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.

Palm Plastics back in operation 09.01.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Palm Plastics is back in operation in Morenci, as promised, and turning out thousands of radio frequency identification (RFID) plastic pallets.

Operations came to a halt in April and the plant was temporarily closed, but manufacturing was expected to return in 90 days. The facility was reopened last week, not too far behind the projected date.

“We’re slowly gearing back up again to pre-April levels,” said Jeffery Owen, “but we’re not back up to full production. There are still some people we haven’t called back yet.”

Owen anticipates full production returning by mid-September.

Three lines of pallet production remain in Palm’s Bowling Green, Ohio, location and Owen expects that to continue.

The pallet design remains the same as before, he said.

“We’re always improving the tracking technology, but the product quality continues to be as robust as it was,” Owen said. “There are no concerns or issues in the marketplace.”

The RFID unit allows the location of a pallet to always be known as it’s used in the transportation of goods around the world. Companies leasing the pallets can use the RFID tags to record information about the product being shipped, along with its weight, destination and other information.

The plastic pallets are much more durable than wooden pallets and can be cleaned and even sterilized before reuse.

Owen believes Palm Plastics will continue to remain competitive in the international marketplace.

“One of the things that people need to be proud of, especially in Lenawee County and Morenci, we’ve got one of the best workforces of anywhere in the world,” Owen said. “I’m proud of them. I really am.”

They’re resilient and willing to go that extra mile, he said—qualities that aren’t seen in all areas of the world.

“It’s one of the reasons I’m still there,” he said.

Owen said he still hopes for funding that will allow construction of the second plant in Morenci’s industrial park.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation worked with Palm Plastics and the City of Morenci to create a $5.5 million expansion plan, but the timing of the project fell alongside the start of the U.S. financial crisis in October 2008. Financing for the project couldn’t be obtained.

Palm eventually leased a vacant facility in Bowling Green to keep up with demand for its products. A variety of items ranging from house wares to medical and military equipment are now made in Bowling Green.

Owen remains a strong supporter of the Morenci facility, however, and he’s delighted to see the plant open again.

“I think Morenci is as good a manufacturing location as any place in the world,” Owen said. “I really do. I mean that.”

Palm was purchased by the Lexington, Ky., based Revstone Industries in November 2009 in a joint venture with a Chinese firm.

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