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 city council: parking lots 02.17.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council heard plenty of response to a proposed rebuild of two parking lots, and few very of them supported the project.

Facing a Feb. 22 deadline for submission of an application for grant money, council will meet in another special session at 8 a.m. Thursday to make a final decision about the proposal.

Scott Merillat of Associated Engineers reviewed five proposals with various parking layouts. Each call for additional curbing and each include small concrete “islands” for shrubs, trees or other plantings.

Merillat expressed concerns about the narrow width of Baker and Orchard streets. Police chief Larry Weeks also talked about safety issues on the narrow streets and wondered if one-way traffic would be needed if the streets were curbed but not widened.

Mayor Keith Pennington noted that if the city obtained the grant, 80 percent of each dollar spent would come through the grant. This, he said, might make encourage council to overcome some obstacles, such as widening Baker Street.

He said his main concern for the rebuild would be to create traffic patterns that are safe for both drivers and pedestrians.

“I want everybody to be thinking that there are solutions beyond what’s here now,” he said.

Concerns were expressed about reducing the area of the parking lot that the fire department uses for training and maintenance; about the closure of a private drive north of city hall; about the difficulty for trucks to make deliveries at the back doors of businesses; about the addition of sidewalks behind businesses;

About a plan to have parking spaces up against the back of businesses; about the difficulty of maintaining green areas; about the lack of parking spaces for election days; about green space along the back of businesses; about trees and shrubs blocking vision for drivers; about the possibility of people throwing trash inside the proposed Dumpster containment areas, and other concerns.

Concern about snow removal was mentioned, but city superintendent Barney Vanderpool responded by saying that his crew could work around anything.

Planning commission member Brenda Spiess was one of few people in the audience of 25 people who appreciated the open spaces and addition of greenery to the parking area.

“If we’re going to attract new businesses to Morenci and keep our downtown vibrant, aesthetics are very important,” she said. “Right now, this is an eyesore out here and it could be welcoming.”

Colleen Leddy suggested starting with the assumption that it’s important to incorporate beautification and then work toward making it happen.

Jacob Barnes, the city’s zoning administrator, also agreed that greenery is an important aspect for attracting businesses and customers.

Mayor Pennington thanked the audience for their attendance.

“You have raised very valid concerns,” he said, but added that he doesn’t want to allow the funding opportunity to pass by.

“We’ve never seen this kind of grant before,” he said.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said it’s very rare to find a grant opportunity that would address parking areas.

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