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.
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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.
  • 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.
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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).
  • 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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Mending a broken heart

Written by David Green.


It was Dec. 31, 1999. The world was on the brink of a new millennium, and, like most people, Wauseon residents Deb and Richard Gleckler were celebrating.

They had just returned home from dinner and were preparing to attend a gathering at Richard’s brother’s house when Deb, who grew up east of Morenci, complained that her acid reflux disease was especially bad.

“I’ve always had acid reflux, sometimes with pain I’d call ‘searing,’” she said, “but this was way more intense than usual, to the point where I thought I needed to go to the hospital.”

She collapsed during the car ride to the emergency room.

She awoke a helicopter ride and six days later in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo.

At the age of 44, Deb, who had previously considered herself in good health, suffered a massive heart attack—one so severe that doctors immediately placed her atop the list of people in need of a heart transplant.

“My kids kept telling me when I finally came to that I was not Y2K compliant,” she said.heart-lady

The heart Deb was born with continues to tick. As the weeks passed, her condition improved and she fell further and further down the list. Currently, she is not on the list at all, but it won’t stay that way forever. Her heart continues to weaken.

Deb suffers from congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump blood out as quickly as it pumps it in. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart failure is a chronic condition that gradually becomes worse, and that by the time it’s diagnosed, the patient’s heart has probably been losing pumping capacity for his or her entire life.

The disease is caused and exacerbated by a variety of factors, such as birth defects, genetic risks, high blood pressure or cholesterol, poor nutrition, and smoking.

Deb smoked at the time of her heart attack, but thinks genetics were the ultimate cause—her father, Arlington Frantz, suffered a heart attack at the relatively young age of 50, but didn’t survive.

Nevertheless, she hasn’t smoked a cigarette since her attack—quitting smoking was just one of the many lifestyle changes she has made since learning of her condition.

REHABILITATION—Rehabilitation began days after she was moved from the intensive care unit, as nurses pulled her to her feet with instructions to climb stairwells and walk up and down hallways.

After her discharge from the hospital, she was assigned to a rehabilitation program at the Fulton County Medical Center. As a mother who had raised four girls and ran her own flower shop, Deb wasn’t used to feeling so feeble. At first, she lasted only two or three minutes on the exercise bike and treadmill.

It was hard to keep from falling into depression, which is something many heart attack survivors experience, she said.

One casualty of the heart attack was Deb’s flower shop, “The Flower Lady,” which the Glecklers closed during the rehabilitation process. As she got better, they made an attempt to reopen but it didn’t work out.

“It became very apparent very quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, for reasons of stress and other things,” she said.

“I lost the whole person I was before,” she said. “I can’t run around and do everything I want to do.”

Doctors have instructed her to stay in during periods of extreme weather, like the cold spell earlier this month. Performing normal yardwork like shoveling snow and lugging mulch is also out of the question.

“It’s almost like a grief at losing someone,” she continued.

“To this day, I can’t walk on the treadmill at an inclined angle.”

DIET—As a country girl raised on beef and mashed potatoes, the switch to more healthful eating habits was also difficult.

She attended classes about maintaining low cholesterol, low blood pressure, and a proper diet, and began eating more fish, chicken and fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Canned and  processed foods contain a lot of preservatives, especially salt,” she said.

The Glecklers don’t put salt on any foods anymore—not even mashed potatoes. Cheese and sour cream are absent from baked potatoes.

The family’s barbecue grill has also seen a lot more action since the attack.

“It’s much more healthy to grill foods than to pan fry them. I don’t eat anything fried at all,” Deb said.

Occasionally, she’ll indulge in a few chips, but will only eat, at most, half the serving size suggested on the back of the package.

EXERCISE—She complements her diet with daily exercise—a mile walk on the treadmill, plus twice-weekly visits to the Fulton County Health Center’s heart rehabilitation center, where she does strength and cardiovascular exercises with a group of men who also suffer from heart health issues.

But where are all the women?

According to an AHA fact sheet, women are more likely to die from their first heart attack than men are. The AHA attributes this to a variety of factors—heart disease is often misdiagnosed in women; women usually suffer attacks later in life, so they’re more likely to have conditions that could mask the attack, such as osteoporosis and arthritis; women are more likely to complain of atypical pains when suffering attacks rather than “classic” chest pains.

EDUCATE—As soon as she was healthy enough to do so, Deb began participating in events aimed to raise consciousness about the risks of heart disease in women, and of the disease’s general risks. It is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, according to the AHA.

The first event she attended, a 2001 5K walk in Toledo, was a milestone for her rehabilitation.

“Not many rehab people participate because they aren’t able to,” she said. “I was glad I could get out there and do the walk.”

At first, she walked alone. Then one of her daughters joined her. Then another. Now a good portion of her extended family—four children and their spouses, along with six grandchildren—participate in walks for heart health all over Ohio. Deb has also spoken to members of her church about her condition.

“We’ll go out and do anything to promote heart health,” she said. “Education is the biggest thing.”

THE FUTURE—Patients who suffer congestive heart failure are typically given  five years to live after the attack episode, Deb said.

Now, in year seven of her rehabilitation, she remains aware, enthusiastic and mobile, well enough to work a part-time job at “Anything Grows” and babysit her six grandchildren.

“Every single day I’m alive and with my family and my church community is a gift from God,” she said. “After all, he is the one in control of when it’s time for me to go.”

She doesn’t plan on ever reaching the level of fitness she enjoyed before the heart attack—her heart only beats with about half the efficiency of a healthy one, and will continue to get worse.

However, she said, it’s important not to live by such numbers and to continue to focus on staying healthy.

“Eventually, my heart will get to a point where I have to go back on the [transplant] list and we will cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said, “but there is nothing I can do about it now except for what I am doing.”

• The AHA is conducting its Go Red for Women campaign this month, stressing the importance of heart disease awareness among women. Two Sundays ago, women were encouraged to wear red to their church services as a show of support.

    -February 21, 2007 

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