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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A simple matter of digestion 2009.05.13

Written by David Green.


It’s all very alimentary, my dear. bauer.digestion.jpg

It’s starts at the mouth and it ends...well, somewhere else down the line.

Jim Bauer’s eighth grade science class at Morenci Middle School was about to act out the story of digestion Wednesday morning when they hit a couple of last-minute glitches.

The large intestine was absent; the anus had been suspended. A few students were calling for a delay—more time to study—but Mr. Bauer would have none of that.

He noted that the media was present and, with a couple of adjustments, the show would go on.

A new anus was assigned, the small intestine support group was shifted and the players took their parts behind a table at the front of the room. The table was empty but for a large bowl of popcorn.

Mr. Bauer had a question for the liver and pancreas, who stood off to the side.

“Why aren’t you with the others?”

The liver comes through with the correct answer: They aren’t actually part of the digestive system, but they produce substances to help with digestion.

The Mouth kicks off the trip through the alimentary canal, explaining that the enzyme amylase found in saliva starts to break down starches in food.

She pours a container of spit into the bowl—actually it was water representing saliva—and mixes it around.

Good start, Mr. Bauer says, but does food really look like that after it’s been chewed?

The Mouth goes to work on the popcorn, crushing it with her fingers to create a soppy mixture.

Next comes the Esophagus, the muscular tube connecting the mouth and the stomach. It’s lined with mucus to help the food slide down more easily. There’s also the epiglottis to close off the windpipe (trachea) to prevent food from sliding down that tube. Muscular contractions (peristalsis) move the food along its way.

“Is it possible to eat upside down?” Mr. Bauer asks.

The answer is “yes.”

The Esophagus is pleased that she isn’t required to touch the chewed popcorn. She merely passes the bowl on to the Stomach.

This is where most mechanical changes take place with the food. The Stomach adds a beaker of pepsin to the mix, along with hydrochloric acid to help the pepsin work and to kill off the bacteria. Proteins are turning to amino acids, and spectators are looking at the unappetizing mess that was recently popcorn.

The Stomach sloshes the mixture around and hands the bowl off to the Small Intestine, an organ measuring about six meters in length. If all the villi—tiny finger-like projections—were spread out, they would cover an area about the size of a tennis court.

In comes bile from the liver, and trypsin, lipase and amylase from the pancreas. The intestine creates its own peptidase and multase to further break down proteins and sugars.

A little more mixing and off the disgusting mishmash goes to the Large Intestine (about one and a half meters long). Nutrients and proteins have been absorbed into the bloodstream by this time. The Intestine uses his hands to compact the substance and squeeze out the liquid.

There’s nothing left but passage through the Anus.

“Could you give us your best anus imitation?” Mr. Bauer asks Cody Powell.

He does and the show is over. The amazing trip through the digestive system has ended. Students will soon be off to the cafeteria to apply their classroom knowledge to a real-life situation.

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