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.

2006.06.21 You dirty rat, you

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Whenever I read anything about what’s known as the “hygiene hypothesis” of allergies, I think about my son, Ben, and the carpenter ant incident.

Ben was sitting on the floor of the apartment above the Observer and I was washing dishes. I don’t know how old he was at the time. Young enough not to know better, unlike his father who was definitely old enough to know better.

I spotted a big, black carpenter ant crawling across the floor. I wonder what those things taste like, I said aloud. Ants and other insects are eaten in some cultures around the world. Around here they have to first be dipped in chocolate, preferably a good dark chocolate.

I wasn’t really suggesting that Ben eat the ant and I really didn’t expect him to try it. Well, maybe there was a chance that he would. He was an adventuresome kid who seemed to enjoy new challenges.

He did it and I couldn’t stop him. Once I saw him pick it up and I watched the hand move toward the mouth, I was curious to know what he thought about it.

And he’s never had allergies, rheumatoid arthritis or any other autoimmune diseases since that day.

There’s a new study out that supports the hygiene hypothesis—that dirty toddlers become healthy toddlers, or something like that.

The thing that’s caught researchers’ attention over the years is the observation that allergy and asthma rates are higher in the cleaner, industrialized regions of the world compared to less developed regions such as Africa.

Just typing that last sentence raises a red flag. Cleaner and industrialized? Maybe researchers need to look at how clean industrialized areas are. Isn’t there a dirty air/asthma connection?

But back to the theory. Youngsters who are allowed to mess around in the dirt—perhaps chew on the occasional ant—are less likely to be bothered by allergies. The argument is that exposure to the natural environment early on trains the body to respond properly to harmless microbes and pollen. The proper response is pretty much to ignore it and not get all worked up with sneezing and running nose, etc.

In other words, Western civilization has become too sterile. Not enough dirt.

That didn’t seem to be a problem for my kids. We never met industrialized cleanliness standards. We had a sandbox and pets. A little swimming pool flavored with grass clippings, bird droppings, dirt, food and whatever was tracked in. We made a lot of trips to Bean Creek. Lots of little injuries to allow the introduction of microbes.

There were days when the kids had to be hosed down in the yard before they could even enter the house. With a source of water and a yard that failed to meet the standards of Western civilization, there was never a shortage of mud.

The interesting thing about the new study is that it didn’t involve humans at all. It was all about rats. The lead scientist, from Duke University, was joined by his younger colleagues in collecting 58 wild rats, along with a few wild mice.

The rodents were killed and blood was extracted. Lab rats, who led a brief but clean life, were also knocked off and their blood was drawn. The blood samples were compared and the wild stuff showed much higher levels of antibodies that are produced in response to foreign particles.

The immune cells of the lab rats went crazy when stimulated by the scientists. They’d grown too cushy and any little thing set them off. The lab rat cells, on the other hand, didn’t seem to give a darn. It took a lot to get them going.

For his next project, the scientist intends to build a 50-foot artificial sewer. He wants to dump lab rats inside and see how they react to the real world of filth.

As usual, rats will take the fall for humans if everything goes right. Researchers hope to figure out the good filth of life and have kids eat that—and maybe throw in a few ants for seasoning.

– June 21, 2006

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016