursday: Morenci Fire Department members will demonstrate extrication of a victim from an automobile accident at 7 p.m. Thursday on the Kiwanis Little League field. The demonstration will show the possible consequences of texting while driving.

A karaoke service from Toledo will look for volunteers to climb the stage and show their stuff from 8 to 10 p.m.

That’s also the night of another old guys vs. young guys softball game—a contest that proved popular two years ago as a pick-up event.

Friday: A Corn Hole tournament gets underway at 5 p.m. Friday, along with the opening of the beer tent. A men’s softball tournament continues throughout the night.

The Battle of the Bands will begin on the tennis court at 7 p.m., followed by the annual arm wrestling championship.

The sand volleyball tournament was canceled due to a lack of participation.

Saturday: Saturday comes with a full schedule of events. It’s also the final day of the festival, with no events planned on Sunday.

The first event of the day is the horseshoe tournament at 10 a.m., scheduled on the east side of the park near the BMX track.

Carnival rides will start up at 11 a.m., the same time as the festival parade. This year’s parade will be led by motorcycles participating in the poker run.

Motorcycles will go on display around 5 p.m. at the park.

Chicken barbecue dinners will be served at the park concession stand beginning at noon. Corn hole contests start again at noon, with sign-up throughout the morning.

A dog show begins at 12:30 p.m. Judges will be looking for the cutest and most talented canines.

The Masonic Lodge from Fairfield will be back again this year with the CHIP child identification program. All of the identification items produced at the event are given to the child’s family. That includes a dental impression, DNA from cheek saliva, a color photograph, fingerprints and a voice recording.

The service is offered at no charge. Hours are from 1 to 4 p.m.

A bevy of young cheerleaders from a studio in Archbold will show off their skills on the stage at 2 p.m., followed by a fashion show at 2:30. Bridal and prom wear from Lacy’s Petals and Gifts will be shown on the stage.

At 3:30 p.m., the winner of the weight loss challenge, sponsored by Josh and Jill Baumgartner of The Spot, will be presented.

The two winners of the Battle of the Bands will perform Saturday starting at 5 p.m.

The Lost Nations Rodeo is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring barrel racing and bull riding.

The featured entertainment act of the festival begins at 8:30 p.m. when the Grape Smugglers band from Toledo takes the stage. The group will perform until 10, followed by the fireworks show around 10:30.

This year’s show will be presented by Miller Fireworks of Monclova, Ohio.

“We weren’t unhappy with the previous show,” said festival committee chair Sue Snyder, “but we were looking for something different.”

Miller promises a bigger show for the same cost—more bang for the buck.

Morenci’s rapper HiZe (Cody Long) will perform from 11 p.m. until midnight to wrap up the festival.

Festival committee chair Sue Snyder urges people to sign up for events right up until they start, such as arm wrestling, corn hole and horseshoes. No registration is needed for karaoke.

Grape Smugglers

Morenci’s Town and Country Festival committee was looking for a return engagement from singer Charles Elliot, but when they learned he no longer lives in the area, the search started for another musical act.

Mike Fee of Morenci, who serves as the sound technician for the festival, knew just the ticket. Saturday night’s stage act is the well known Toledo band the Grape Smugglers.

The group consists of seasoned musicians who have played throughout the Northwest Ohio area as well as out on the road.

“We have all played and continue to play everything from small bars up to major concerts, opening for national acts,” said guitar player/vocalist Dave Stella.

The seven-piece group plays music from a range of performers including the Doobie Bros., Van Morrison, Delbert McClinton, Marshall Tucker, Average White Band, Eric Clapton, Sanford Townsend Band, John Mayall, Stevie Wonder and others.

 In addition to Stella, members of the Grape Smugglers are Rick Thomas, guitar/pedal steel/vocals; Jon Diener, bass/vocals; Chuck Caswell, drums; Joe Martin, sax/flute/vocals; Tim Tiederman, keyboards/vocals; and John Grafing, trumpet.

 Battle of the Bands

The annual Battle of the Bands begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Town and Country Festival. Bands will set up their equipment on the park tennis court and each take a turn performing.

Votes by the audience will determine a People’s Choice winner and three judges (Sybil Diccion, Jerry Bach and Mark Pennington) will vote on a Judges’ Choice.

Bands will compete for $700 in cash prizes, with $350 going to each of the two winners. If a band wins both awards, the members take the entire $700.

Seven bands have signed up to compete:

• Adverse Enigma makes its third appearance at the battle. The Adrian-based group plays hard rock, rock and metal.

• Sugar Frog of Toledo plays a variety of musical styles.

• Variety Pak of Delta features classic rock and roll. Loyd Bell’s son Kevin is the group’s drummer.

• Trixy Disco includes former Morenci resident Roger Hagerman and is based in Kalamazoo. The group plays modern rock.

• Mouth Sown Shut, playing industrial/experimental music, has members from Adrian and Fayette, along with Alex Garwood of Morenci.

• Mental Breakdown of Adrian will provide the heavy metal touch for the competition.

• TBA still isn’t ready to announce a name. The Morenci band makes a return appearance for its classic rock tunes. This year’s members are Zac and Scott Phillips, Chris Cornelius, Michael Valdez, David Conolly and TJ Hutchison.

Judges will consider musical ability, stage presence, technical ability and professional attitude.

The two winners are scheduled to perform Saturday night from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

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