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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Morenci city council relaxes rental inspection requirement 1.14.09

Written by David Green.


When Morenci city council established a rental inspection program in 2005, the decision was made to require re-registration and inspection after three years.

The program is working well, councilor Keith Pennington said, but he asked council to consider extending the time frame to five years.

“We believe that five years would work out well instead of three,” he said at the meeting Monday.

Council approved the change unanimously.

Any existing rental units must be re-registered every five years after the initial signup.

For any housing converted to a rental unit, a registration application must be filed within 90 days of completing renovation. A rental unit cannot be  inhabited until inspected.

Council member Tracy Schell said she would vote in favor of the motion because a registration fee is charged.

“We’re forcing someone to do something and then making them pay for it,” she said, in explaining why she’d rather have a longer time frame.

Building inspector Kevin Arquette expressed concern about new landlords who might not be aware of the city’s regulations.

“There are a lot of properties changing hands now,” he said, and some of those homes might be converted into rental units.

TNG—Council members have discussed in recent meetings the delinquent rental payments from TNG Technologies, a company that leases the city building at the back of Wakefield Park.

“The city has been notified that they have closed the business,” Pennington said.

Back rent and late fees total $14,375, but council voted to forgive the late fees and charge only for the rental payments of $13,125.

PROPERTY—The sale of industrial park property to SBA Towers is now complete. The communications tower company suggested buying the property they now lease from the city.

The .24 acres parcel was sold for $69,000, minus credit for a lease payment already made.

REVIEW—So far two citizens have expressed interest in serving on the board of review. Dick Kelly and Al Acuña offered to join Chris Merillat and Sandy Wheeler on the property review board.

POLICE—Council agreed to open up negotiations with the police union to work on the contract that expires June 30, 2009.

If no amendments were made to the past contract, it was to automatically renew for one year. That covers the 2008-09 fiscal year during which time a new contract was never settled.

HANDGUNS—Police chief Larry Weeks told council about “a fairly drastic change” in handgun registration laws in Michigan.

In the past, he said, local police departments were responsible for receiving an application to purchase a gun, performing a background check on the buyer and inspect each weapon for safety.

The change only requires that a copy of the state purchase paperwork be sent to the police department.

Police agencies seldom went through with the safety inspection, Weeks said, since they didn’t want the liability of saying whether or not a gun was safe to fire.

However, the old procedure did allow the police to verify the serial number of the weapon.

PURCHASES—Schell suggested that council consider a procedure for allowing an emergency purchase without waiting for a council meeting.

The issue came to the front when a fire hydrant was found to be inoperable. Waiting for council’s approval to make a purchase greater than $1,000 (the amount department heads can spend without council approval) could result in a month delay.

A similar situation could arise if a police cruiser broke down or a sewer pump failed.

Council member Jason Cook said that common sense should prevail in those situations, with department heads making a decision to buy for the safety and welfare of the community.

“It’s something to consider for the future,” Schell said.

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