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.

Morenci city council changes insurer 12.12

Written by David Green.

City council members voted Monday to save a lot of cash by changing liability insurance providers. Department heads are hoping they still have the same coverage.

Making the switch from the Michigan Municipal League (MML) insurance plan to one provided by Berends, Hendricks and Stuit Insurance Agency will save the city $7,000 in each of the next three years.

Additional savings could be realized due to the $250 deductible cost in collision insurance compared to $1,000 from MML. The city’s claims for collision coverage are generally below $1,000, said city clerk/administrator Renée Schroeder.

A year ago, the city paid $47,000 to MML for liability insurance coverage. This year’s bid came in at $39,800. Berends, Hendricks and Stuit (BHS), based in Grandville, Mich., gave a bid of $32,800 and guaranteed that rate for three years if the city wishes to renew the contract.

“The last time we went with someone else, it was a big pain for me,” said fire chief Chad Schisler.

Schroeder knew he would be concerned about allowing children to ride on fire trucks during parades, but she checked that issue with BHS and learned it wouldn’t be a problem.

BHS was also aware that Morenci provides coverage in a portion of Ohio, but that was acceptable to them, also.

Police chief Larry Weeks said that he also has concerns about leaving MML because he would be leaving behind valuable resources the company offers.

Weeks said the company has a person on staff who is very familiar with law enforcement issues. Weeks has obtained assistance with policy questions, employee-related concerns and civil liability issues.

Schroeder said BHS also has a support person on staff. She acknowledged a “comfort level” with Michigan Municipal League, also, but after reviewing the BHS proposal, she’s expecting comparable service.

“For the cost savings, I think it’s worth a try,” she said.

“I realize we need to save money,” Chief Weeks said. “I just want council to understand what we’re receiving now.”

Schisler was also concerned about replacement cost coverage on city equipment, noting that the cost of purchasing a new fire truck far exceeds the prices paid in the past for the existing fleet of vehicles.

Schroeder said BHS offers the same replacement costs as MML: for fire trucks  only and not other city equipment.

With councilors Keith Pennington and Jason Bryant absent, council members vote 5-0 to accept a one-year contract with Berends, Hendricks and Stuit.

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