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

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.skelton.vigil
    MORENCI’S three Skelton brothers were remembered with both tears and laughter last week during a candlelight vigil at Wakefield Park. Several people came out of the crowd to give their recollection of the boys who have now been missing for five years.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.

2006.01.11 Cell phone: thoughtful gift or present from hell?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Among the multitude of gifts I received for Christmas (is four a multitude?) was one of those pay-as-you-go cell phones that many people buy for emergency use. It seemed like a pretty good present at the time. If I had car trouble on the road, I wouldn’t have to worry about where the nearest telephone might be. It would especially be handy after dark. Then I made the mistake of reading the owner’s manual that came with the phone.

The manual contains a four-page message from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concerning the safety of wireless phones. While there hasn’t been any conclusive proof of health risks, most studies covered about a three-year period, while the FDA suggests a follow-up period of 10 years or more when looking for evidence of cancers and some other health maladies that might be caused by radiofrequency energy emitted by the phone.

While that alone may not be a cause for concern (although the manual devotes four pages of small print to the subject), there are enough other problems to give me second thoughts about the phone. Most people are aware not to use the phones around pacemakers, hearing aids and other medical devices, as well as to refrain from operating the phone on an airplane. But how about in a car?

According to the phone manual, signals from the phone could affect vehicle “electronic fuel injection systems, electronic antiskid (antilock) braking systems, electronic speed control systems, air bag systems.” Now, if your car starts acting strange, it might be the fault of your phone.

Especially watch out for that airbag, according to this manual warning: “Do not place objects, including installed or portable wireless equipment in the area over the airbag or in the airbag deployment area...serious injury could result.” Those people who insist on using their phones while driving may be in for a surprise when the phone causes the air bag to go off, leaving a phone-shaped indentation on the side of their face.

Then there’s the explosion possibility. Again, it’s fairly common knowledge that you are supposed to turn off your phone while refueling your vehicle, although I’ve seen many cell phone owners who ignore that warning. Unfortunately, the idiot with the phone won’t be the only one fried to a crisp if the phone emits that dreaded spark. 

The manual mentions other, less obvious locations when the phone could spark an explosion, such as below deck on a boat, or areas where the air contains particles such as grain, dust or metal powders. Farmers and factory workers, beware.

And if you’re clumsy, watch out. The latest issue of Consumer Reports contains the comforting news that a dropped cell phone with a fully charged battery could overheat from the impact and explode. Their advice is to “leave it on the ground for a few moments to make sure there’s no problem.” You may want to use those few moments wisely by running for your life.

By now, you may have come to the conclusion that the cell phone is more trouble than it’s worth. If you’re not the type who likes to test the odds, getting rid of your phone may be your best option. But what to do with it?

You can’t just throw it away. The manual warns against disposing of the phone in a fire or as household waste.

Putting it in your garage or basement is out, too, as the manual also rules out keeping it in environments that are hot, cold, dusty, dirty, humid, or wet.

This is getting to be a bit of a problem, isn’t it? Offhand, I can think of only two possible solutions.

First, if you’re made of money, you could rent one of those temperature-controlled storage units and put the phone inside, hoping for the best.

Or, wrap up the phone, think of the name of your worst enemy, and send them an early birthday present. And don’t include the manual.

– Jan. 11, 2006

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