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.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • 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.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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