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.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.
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    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
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    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
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  • 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.
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