The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.

NASCAR Notes 08.11.2010

Written by David Green.



This time last year, Jamie McMurray’s NASCAR Cup career was in jeopardy. When team owner Jack Roush had to cut down from five teams to four for 2010, he moved McMurray’s sponsor to Matt Kenseth’s car and put McMurray on the street. The move has so far shaped up to be among the dumbest decisions in NASCAR history.

With very few full-time driving openings available, the best position McMurray could find was at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, taking over the spot vacated by Martin Truex, Jr. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jamie won the Daytona 500 in his first time out with his new team, then followed it with a Brickyard 400 win in July, giving him victories in NASCAR’s two biggest races in the same season. Team owner Chip Ganassi, who also won the Indianapolis 500 in May with driver Dario Franchitti, becomes the first owner to sweep the three races in one year.

Ganassi was the one who gave McMurray his first chance in the NASCAR Cup Series, tapping him to fill in for an injured Sterling Marlin in 2002. Back then, McMurray rewarded Chip by winning at Charlotte in just his second career start, a modern day NASCAR record. He also won the Rookie of the Year title the following year. He later left Ganassi and spent several years driving for Jack Roush before being dumped last year. This time around, McMurray didn’t wait until the second race to thank Chip with a win.

Although several poor finishes currently leave McMurray outside qualifying for the Chase for the Championship, he has dominated the circuit in every other way. In addition to winning NASCAR’s two crown jewels, McMurray has also scored three pole positions through the first 21 races, more than any other driver.

 In fact, only two teams (Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas) have won three total poles among all their drivers. Add the two poles won by McMurray’s teammate Juan Pablo Montoya to his three and Earnhardt-Ganassi dominates the team totals, too.

 And, just to rub it in a bit more, McMurray leads the circuit in dollars won, nearing the five million dollar mark. That money and those huge trophies will probably make him feel a bit better if he doesn’t get to run for the season title. But how about those people who made it all possible?

You almost (and I do mean almost) have to feel sorry for Jack Roush. It took 21 races for his four-car team to win its first race of 2010, with Greg Biffle finally winning at Pocono. And none of the four have scored a pole position this year. Just who was the genius who kicked McMurray to the curb and kept David Ragan (24th in points, one top-10, no poles) instead? Look in the mirror, Jack, it was you.

Martin Truex must be feeling almost as bad. True, he has won a pole and has a top-five and five top-tens so far in the NAPA Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, but after years in the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, what must he be thinking after watching McMurray win the sport’s two biggest races in his old car? Did he give up on the car too soon, or is McMurray that much better a driver? That question has to be haunting him.

McMurray’s experience will probably give hope to drivers fired in the future that better days can be ahead of them. Or, maybe after Jack Roush’s experience, owners may not be so quick to let a driver go. After all, who wants to look like a fool?


Time running out for a 2010 win


Observer Motorsports Writer

With 14 races remaining in the 2010 season, you might think there’s plenty of time left for a driver to make his mark. But with only four races until the field is firmed up for the championship chase, those four are vitally important to drivers trying to grab one of the 12 available spots.

Perhaps even more important to some drivers is that the window for scoring a win this year is closing rapidly. Eight drivers who won a race last season are winless so far this year. Chances are that several won’t get a victory with only 14 races to go.

Brian Vickers, already out of action until 2011, is sure not to repeat. Other drivers looking for that first 2010 win include former champions Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, along with Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

Stewart, who will probably qualify for the championship chase, is facing the end of an 11-year streak of winning at least one race a year, stretching back to his rookie season in 1999, when he won three times. It would be his first winless Cup season ever.

It’s not a huge deal to Stewart, who owns his team and is unlikely to fire himself. But to someone like Kahne, who has yet to firm up a ride for next year (he joins the Hendrick team in 2012), a win could expand his options. And he’s not the only driver facing changes as drivers and sponsors are already announcing 2011 plans.

Marcos Ambrose is leaving the Little Debbies Toyota at the end of the season. Depending on offers received, he may stay in NASCAR or return to his native Australia. Bobby Labonte has already announced he will take the seat Ambrose is vacating.

Drivers announcing new sponsorship for 2011 include Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski. Those losing their current sponsor and looking for a replacement include Kevin Harvick and Sam Hornish, Jr.

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