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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Fayette council discusses pool fences 9.2.09

Written by David Green.


There wasn’t much support heard at a public hearing Thursday in Fayette for keeping the ordinance requiring fences around swimming pools.

Fayette village council members voted 4-1 on July 23 to repeal the requirement, but a public hearing was required before moving forward.

Village administrator Amy Metz read a letter from Pauline Jones urging council to leave the ordinance in place. Jones said the council members who originally passed the ordinance had their focus on the safety of the children of the town.

Tom Rupp, a former council and zoning board member, said repealing the law would be a disservice to the community. He said laws are made for the well-being of citizens and removing this law could lead to the loss of a child’s life. Rupp said some children aren’t old enough to know better.

“Where are their parents?” asked acting mayor Craig Rower. “It’s not my responsibility. If it’s so important, why doesn’t the State of Ohio have it on their books?”

Rower added that the federal and state constitutions supersede any local laws.

Council member Julia Ruger questioned why the village would want to take the responsibility for trying to keep uninvited guests out of people’s yards. A fence might provide peace of mind, but people can still get in your pool if they want, she said.

“As a home owner, you’re responsible for what happens on your property,” said  council president Ruth Marlatt.

She acknowledged that many insurance companies require their insureds to erect a fence around a pool, but not everyone informs their insurer that they have a pool.

Marlatt cast the only vote July 23 against repealing the ordinance.

Planning commission member Rodney Kessler noted that several area communities don’t have fence requirements and councilor Mike Maginn turned the responsibility back on the parents.

“Where are the parents of these kids?” he asked. “It’s not the village’s responsibility.”

Council member Jerry Gonzales repeated a statement he’s made in previous discussions: “What good is it to have a law if it isn’t enforced?”

Council member Paul Schaffer said the ordinance is a liability to the village if it isn’t enforced.

Police chief Jason Simon said he’s never cited anyone for not having a fence, but he’s spoken with a couple property owners about the issue and they put a fence up.

“We need to prevent access to pools,” he said. “If you don’t want this stuff, don’t move into town. It’s zoned.”

Chief Simon said he only learned recently that he could issue citations for the lack of a fence.

“If I’d known, believe me I would have,” he said.

Village administrator Amy Metz said she was advised by the village’s attorney that liability is not a concern for the village government. If a person uses a pool uninvited, they could be charged with trespassing. The village’s liability insurer confirmed that opinion.

“As a Village, we’re here to protect the health and welfare of the community as a whole,” she said.

Shaffer said he would consider a new ordinance that clarified the issue better.

“And I’d have to be sure that it will be strictly enforced,” he added.

Gonzales still sees the issue as infringing on personal rights,

“Don’t pass laws governing other people’s lives,” he said.

In the regular council meeting after the hearing, councilors heard the first of three readings to repeal the law. With only one council meeting scheduled in September, the measure is on track for a final vote Oct. 8.

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