Morenci city council 5.14

Written by David Green.

Two new members and a new mayor have joined Morenci city council since last summer—the last time a vote came up for an alcohol permit at a Wakefield Park softball tournament.

The new makeup of council members led to a different voting outcome than in the past and three requests for permits were turned down Monday night.

In the past, Dick Hewitt and Keith Pennington cast the only votes opposing an alcohol permit. This time around, they were joined by Greg Braun, Art Erbskorn and mayor Doug Erskin. Only Tracy Schell and Leesa Slocum supported the request.

A permit allows the consumption of alcohol within a defined area beyond the outfield fence. Without the permit, consumption is not allowed in the park.

Pennington noted that he always opposes requests for the permit and since there are new members on council, he chose to explain his position.

“The city really needs to take leadership for the benefit of the health, safety and welfare of our citizens,” he said. “I think it’s wrong to promote the use of alcohol at the park. It buys into the marketing scheme that you have to have alcohol in order to have fun.”

Pennington added that he thinks the misuse of alcohol is one of the greatest detriments facing the country, noting that it often leads to traffic fatalities, abuse, family problems and other outcomes.

Schell confirmed with police chief Larry Weeks that no incidents have occurred at the park since the permit system started in March 2005.

Earlier in the meeting, council members gave their support by a 6-1 vote for a state-wide smoking ban in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said she and other city leaders were asked for their opinion on the issue last week when they met with State Sen. Cameron Brown.

Legislators are coming closer to approving a ban and the governor has said she would sign a no-smoking bill.

After a motion was offered by Pennington for council’s support of the ban, Schell said that she wouldn’t want her name on the letter.

“I don’t feel that it should be legislated,” she said. “I would love to see no smoking, but I would like to see people take their own responsibility.”

Slocum stated she didn’t expect that to happen without legislation.

Mayor Erskin said he’s heard favorable reports from Ohio’s ban and he’s been told that some establishments have reported an increase in sales since the ban took effect.

Schell was the only councilor to oppose Morenci’s support of the measure.

  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017