Dick Hewitt resigning from Morenci council 9.10

Written by David Green.

Morenci city council will soon be in need of a new member due to the impending resignation of Dick Hewitt.

Hewitt was first elected to council in 2003. Although his current term doesn’t expire until 2011, his replacement will serve only until the general election in 2009. At that time, a replacement will be elected to complete Hewitt’s term in office.

Although Hewitt has two more meetings before leaving, Morenci mayor Doug Erskin wasted no time in praising the councilor.

“You’re going to be very much missed, not only by council but also by residents,” Erskin said.

He told Hewitt he has appreciated his level-headed approach to issues and valued his opinions.

Hewitt will soon retire from his job and will no longer be in the city the entire year.

AFC RESIDENTS—Police chief Larry Weeks appraised council members on his department’s response to calls from local adult foster care homes.

Weeks noted that AFC homes have gone beyond the traditional care of elderly people and now have several residents with mental problems.

Weeks said that several years ago many of the state’s mental health residential facilities were closed. Subsequently, many residents ended up in prison. Now, with the number of prisons being reduced, many people with mental problems are without a place to go and several end up at AFC homes.

“There’s a huge hole in the system and there are not too many places for people to go,” Weeks said.

He urged community members to be somewhat tolerant of these issues, but he realizes that people are experiencing problems, such as being asked for money and being harassed in stores.

Arresting people for panhandling isn’t a good solution, he said, because their case probably won’t be prosecuted if they’re mentally ill.

He told council that police will no longer respond to calls from AFC homes asking for help in controlling an individual.

“You can’t expect police to use force and restrain people in that situation,” he said.

If an AFC owner consciously admits a person with mental disabilities, then staff needs training to handle situations. Residents aren’t breaking a law, he said, and the police can’t detain them.

Council member Tracy Schell asked if an AFC home was responsible for a resident’s behavior outside the home. Weeks said that isn’t the case.

“Generally they can exist fine in the community, but if they’re causing a disturbance, we’ll have to prosecute,” he said. “Tolerance is needed in the community, but a line must be drawn.”

  • 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.grieders
    ONE-TWO PUNCH—Morenci’s Griffin Grieder saved his best for last, running his fastest time ever in the 110-meter high hurdles at the state finals Saturday in Grand Rapids to finish first in the state in Div. IV. His brother Luke, a junior (right), claimed the state runner-up spot. Bulldog junior Bailee Dominique placed seventh in the 100-meter dash.
  • Front.sidewalk
    MORENCI senior class president Mikayla Price leads the way Sunday afternoon from the Church of the Nazarene to the United Methodist Church for the baccalaureate ceremony. Later in the day, 39 members of the senior class received diplomas in the high school gymnasium.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017