Bikes on sidewalks discussed at council meeting 9.26

Written by David Green.

Morenci police chief Larry Weeks told an audience at Monday’s city council meeting that he’s heard about problems with bicyclists on downtown sidewalks ever since he arrived here five years ago.

Reaching a solution isn’t an easy thing for him and for many residents with whom he’s spoken.

“I’m not comfortable confronting an eight-year-old child and saying, ‘Get off the bike or I’ll ticket.’”

At the same time, he said, he hesitates to force young bicyclists into the downtown street traffic.

It’s not eight-year-olds that are the problem, an audience member answered during a question-and-answer session.

Laws should be enforced equally, Weeks said, noting that being struck by a bicycle can cause an injury no matter how old the rider.

Resident Doug Erskin said he’s witnessed teenage bike operators doing tricks on downtown sidewalks and damaging the decorative flowerpots.

He said he spoke to a police officer, but didn’t see any action taken.

Chief Weeks he said hasn’t made enforcement of the ordinance a priority, but his department can take a more proactive approach if that’s what council wants.

He said he believes he has some discretion in enforcing ordinances. Resources are people, he said, and he will have to shift priorities to increase sidewalk patrolling.

Due to budget cutbacks, Weeks said, his department has fewer officers than five years ago and can’t do what he believes to be proper drug surveillance.

“There’s a give and take to everything we do,” he said.

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    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    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.
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  • 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.
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    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.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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