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.

Seneca Twp. board 11.18.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

A Seneca Township child care facility now has a fenced-in area to conform with a state directive, but the issue was still discussed at the Nov. 9 Seneca board of trustees meeting.

Weston Road resident Dayna Cordts told board members that she was visited by a representative from the Michigan Department of Human Services and was told to construct a fenced six-foot by 10-foot area for the safety of toddlers, since her day care group home is located near Weston Road.

She chose to make it larger and created an eight-foot by 24-foot play area behind her house.

“I have no toddlers right now so I don’t know if it’s even going to be used,” Cordts said.

Township clerk Allison Ott questioned whether the space was large enough for 12 children, but Cordts said it was only for toddlers and the state agency does not require her to have a fence for 12 children.

Ott brought up the issue that has challenged the board for several meetings: The township ordinance book requires a 5,000 square foot play area “screened from any adjoining lot” for child care facilities.

Cordts pointed out as she has in the past that the ordinance does not mention the classification of her facility—a day care group home. She also reminded trustees that the ordinance does not use the word “fence” in regard to child care facilities, but the word was used in her permit.

Township supervisor John Gould told the board that state licensing officials will not enforce a township ordinance. Cordts has a valid special use permit to operate a child care facility on residentially zoned land, he said, and only the township board or circuit court will enforce that.

Gould said that at least four of the five planning commission members who approved the permit would like to have the wording changed to omit the fence requirement listed in the permit. The original permit issued in 2008 included the fence requirement from the ordinance, and when a second permit was issued last summer, the wording from the first permit was used again with the fence requirement listed. It was the commission’s understanding that a fence would not be included on the permit wording, Gould said.

Ott stated that the planning commission does not have the authority to alter the permit.

“Does a motion have to be made to leave me alone?” Cordts asked.

Ott said there’s still the issue of whether the special use permit was issued correctly or incorrectly.

Ott made a motion to have township attorney Dan Bruggeman take the matter to circuit court to have a disinterested party make a judgment on the permit.

Chris White, who serves on both the township board and the planning commission, suggested the commission needs to consider whether the permit is worded as they expected it to be.

He said it’s clear to him that the ordinance does not apply to Cordts because it doesn’t mention a day care group home.

White said he signed the permit incorrectly since it included the word “fence.”

“I think the planning commission needs to take it back and make it like it was intended,” White said. “I’m not sure we want to go to court on something we don’t have the language for.”

The planning commission is scheduled to meet Dec. 7.

When the motion to involve circuit court came up for a vote, only Ott and Marie Meinke voted in favor.

Cordts said Monday she intends to deliver petitions to the county clerk’s office this week in an effort to recall Ott and Meinke. If the signatures are verified, a special election could be scheduled in February at the earliest.

TAX PAYMENTS—The board voted to accept an offer from First Federal Bank to accept township tax payments. The free service will begin with the winter taxes.

Taxes can still be paid at the township hall during specified hours or mailed to Meinke, the treasurer. A new mail slot will also be constructed at the township hall for residents to use. Russ Swett was hired to install the slot at a cost of $190.

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