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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • 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.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • 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.

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