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

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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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).
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    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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Taylor Baugh a state champ again 2013.03.13

Written by David Green.


sports.lift.taylorMorenci power-lifter Taylor Baugh had never missed a dead-lift attempt in all her years of competing, but that's exactly how the final event in her state champion quest began last weekend in Traverse City.

The squat and bench events left her—the defending state champ—in fourth place in the women's 105-pound division at the Michigan High School Powerlifting Association finals, but she knew her speciality, the dead-lift, was yet to come. That's why it hurt so bad to scratch on her first attempt—a lift of 225 pounds that would have pushed her into the lead. She had the bar halfway up when it slipped out of her hand.

“The bar was a larger diameter than what she’s used to, making it hard for her to get her hands around it,” explained coach Dan Hoffman.

Baugh said she was furious and stormed out of the gymnasium crying.

“I thought it was over,” she said. With a bar too big and slippery, she was lost.

Baugh’s aunt was engaged in a pep talk when Coach Hoffman found her.

“I’m yelling at him and he’s yelling at me,” she said. What he wanted was for her to pull together and think about how to overcome the problem.

Baugh had to alter her hand grip—in the middle of the final competition of her high school career—and she practiced the adjustment with a lighter weight.

“I went for 240 pounds on my second attempt and whipped it up because I was so mad,” Baugh said. 

That put her on top of the field by five pounds until one of her chief rivals matched that lift to take a 15-pound lead.

There was only one way to repeat as state champion. She would have to lift 15 pounds more than her state dead-lift record—15 pounds more than she had ever achieved in the past.

Hoffman didn’t like the odds. The extra weight, the larger bar, the new hand grip. It certainly wouldn’t be a sure thing.

Two-hundred and sixty pounds were loaded on the bar and Baugh chalked her hands really well to help with the grip.

She moved into position and noticed the huge crowd of people circling her. Her platform was the only one still competing and everyone had gathered for the show.

“I got mad and yelled and pulled the bar up close to my legs,” she said. “I got louder as I pulled and the gym was filled with chanting.”

It was a good lift. The crowd erupted in cheers and Baugh kept her title, tying the state record at 510 total pounds.

She was soon in tears again, but this time with a big smile.

Baugh said it all hit home the next morning when she thought back on all the hard work that paid off with a pair of state titles.

She says Morenci’s small but powerful team comes from a small town with big hearts and a lot of determination.

GLECKLER—Sophomore Madi Gleckler gave a solid performance in the 105 weight class.

“She was good on eight of nine attempts, with a personal record on the squat and dead lift,” Coach Hoffman said.

 She lifted 140 and 220 on those events, then added a 90-pound bench press for a 450 total and fourth-place finish.

LOCKWOOD—Makiha Lockwood got off to a great start, but her day soon turned sour.

The junior opened with a squat at 260 pounds to tie the state record, then set a new record of 270. However, the lift was ruled no good by two of the three judges. Coach Hoffman thought it looked good and he says he’s tough on meeting the guidelines. Her third attempt was a repeat of the second.

“From there on things went badly when she failed on three consecutive attempts in the bench press,” Hoffman said. “This disqualified her from the competition.”

It was a tough way to lose, he said, especially knowing that Lockwood is “hands down the best 181 in the state.”

“The girl who ended up winning had lost twice to Makiha this season,” he said.

HOFFMAN—Sophomore Malachi Hoffman competed in the 155 junior varsity class and earned fifth place. Hoffman was good on two squats and posted a 280. On the bench he went three for three and scored 220. He was also three for three on the dead lift to finish with a personal best 370 and a total of 870 pounds.

ELARTON—Freshman JJ Elarton competed in the junior varsity 181 class in his first state meet. He was good on two of three tries for each lift, squatting 245, benching 200, and dead lifting a personal best 380.

“His final dead lift attempt was 400 which would have put him in place for a medal,” Hoffman said, “but it was just a bit too much.”

FELTZ—Sophomore Shawn Feltz entered the state competition for the first time, lifting in the junior varsity 242 class.

“He was perfect in going nine for nine on the day,” Hoffman said. “He hit personal bests in both the squat and the dead-lift at 340 and 380. He benched 225 giving him a 945 total and a ninth place medal.”

Former Morenci student Chris Hinkley was a state champion in the 132 junior varsity class.

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