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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Sports round-up 11.10.2010

Written by David Green.

FAYETTE CROSS COUNTRY: After six years of running around cross country courses, Fayette senior Darrell Randall saved the best for last.

He turned in a career-best time Saturday at Ohio’s state finals to place 17th in Div. III.

His effort was just a little short of where he wanted to be—standing on the all-state podium to receive a medal—but it was an excellent accomplishment to cap his standout career, coach Bryan Stambaugh said.

“He was disappointed at first,” Stambaugh said, “but then he realized his achievement.”

His time of 16:11 was a 13-second improvement over his previous best, and he also finished ahead of several runners who beat him earlier in the season and as recently as a week ago at the regional race.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Stambaugh said. “He had a 100 percent day.”

Randall got off to a fast start with a 4:35 three kilometer time—a little faster than he wanted—and stayed in a pack of runners behind the initial cluster who finished below 16 minutes.

With about half a mile to go Randall was running in 14th, but was passed by two runners down the stretch.

“He was running as hard as he could,” Stambaugh said, “but he was already faster at that point than he’d ever been.”

Ironically, his 16:11 would have placed 13th in the state among the larger Div. II schools. Stambaugh looked back at Fayette graduate Heath Armstrong’s final run at the state meet, and that also points to the tough competition in this year’s Div. III race. Armstrong was only four seconds faster, but his time that year was good for fifth place.

Colin Cotton of Cincinnati Summit won the 2010 race at 15:32, just four seconds in front of the nearest competitor. Colin Fisher of Delta came through with the top time among area runners with a fourth-place 15:40.

Delta, coached by former Morenci distance runner Jeff Taylor, placed third in the state. Independence took the team championship.

Coach Stambaugh will have one more season of Randall’s running in the spring on the track team. He hopes to be equally impressed with his senior’s efforts then.

“He really stepped it up Saturday and that was impressive to me,” he said.


It was almost as if Morenci had two freshmen running at this year’s state cross country meet, and both of them produced their top times of the season.

The senior qualifier, Tyler Guelde, competed in cross country for the first time ever. Morenci’s other qualifier, Mariah Gillen, made the cut as a freshman.

Guelde trimmed about 20 seconds off his previous best to place 35th in Div. IV at 17:04.

The senior was tripped up in the first mile of the race on the grounds of Michigan International Speedway, but he was quickly on his feet and didn’t lose much time from the incident, said coach Brad  Brown.

“When he came by me with about half a mile to go, he was in 35th place,” Brown said. “He did well to hold onto that for the finish.”

At that point he didn’t have anything left to close the gap to the next pack of runners, Brown said.

Brown was pleased with Guelde’s efforts, both for his first year out and for his first appearance at the state finals.

That goes for freshman Mariah Gillen, as well.

Gillen was nervous before the big race, but she didn’t get caught up in the adrenalin rush of the massive start, Coach Brown said.

She held her own in the crowd and produced her top time of the season at 21:34 for 108th place.

Kyle Tait of Big Rapids Crossroads Charter Academy was the Div. IV state champion with a time of 15:25. Kirsten Olling of Breckenridge was top in the girls race at 18:09. The freshman ran under 18 minutes in the regional race.

“I was really happy not just with Saturday’s runs, but with the season as a whole,” Coach Brown said. “Top to bottom, all of our athletes got the most out of themselves.”

He’s looking for additional team members for next year’s competition. In addition to Guelde, he’ll lose Micah Gillen through graduation, along with Barbara Hollstein from the girl’s team.

MORENCI VOLLEYBALL: Heartbreak. Nothing but heartbreak.

Just when it looked as though the Bulldogs were on their way to an upset over No. 9 ranked Lenawee Christian School, the Cougars reversed the flow of the match and knocked Morenci out of the district tournament.

It took LCS five games to claim the victory, and every game but one was close. That one came when the Bulldogs notched a surprising 25-11 win.

Morenci maintained the flow into the next game—what looked to be the match winner—when the Cougars finally came alive. Trailing 9-17, LCS came back to take a 27-25 win before ending the match with a 15-11 game.

The Cougars won the opener, 25-23, then fell to Morenci 24-26 and 11-25.

“It was a tough one to lose,” coach Dennis Owens said, “and losing Meghan Smith in warm-ups was difficult.”

Each team had one starter out of the lineup and made quick adjustments. For the Bulldogs, junior Carolyn Blaker moved into the front row to replace Smith.

“Carolyn really stepped in with no warning and did a nice job,” Owens said. “The team really rallied and adjusted well to that big change.

Tia Tompkins was at her best and filled some of the gap with Smith out.

“Tia played a tremendous match,” Owens said. “She and Phoenix [Duncan] were really dominant at the net.”

Owens also cited Mercedez McCaskey as playing one of the best matches of her career.

“There was no one who played poorly that night,” he said. “I am very proud of my team.”

The Bulldogs ended the season with a 15-14-4 record.

Tess Ramsey led serving stats with a perfect 25/25, with one ace and 14 points. Matea Garcia went 26/27, with three aces and 17 points. Chelsea Phillips served five aces.

Tompkins finished with 25 kills and six blocks. Duncan added 18 kills and six blocks.

McCaskey gave 19 assists and Ramsey added 18. Tompkins made 24 digs, Duncan had 18 digs and Garcia made 13.

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