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.

John Skelton pleas 'no contest' 2011.08.03

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A Morenci man will be sentenced Sept. 15 after pleading “no contest” last week to charges of unlawful imprisonment of his three sons.

John Skelton appeared Thursday morning in Lenawee County Circuit Court and entered a “no contest” plea in an agreement that dismisses the kidnapping charges and instead focuses only on the unlawful imprisonment of his three young sons, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner. The plea also ended the prospect of a trial that Skelton would have faced this week.

Judge Margaret Noe accepted the plea and told attorneys present that she would enter a finding of guilt.

Judge Noe stated that Skelton secretly restrained the boys and confined them in concealment.

“The location of these three children has been and continues to be a secret,” she said.

Skelton will be sentenced to prison for a period of up to 15 years for each child, however, the sentences are served concurrently. Sentencing guidelines will be used in determining his time in prison and will likely result in fewer than 15 years, said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks.

In a press release written in cooperation with prosecuting attorney Jonathan Poer, Weeks stated that the plea agreement was entered with the support of Skelton’s former wife, Tanya Zuvers, and her family.

“We believe the plea agreement in this case represents what a jury would likely have concluded based upon the facts and evidence as currently developed,” Weeks said, adding that the plea does not interfere with the ongoing investigation.

“We consider this just one more step toward everyone’s goal of fully resolving this case.”

• We apologize for the brief account of this important story. A power outage, the next-door demolition project, no internet service due to a phone line cut in the demolition and other challenges have left us short of time.

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