Morenci Police Department to move 6.10.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The Morenci Police Department will soon move into new quarters in the city-owned building behind Wakefield Park.

City council approved Monday a motion to allow the police to move immediately into the vacant city building at 599 W. Chestnut St. The motion states that renovations will be considered at a later date.

Council member Keith Pennington was the only one to cast a “no” vote, stating that he was not in favor of moving quickly on the issue.

“I do firmly agree that the department needs more room,” he said, “but I’m not satisfied that we need to go down that road yet.”

The police will move into the front office space of the building, but no renovations are to be made yet because council members are also considering moving the recycling center to the location behind the park.

That would place all DPW services in a central location, councilor Tracy Schell said. In addition, she noted that all of the property surrounding the building is for city use, so she thought it made sense to include the former industrial building.

The structure has been leased to businesses since 1993 when NWD International moved in. The city was earning rental income of $2,000 a month until TNG Technologies closed last year. The building had also been viewed as a good location for an “incubator” building for a business starting up.

Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks said he’s noted weaknesses in police facilities since his arrival in Morenci.

The space to store evidence is subject to weather changes, he said, and there’s no facility for interrogations or for storage of gear. Overall, he said, the existing department doesn’t allow for traditional police services.

Weeks intends to partition a portion of the empty building to serve as a garage for police vehicles.

The move will open up more space at city hall. Building inspector Kevin Arquette literally works out of a closet, Weeks said.

FIRE SERVICE—The Chesterfield and Seneca township boards approved a 10 percent increase in fire protection services with the Morenci Fire Department, but Medina Township officials suggested a lower increase in trade for the township billing residents for fire runs.

The increase is the first in six years, Pennington noted. He said a meeting with the townships several weeks ago led him to believe there was agreement on the increase. The city set its budget accordingly.

Schell suggested offering the option of an annual base fee of $5,500, a first hour charge of $1,000 and a charge of $550 an hour for subsequent time spent on a call. She said the overall cost would probably end up much higher than the original proposal.

Only Greg Braun supported Schell’s amendment. Council voted to stay with the original motion for the 10 percent increase and it passed unanimously.

BMX—Council gave conditional approval for a new BMX track contract—contingent on completion of the contract form.

The track is on city property, but it’s operated by a non-profit organization. Will and Amanda Harsh have operated the track since its opening in 2000, but Will told council he resigned over the winter.

Felicia Burton will now be listed as president and Paul Burton will serve as secretary.

“They’ve been doing a good job with it,” Harsh said. “They’re good with the kids and their hearts are in the right place.”

EMS—The annual renewal of the special assessment district for EMS service was approved by council, with no increase in amount charged.

  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
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    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
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    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
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    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
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    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • 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.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.
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