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.

Investigators continue sifting through tips 2010.12.22

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Not a day goes by that the Morenci Police Department fails to receive tips relating to the disappearance of Andrew, Alexander and Tanner Skelton.

Sometimes the call is about spotting three young brothers together. Other times it might be a person claiming to be a psychic or someone who had a dream or an astrologer with charts.

In all, the FBI, Michigan State Police and Morenci Police Department have received more than 900 contacts from people trying to help solve the case.

“We continue to get a variety of tips and some suspected sightings,” said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks. “Each of these tips is prioritized and throughly vetted. As of this time we have been unable to confirm that any of them are the Skelton boys.”

Weeks said a task force comprised of several members from the Michigan State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to work in support of the Morenci Police Department to assist with the investigation. FBI agents remain stationed in Morenci.

“Additional resources from each of these agencies have been and will continue to be called upon as needed to ensure that we swiftly respond to information as it develops,” Weeks said.

Police continue to seek any information about John Skelton’s blue 2000 Dodge Caravan, particularly early in the morning of Nov. 26. The tip line number remains 517/458-7104.

In court last week, Skelton said the children were given to a person belonging to “an organization,” but investigators have doubted information he has provided.

Reward

Chief Weeks announced earlier this month the establishment of a reward fund that was kicked off by an anonymous donor offering $10,000 for the return or recovery of the brothers.

At the Dec. 13 city council meeting, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington spoke about an effort to increase the fund.

“One way to get tips in is to offer a reward,” the mayor said. “The quickest way to find the boys is to have someone tell us where they are. I believe John knows where they are and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else had at least a good idea where they are.”

The mayor said that if the community can raise $5,000 for fireworks, then twice that amount should be forthcoming for the reward fund.

Pennington said the first donation for the fund arrived from employees at the Montpelier, Ohio, company Powers and Sons who collected $347.

“There may be people and organizations throughout the country that want to do something,” Pennington said. “This is something everyone can participate in.”

A three-person committee of law enforcement personnel will determine whether or not to award someone making a claim. Law enforcement personnel and anyone responsible for the disappearance or harm of the Skelton boys is prohibited from receiving the reward money.

A separate three-member committee will be created for the purpose of raising awareness about the refund, Pennington said, and for promoting fund-raising events.

Additional information is available on the city website (www.cityofmorenci.org).

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