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.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    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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