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

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • 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.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Jim Bauer: A Union of the Genes 2008.04.28

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

You can read about genetics in a textbook, you can listen to your teacher try to make sense of it for you, or you can try it out yourself.

Get married, reproduce and watch the genes go to work.

That’s the approach eighth grade students in Jim Bauer’s science class are taking at Morenci Middle School. Well, sort of.

Students find their mate by luck of the draw, then compare their genes to see what traits might be produced in their fictional offspring.genetics.wedding.jpg

There’s nothing too serious about the match-up, but in the end, Mr. Bauer’s class knows how genes interact.

Long before the wedding day, each student flips a pair of pennies to look at the probability of passing on traits to offspring.  Two heads indicate the dominant gene of brown hair. Two tails give the recessive gene for red hair. One head and one tail produce a gene carrying both traits.

The next step is to develop a list of options for the class’s children. Hair color: Afro hair or Marge hair (from the Simpsons). Head shape: cone or round. Nose: regular or elephant snout. One of each of the dozen traits is listed as dominant and the other recessive.

Next, students take the coin-flip data from before and create their personal Genetic Profile Chart. Their genotype—the inherited instructions—is recorded for each trait to determine the phenotype—the observable characteristics, such as Oriental eyes, rabbit ears, etc.

Using their 12 traits, they come up with portraits of themselves to show off their bodies.

Then comes the marriage. Mr. Bauer draws names to match up the pairs. Generally, there’s just a simple piece of cheesecloth placed over the head of the bride. With an interested reporter coming for a photo, Mr. Bauer went a little further this year. The cheesecloth, of course, but also a bouquet, a justice of the peace, a wedding party and music from Mr. Bauer’s mouth.

On Monday, the new couples got down to work. They filled out Punnett Squares—diagrams used to map out genetic outcomes from breeding—to determine the characteristics of their two children.

Once more, the couples turn to their artistic abilities and draw pictures of their future children.

Finally, the couples take turns at the head of the class to talk about their families.

Mr. Bauer doesn’t always leave in-service sessions and conferences with good, ready-to-use ideas to take back to the classroom. That wasn’t the case when he picked up the idea for what he calls the Genetic Family Project.

“It’s the best project I’ve ever gotten from a conference,” he said. “This is one of those projects where you have very few discipline problems because the kids really get into it.”

Aside from the scientific principles demonstrated, the project also has its practical side.

“It shows how brothers and sisters can have some traits they share and others they don’t share,” Mr. Bauer said.

A blonde brother, a brunette sister. One with green eyes, another with brown. It all begins to make sense.

And about that classroom wedding.…

“They can all get an annulment if they wish,” Mr. Bauer said.

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