Morenci city council 02.03.10

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Local job growth is a priority for Morenci mayor Keith Pennington, and he urged city council members Jan. 25 to keep the thought in their minds, as well.

Pennington spoke of the ramifications of the new BioDri plant scheduled to open in Blissfield by the middle of this year. He said the benefits of the new business will extend beyond Blissfield.

“We need to keep abreast of the project and think about any ancillary business to support it,” he said. “It’s a large enough project that it will impact us all.”

The BioDri facility will separate the components of liquids, solids and gases. For example, grease could be processed for use as biofuel feedstock, and the company is expected to furnish a product for the NextDiesel plant in Adrian.

Pennington said he met recently with the leaders of all Morenci industries to learn of challenges facing them. He noted that the success of each local industry benefits everyone in the community, not just those who are employed at the businesses.

Pennington said that he and city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder recently met with Consumers Energy representatives to talk about increasing electrical capacity to the city’s industrial park.

He said the city needs to think ahead about attracting business and not wait until a prospective customer arrives.

“I’m not saying that we can do anything about it,” he said, “but at least we’re working on it.”

He’s awaiting proposals from Consumers about increased power and about energy-efficient street lighting.

Schroeder told council about a state program called Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement (ICE) that will be funded through the Community Development Block Grant program. Morenci is among the communities eligible to apply for funding.

Schroeder said she will work with the city’s engineering firm to obtain estimates of costs to repair the city’s parking lot across from city hall to the east.

The lot is in need of an upgrade which is already planned in the current budget. With the grant, however, estimates will also be made for the larger lot behind city hall.

After costs are estimated, the city’s share of the project price would be determined.

“Our match could come in less than what we were going to spend on doing just the east lot,” Schroeder said.

Any water and sewer work needed in the area could also be included in the project.

BUDGET—Pennington urged department heads to monitor spending. At this time, he said, about 60 percent of budgeted funds should have been spent.

SENECA—Election inspectors were approved for the Feb. 23 special election in Seneca Township that Morenci will oversee.

Dorothy McDowell will serve as chair, assisted by Doris Collar, Joyce Woerner, Stephanie Mossing and Renée Schroeder. The township will reimburse the city for its costs.

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.

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