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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Stair Public Library chosen for pilot science project 2012.06.13

Written by David Green.


When Stair Public Library director Colleen Leddy read about a new program emphasizing science in small rural libraries, she wanted Morenci to be involved.

She sent an e-mail to the directors of the program and expressed her desire to join in. That was still early in the planning stages, but she was told that Morenci would be kept in mind.

Earlier this month she learned that just 20 libraries in 15 states were chosen to participate in a pilot project and Stair was one of them.

A $2,500 grant from the National Science Foundation will pay for training and implementation of the program. After completion of the pilot program, the experiences of those 20 libraries will be examined before the program is expanded to 100 additional rural libraries.

“Pushing the Limits: Making Sense of Science” is described as a four-part reading, viewing and discussion series for adults.

The program will explore the ways that humans have always strived to push the boundaries of their world.

“We want to be stronger, smarter and more aware,” said Linda Crowe of the Califa library consortium, one of the organizers of the program. “Using science we bring those dreams to life.”

Sometimes great new advances in science and technology make the difference, Crowe said, and other times it’s the science of the everyday.

“In either case, we are all finding ways to push the limits every day,” she said.

The program will explore these ideas by blending a book club model using popular novels with a science café discussion group.

The science café is patterned after a NOVA ScienceNOW project that brings science to unexpected places with the intent of reaching people from a variety of backgrounds. A short video clip is followed by a discussion led by a scientist. Adrian College professor Adam Coughlin has agreed to serve as Stair’s program leader.

Coughlin’s role won’t be to lecture to participants, but rather to create a discussion among people who might not typically discuss science issues.

“The overarching theme is one of real people, real stories and real science,” Crowe said.

Leddy participated in a focus group last year in Texas that gave organizers the opportunity to speak with librarians about the program and learn what would and wouldn’t work.

When it came time to apply for participation in the pilot project, Leddy submitted an application that was well received.

“Your plan for Pushing the Limits...looks terrific!” she was told. The selection committee was impressed with her experience in public programming and pleased with her goal of increasing library usage. 

“Your three letters of support show potential for good community involvement and for getting the word out to people who are not currently library patrons. Your scientist shows sincere interest in the project, and his research interests as well as current scientific specialty looks very promising.”

In addition to funding from the National Science Foundation, the planning team consists of library professionals, scientists and filmmakers from Dartmouth College, the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, the Califa Group, Dawson Media Group and Oregon State University.

Crowe points out there are more public libraries in the U.S. than there are McDonald’s restaurants, and nearly 80 percent of them are in communities with populations of 25,000 or less.

“All communities need and deserve good programs to engage and bring people together,” she said.

Leddy looks forward to the discussions ahead.

“Some of our most interesting and enriching programs at the library have been people simply talking and discussing issues,” she said.

The Living Library, Prime Time, Talk@Two, guest authors and book discussions have each led to good interaction.

“The STEM topics—science, technology, engineering and math—involve everyday issues that people can relate to and have an opinion about,” Leddy said.

The next step for her is a training session in Portland, Ore., this fall. The program will get underway in 2013.

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