2008.06.18 Bob Ford

Written by David Green.

I am writing to clear up some misconceptions that may have been created by last week’s article regarding softball in Morenci. I appreciate the time and effort that past and present council members have given to our city. We know that not every decision will please everyone. The only guilt I carry in this matter is I voted for some of the current council members.

I am a city employee only to organize a Friday night league. In past years I was paid $1,250 from April-August, not out of taxpayer money but through the money generated by Friday night leagues, and the profit went to the city after paying expenses. I am not paid by the city to run softball tournaments; these are created through the Softball Association. I organize them because I enjoy being around people. The Friday night league didn’t materialize this year due to lack of interest and hard economic times.

I have lived here all my life and have always assumed softball tournaments were a good thing for the city and businesses...up until this year. The council has given me a new perspective: that the consumption of alcohol at softball events is an unfavorable influence on our young people.

I would like to apologize to the Festival committee and Sue Snyder for the short notice of pulling the tournament. After 20+ years of organizing softball events I know what softball players want, and being told they can’t do something that has been allowed in the past, isn’t it. I am aware of the amount of planning that goes into the Festival. A softball tournament also requires a lot of planning and mine would have been wasted for lack of participation.

Mayor Erskin stated he tried to contact me. If he didn’t leave a message, I don’t have mental telepathy. Renée Schroeder called and e-mailed me twice, I answered each time. Mayor Erskin also stated that my job is to bring softball tournaments to Morenci. My only job was to bring a Friday night league to Morenci. This didn’t happen so I ceased to be employed by the city of Morenci. It is my choice to choose to run softball tournaments for the city or not, such as the Town & Country Festival (which I have agreed to do in the past), but the other tournaments I decide who gets the profits. In the past we have donated to high school baseball, high school drama club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, Little League, the library and playscape.

I have been a player, umpire, spectator, tournament director in and around Lenawee County for over 25 years and Morenci has never had a problem with unruly ballplayers even before there was a designated drinking area.

Mayor Erskin stated there were no opposing views presented when the alcohol permits were brought before them...not true. Tracy Schell and Sue Snyder spoke of their disagreement. I could not attend council meetings due to a scheduling conflict.

The council’s first excuse was, “Let’s set a good example.” Since that didn’t work, now they’re using their insurance carrier as a scapegoat. What else will they deem dangerous? The skate park, playscape, bike track, Little League fields, tomatoes?

I’m not for drinking, I don’t even drink, but I am in favor of people being allowed to make their own choices. When they choose to break the law at the park, they pay the consequences by receiving a ticket. This choice to break a law could be made anywhere in the city at other business establishments and they will be ticketed.

Fayette has been very receptive to our softball tournaments in the past and the present. They appreciate it and look forward to more. I would have have loved to generate income for Morenci businesses. In the past, Fayette and Morenci have benefitted; City Council has closed the door to Morenci.

In closing, I would like to thank Renée Schroeder, the police department and former council members for supporting softball.

– Bob  Ford

Burley St., Morenci

 

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.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.

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