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.

Morenci's Palm Plastics project on track 12.24.08

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

In the midst of worsening economic conditions, there’s one bright spot, right in Morenci: Palm Plastics.

The pieces are falling into place, said David Munson of Munson Development Company. Munson also puts in some time each week at the Palm Plastics facility, serving as Director of Corporate Affairs.

“I’m really excited about that and proud to be part of Palm Plastics,” he said.

There were three major steps remaining before construction, Munson said, and one of those was completed Monday.

“We’ve been waiting on the grant process since the project was announced in October,” he said.

Signed documents arrived last week from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and they were signed by Morenci mayor Doug Erskin Friday.

The $2.9 million CDBG is a contract between the state and the city. A signature by Palm Plastics officials Monday completed that step of the project, with the company formally acknowledging its role in job creation and in the building project.

A state representative will come to Morenci in January to go through details of the funding package.

The second step in the project is obtaining an energy contract to provide adequate electricity to operated the new presses on order.

Munson said the company is very close to reaching an agreement for additional power.

The existing production at Palm Plastics requires about 3 megavolt amps (MVA), but additional equipment coming to the plant will increase the need to 5 MVA. The new plant to be constructed will initially require another 4 MVA and eventually 6 MVA.

The final step is to find a developer to construct the new facility in Morenci’s industrial park and lease the building to Palm Plastics.

“We think we’ve done really well with a developer/builder,” Munson said. “We’re impressed with the expertise of the company.”

An agreement for construction won’t come before the energy pact is signed, but Munson expects all agreements to be in order in early January.

“We’re right where we want to be early in the construction season,” he said, expecting ground-breaking to occur in the spring.

The Fayette Business Park (former Fayette Tubular Products) is playing an essential role in the project, Munson explained. More than 50 jobs have opened there, allowing production to increase before Palm’s new facility is constructed.

Palm has made upgrades to the Fayette building that will make the facility more attractive for development in the future.

“In a tough economy, I think we’ve found all the pieces,” Munson said. “It’s very exciting. There’s not a lot of good news on the economic front and it’s great to have it here in Morenci.”

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