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 city council relaxes rental inspection requirement 1.14.09

Written by David Green.

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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