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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NASCAR Notes 2012.06.13

Written by David Green.



I hope Danica Patrick isn’t taking her current situation in NASCAR for granted. She’s been extremely fortunate to have a full-time, mega-dollar sponsor in the Nationwide Series, with the same company putting up the cash for a partial Sprint Cup schedule. But if she doesn’t start showing better results soon, an upcoming group of younger women are poised to pass her by.

It’s true that Patrick won the pole at the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona, but she has shown little since to indicate she’s ready to move up to the Sprint Cup Series full time. Her performance in the most recent Nationwide race at Dover was typical.

Patrick finished in 30th position, placing her behind, among others, 70-year-old Morgan Shepherd, who was making one of his sporadic starts in his low budget self-owned car. The result dropped Patrick out of the top-10 in season points, in a series where only 16 drivers have run the whole schedule.

In fact, that’s where her biggest competitor, female-wise, enters the picture. Johanna Long, who turned 20 years old just two weeks ago, runs a partial schedule due to monetary restrictions.

Despite missing a third of this season’s races so far, Long is still ranked 19th in points, within spitting distance of Patrick. The young driver is starting to gain a following of young female fans who previously had only Patrick as a role model. 

Long has been racing since she was eight years old and has picked up an impressive group of trophies at lower levels. More than  ten years younger than Patrick, you have to wonder what Long would do with a bit more experience and a big-money sponsor like Danica’s backing her for an entire season.

And she’s not the only female on the horizon. Annabeth Barnes, just 16 years old, is competing successfully at North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR’s most famous short tracks.

Barnes has already starred in a documentary as well as a cable reality show on the Great American Country channel. She’ll be a driver to keep an eye on in the future. 

Another woman nearing the end of her window to move up the racing ladder in Jennifer Jo Cobb. The 38-year-old has struggled for years with low-budget teams in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series.

A recent article in NASCAR Illustrated quoted Cobb as saying her budget is a relatively tiny $300,000 for the year, but she’s still finishing in the top-20. “Give us $3 million and we’ll run up front with the rest of the guys,” she added.

The biggest threat to Danica Patrick, at least from a sponsorship standpoint, may come from Angela and Amber Cope. The identical twin sisters are the nieces of 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope, who is helping their career along as his own is winding down.

Angela and Amber have made starts in ARCA, NASCAR Trucks and the Nationwide Series. The Cope sisters took a page out of the Danica Patrick playbook earlier this year and posed for Maxim magazine. As with Danica years ago, it surely gained the Copes a following among 14-year-old boys.

And that might ultimately cause Danica problems with her sponsor. It’s almost impossible to turn on a televised sporting event and not see a suggestive GoDaddy ad with Danica and a scantily-clad model or two. How about a switch?

By sponsoring the Cope sisters, GoDaddy would have two beautiful,  blond, identical twin race drivers. Just think what fun their marketing department would have with that.

Better stand on that gas pedal, Danica. There’s a fast-moving group of women right behind you.


Observer Motorsports Writer

Some of NASCAR’s longest standing records are in danger of falling as today’s drivers continue to gain ground on some of the all-time greats of the sport. 

Jeff Gordon won a pole position earlier this season, making it the 20th consecutive year he has won at least one pole. That ties the record held by David Pearson since 1982. Ryan Newman has an 11-year pole winning streak entering 2012, second longest among active drivers.

Gordon and Bobby Labonte continue to climb the most consecutive starts list.  Gordon is up to third place with 666 starts  as of June 9 and Labonte just one behind in fourth.

Both drivers should pass Rusty Wallace, currently second with 697 consecutive starts, early in 2013. Ricky Rudd, leader at 788, will hold his record at least until 2015.

Richard Petty’s record of 18 consecutive years with a win is safe at least until 2017. Tony Stewart, is the active leader with 14 consecutive winning seasons, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 11 straight.

Petty’s record of 200 Cup wins will probably stand for all time. Jeff Gordon is the active leader entering 2012 with 85 wins. He is unlikely to pass second-place David Pearson with 105 wins, much less making a charge at Petty’s mark. But NASCAR has found a way to shake up the record books.

To help promote the Nationwide and Camping World Truck circuits, NASCAR has combined some of their stats with the Cup Series totals, putting a spin on the win leaders list.

Petty still leads with 200, all in Cup, and Pearson adds a Nationwide win to total  106. But with 51 Nationwide wins and 30 Truck victories added to his 24 Cup triumphs, 27-year old Kyle Busch already ranks third with 105 total  wins to date.

Kyle has Pearson in his sights and plenty of time to catch Petty. Whether Petty would recognize that record remains to be seen.

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