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 2011.06.02

Written by David Green.

FAYETTE TRACK: All of the top distance runners turned in season-best times at the Div. III regional meet Saturday in Tiffin, including Fayette’s Darrell Randall.

The recent graduate clipped 11 seconds off his previous best in the 3200-meter run to finish at 9:54 and qualify for the Ohio track finals for the first time.

Randall missed the cut last season by one place, but he had some padding this time around, finishing 10 seconds ahead of the next runner.

Delta’s Colin Fisher led the pack with a 9:35, ahead of a Sycamore Mohawk runner at 9:50 and a New London qualifier at 9:51. Randall was less than three seconds out of third place.

Randall will need another career best run Saturday in Columbus to place among the top runners. Ten of the 16 qualifiers have posted times below 9:50 and four have run under 9:40.

HIGH JUMP—Fayette sophomore Dustin Lantz cleared 5-6 in the high jump to tie for 12th place at the regional meet.

Six jumpers cleared six feet, including Fremont’s Brant Reardon who was regional champion at 6-6. Reardon cleared 7 feet earlier in the season.


With top-eight ratings in six events, Morenci track and field coach Brad Brown expects his seven finalists to return home Saturday night with medals from the Div. IV state track meet.

The Bulldogs have two athletes who turned in the best time and distance in the state from the 10 Lower Peninsula Div. IV regional meets.

Past performances, however, are only an indication of an athlete’s capabilities. The times and distances have to be repeated or improved upon to succeed at the state meet.

Senior Phoenix Duncan’s 17-0.25 long jump is a little more than an inch better than two other competitors, but Coach Brown believes Duncan is capable of adding a few inches to her career best. He’s hoping to see it Saturday at the Jenison High School facility near Grand Rapids.

Morenci sophomore Brooke Bovee came through with the best 300-meter hurdle time among regional competitors at :47. That time marks her season best and is just a tenth off her school record set as a freshman.

Four other hurdlers finished under 48 seconds and another seven notched times below 49 seconds.

Bovee and Duncan stand in third place in two other events. Bovee will challenge another sophomore in the 100-meter hurdles. Chantel Davenport of Athens ran the race in :15.3 to win her regional meet, while Bovee was first in hers at :15.7. A junior from Pewamo-Westphalia stands in second at :15.5, and there are eight athletes close behind, including a pair of freshmen.

Duncan is third in the high jump at 5-3—her best so far for this season—although she had two good attempts at 5-5, Coach Brown said.

“I think she has it in her to improve on her third- and fourth-place finishes [at the state meet] from the last two years,” he said.

The two jumpers ahead of her both ended at 5-4 in regional competition.

The women’s 400-meter relay team finished second at regionals and stands in fifth place among the state finalists. Team members are Shannon Jarrell, Erin Vanderpool, Bovee and Duncan.

Three teams broke the 52-second mark; Morenci finished the race at :52.6, but that’s not its season best.

Senior Garrett Mohr’s 139-0 discus toss  is the seventh place best. The top two competitors cleared 160 feet and the next nine behind Mohr have topped 130 feet.

His 139 marked his season best, but Coach Brown won’t be surprised to see him make it into the 140 range in his final high school competition.

Morenci junior Max Gautz stands at number nine in the long jump at 20-2.75. Thirteen jumpers cleared 20 feet in regional action and the leader has gone more than 22.

Gautz’s effort is within three inches of the next three and he’ll need to beat at least one of them to score a top-eight all-state award.

Gautz also qualified in the 110-meter hurdles and is tied for tenth place at :15.7. The leader turned in a :14.4 and the next eight range from :15.0 to :15.5, putting a top-eight finish in Gautz’s sights again.

“He keeps improving,” Brown said, “and I expect him to get to the semis.”

He’ll need a new season best to advance to the finals.

Shannon Jarrell qualified for both of the sprints. The freshman couldn’t compete last year as an eighth grader due to an injury.

She qualified in both the 100-meter dash (:12.9) and the 200-meter dash (:27.2) and those times would have placed at the state meet a year ago, Coach Brown said. Both are her season’s best, but if she gets in the right semifinal, it could carry her into the finals.

Nine runners have identical times in the 100 and eight recorded faster times. Jarrell stands at number 12 in the 200 and five runners are just a tenth of a second back.

Jarrell will need to rest up to join the 1600-meter relay team where the Bulldogs qualified with a time at 4:22.9. The next 11 teams are within two seconds of that time, far behind the leaders at 4:12.

“Shannon’s :61.8 split was her best of the year,” Coach Brown said, “Kourtney [Cousino] gave her best run.”

Duncan and Bovee are the other two team members.

If everyone runs their best, the Bulldogs could trim their time to 4:15 or 4:16, Brown said, and possibly place.

Every one of the Bulldogs has a shot at a top-eight finish, Brown said, but it will take an outstanding performance by each.

MITCA—Morenci’s girls teams competed Saturday in the MITCA state meet for teams at Gobles High School.

None of the girls produced their season best efforts and the Bulldogs placed eighth among 15 teams.

The 400-meter relay team won the event at :52.6 and Duncan won the high jump at 5-2. She placed second in the long jump (16-6).

Jarrell took second in the 200-meter dash (:27.68) and Bovee took second in the 300-meter hurdles (:47.99).

Jarrell placed third in the 100-meter dash (:13.52) and the 1600-meter relay team took fourth (4:24.4).

MORENCI BALL: Morenci’s ball teams will tangle with Lenawee Christian School at the district tournament Saturday. LCS is the host school.

Morenci’s baseball team, with few wins this season, will meet LCS at 10 a.m., followed by Whiteford vs. Waldron at noon. The finals will begin around 2 p.m.

The softball schedule is just opposite. Whiteford and Waldron play at 10 a.m., followed by Morenci and LCS at noon.

Morenci softball coach Kay Johnson scheduled a few challenging games at the end of the season to prepare for the tournament, and seven games were played despite rainy weather. 

She doesn’t expect an easy road out of the district tournament.

“LSC’s good pitcher has been hurt most of the season and she is back healthy now,” she said. “Whiteford beat us two weeks ago.”

In addition, it wasn’t long ago that the Bulldogs fell to Waldron in a district tournament.

“We still have some things to fix,” she said.

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