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 planning commission 10.17.2009

Written by David Green.

Morenci planning commission members returned to an old issue Monday night: a drainage problem at Whitman Crossings apartments on W. Coomer Street.

Commissioners are expected to continue discussion at the Oct. 19 meeting.

A letter from the Lenawee County Drain Commission written in March called for the addition of an outlet drain due to standing water in the retention ponds. An outlet to the north was recommended, with easement needed from the city and one other property owner.

Until last month, the planning commission last met in February, city clerk/administrator Renée Schroeder said. For the meeting Sept. 21, she gave members a letter from the PCI Design Group—the engineering firm employed by WODA, owner of Whitman Crossings—that responded to the drain commission’s review.

Douglas Weatherby of PCI wrote that since the apartment complex’s three retention basins are interconnected, all three would need to fill with water in order to create a problem.

Weatherby said that all three ponds were “basically dry” on Sept. 20. He said that WODA would prefer not to install an outlet pipe “until it has been proven that it is necessary.”

Planning commission chair Matt Wozniak was surprised by that report.

“Yes, it’s dry right now because we’ve had a very dry season, but last year it held water when we had a wet season,” he said.

Wozniak suggested standing by the drain commission’s recommendation. Commissioners voted to send PCI’s letter to the drain commission for review.

Since then, engineer David Mitchell of the drain commission office responded with a letter suggesting that the city begin logging the ponds after every weather event that exceeds an inch of precipitation. A city employee should check to see how long the ponds take to become completely dry again.

“This office recommends that water not stand in the basins longer than two days after a storm since this leads to vegetation drying, mosquitoes forming a habitat and other health concerns.”

PLANNERS—Wozniak brought up the issue of disbanding the planning commission, as suggested by a city council member. A suggestion was made that council members could handle the duties of the commission.

City attorney Fred Lucas examined state law and determined that either a planning commission or zoning board must be in existence, Schroeder said. The Zoning Board of Appeals is not the same as a zoning board, she added.

The planning commission made a budget request of $10,000 for an update of the city’s outdated master plan. Schroeder explained that the city was recovering from a deficit and council wasn’t willing to spend that much money on something that wasn’t essential at the time.

An updated master plan is important, she said, because grant applications often ask if the city has one.

She said the city’s commercial zoning inspector Jacob Barnes has written master plans and he would be willing to speak with commissioners about what needs to be done. Guidance is needed, Wozniak said.

Schroeder said she would add the topic of disbanding the planning commission on the next council agenda for discussion.

CHARTER—Schroeder mentioned the need for updating the City Charter, something that hasn’t been done since the 1950s.

She said the process requires a nine-person panel made up of citizens not currently serving on any existing government boards.

Proposed changes must be approved by a vote of the people.

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