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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Safe Crossing: Ralph Piercy nears the end of his many years as Morenci crossing guard 2013.05.15

Written by David Green.


There’s one thing Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks never has to worry about on school-day mornings. He knows Ralph Piercy will be on the job at the intersection of Main and East streets to help children safely through traffic.

That goes for the afternoon, as well. Ralph has been there every day for nine years. 

“There was never a concern that he wouldn’t show up,” Chief Weeks said. “It’s a position I never had to worry about. It’s just unbelievable that someone would get out there in all weather conditions, and for someone his age, it’s really remarkable.”

Well, there was one day when Ralph, 83, slouched off and missed, but he made sure someone would be there to take his place.

“I only missed one day,” Ralph said. “I went to the zoo with the senior citizens.”

Ralph agrees that the police didn’t have to worry about him being on the job, but it wasn’t that way at first.

“It’s funny,” he said, “the first six months or so the police drove by every day to make sure I was there.”

Eventually, they just knew he would always show up.

“It’s been a really good thing to do,” Ralph said. “I love every one of those kids and I have a great time.”

He’s watched many of the kids grow over the years, and one of them once reminded him of that.

“Last year one of the girls said, ‘You started me in kindergarten.’ They don’t forget you,” Ralph said.

It’s always fun when a student spots him somewhere else in town when he’s not on the job.

“They know me and they let me know it,” he said.

He recognizes the faces, but he doesn’t know them all by name.

Some of the students are closer than others, he said, and a few coming running with their hands up half a block away, ready for a hug.

Once or twice a year Ralph buys a box of suckers and lets the kids take one—at least they’re supposed to take one. Many kids will mention their brother or sister at home and take an extra one or two. It doesn’t bother Ralph. He just enjoys making them happy.

Ralph often gets asked about standing out in the cold weather, but he doesn’t see it as a problem.

“I dress for it,” he says. “I don’t mind the winter at all.”

There was a day about seven below zero that was challenging, but it’s the wind-driven rain that’s the toughest weather to work in.

“You can’t hold an umbrella or it will take you right down the street,” Ralph said.

Before he accepted the job, people told him he would be sorry, that the kids would try to “run all over him,” but that hasn’t been the case. The children are always well behaved, he said, and haven’t given him any problems.

“I’ve enjoyed every day of it,” Ralph said. “I love the job, but I thought I would take a break.”

When school closes for the year next month, Ralph is retiring from the job. That has Chief Weeks worried about finding a new crossing guard who can match Ralph Piercy’s dedication.

Ralph offers some advice to his successor: “All they’ve got to do is be the kids’ friend and they love you for it.” 

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