The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Council hears concerns about softball tournaments 6.11

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci Town and Country Festival committee members expect this year’s event to suffer without the draw of a softball tournament, and they know the loss will trickle down into the community.

“There will be an impact on businesses,” festival director Sue Snyder told council members Monday, “but my greatest concern is for the festival.”

After city council members voted 5-2 last month against issuing an alcohol permit for the tournament, the city’s softball director, Bob Ford, moved the festival tournament to Fayette.

The permit allows the consumption of alcohol in a specified area beyond the outfield fence.

The annual tournament brings not only team members to the festival, but also family and friends who spend time and money throughout the weekend.

“It brings people to the community who wouldn’t ordinarily come,” said committee member Michelle Bovee.

Snyder said a decrease in the sale of concessions will hurt the festival finances and vendors who experience of loss of income might not return to Morenci the next year.

“I don’t think it was necessary to pull the tournament,” said council member Tracy Schell. “I wish he would have tried it without alcohol.”

Mayor Doug Erskin said he would like to talk to Ford about his decision, but hasn’t been able to contact him. Ford’s job is to bring softball to Morenci, he said.

Ford is paid $1,250 a year to organize softball leagues and direct tournaments. The self-funded program is paid by the registration fees that teams pay to compete.

Councilor Keith Pennington pointed out that the city didn’t vote against softball. It was Ford’s decision to move the tournament.

Snyder said she doesn’t detect a lot of support for the festival from city council and she thinks a council member should attend festival committee meetings.

Snyder spoke of the frustration of planning for this year’s event over several months, only to have this happen just a few weeks before the festival begins.

“I just don’t understand why you had to change things that were working,” she said.

From her understanding, there have been no problems during the years that the alcohol permit system was used.

“It’s OK to have your personal views,” Snyder said, “but I don’t think it’s right to impose them on the whole city.”

Erskin said he made his decision based on the testimony presented at the council meeting and no opposing viewpoints were presented.

Pennington said the committee should look at the benefit of the festival to the community without promoting the use of alcohol in a public area. He believes it’s in the long-term interest of the community to avoid promoting alcohol as essential for softball games.

Erskin also mentioned the opposition to the alcohol permit by the city’s new insurance carrier.

“Our insurance carrier has strongly recommended that we don’t do this,” he said.

Nothing has happened in the past, but he would rather err on the side of caution.

Snyder pointed out that an insurance rider could be purchased to cover the tournament.

“You have our word that we’ll continue to try contacting Bob Ford and see if he’ll bring some games here,” Schell said.

Looking into the future, committee member Kori Christle said she hopes to see the tournament issue resolved for a success festival next year.

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