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

  • 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.

2003.11.26 Roaches don't age gracefully

Written by David Green.


IT’S TOUGH to grow old. Just ask a cockroach. Or put one on a treadmill and check out the decline for yourself.

Researchers in Cleveland have undertaken what they claim is the first detailed study on senior citizens of the insect world. They were surprised by the findings: Human and cockroach geezers are like peas in a pod, like larvae in the rice bag.

Angela Ridgel, who led the study, figured that cockroaches would just die off before they grew old and decrepit, but she was wrong. They just stumble on through the declining years.

Ridgel tossed a few youngsters into an open enclosure and watched them scurry for cover. They were frantic to find a hiding place. Then in went a handful of senior cockroaches and they just sat there. Eventually they would take a short walk and then stop again. Their scurrying days were over.

Ridgel wasn’t yet finished embarrassing these mature specimens. She set them on a cockroach-size treadmill and filmed their behavior. It was obvious the old ones were slower, but when she looked at closeups, she discovered some problems. Every now and then, one leg would get tangled up in the one behind it. This brought the bug to a standstill until the legs were untangled. Sound familiar?

And here’s the most discouraging news of all to those of us who no longer have the agility of a young cockroach. Ridgel tested the fleeing behavior of the old folks. This is a pretty rough fountain of youth medicine, but she found the older ones did a better job of fleeing after she cut off their heads.

I DID my own experiment a few weeks ago. I wanted to see if I could still act like a young cockroach, and I didn’t do too badly. At least not until a couple of days later.

Every year the cross country team runs through town on the last Friday morning of the last day of practice. They make a lot of noise and they must be rather annoying to those on their route through town.

We’ve known about this routine ever since Ben was in seventh grade, which must be nine years ago. There’s always been a lot of talk about joining in the antics when they pass our house, but it was always easier to sleep.

Last year Rosanna ran ahead of the group and got the hose going to spray the boys. This year she stayed with the group to allay suspicions and instead enlisted the help of two classmates to man the hose.

And this year I awoke and went to the basement to fetch a bucket. I filled it half full of warm water—I didn’t want to be cruel—and walked to the sidewalk, listening for the pitter-patter of feet. Or maybe I listened for the yelling and the stomping and the general carousing.

The guest hosers arrived, I showed them to their station and went on around the corner to hide behind the neighbor’s trash bin. When the runners arrived, I joined the pack and started throwing water. And then started running. I headed home, tore around the corner of the house and was promptly sprayed by a hose.

“Not me!” I yelled and went to hide in the back yard.

As the hose fight and dawdling continued, I went in for more water and tossed another bucket into the crowd. I sprinted for the front porch knowing my legs would tangle like an old cockroach but they didn’t. I made it inside and locked the door, panting and thinking that I’d won.

Two days later I didn’t feel as victorious. It’s called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and it’s the result of excessive muscle tearing. There’s a delay before the scar tissue forms. Once this new tissue is in place, there’s pain as it’s stretched out and flexibility is restored.

I experienced excessive DOMS for a few days, but I'm still quite pleased with my performance. I really couldn’t have performed better unless my head were cut off.  

    – Nov. 26, 2003 

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