The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • 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.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

Morenci moving forward with parking lot project 09.0-9.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The City of Morenci closed on three properties last week for the parking lot improvement project, leaving one building yet to go.

The city completed transactions to buy a vacant house on the northeast corner of LaGrange and Orchard streets, the former Grange/community center and some parking lot property behind the Village Inn restaurant.

The parking area has been maintained by the city for years, although it was actually privately-owned property. The two buildings will be demolished in order to widen Orchard Street from LaGrange north to the existing parking lot.

The Dunbar Auction House on North Street has yet to be acquired.

“It’s up to city council to decide if we want to push ahead and get those two buildings down or wait and get all three at once,” said Morenci mayor Keith Pennington.

Due to environmental concerns, the Dunbar property—a former automotive sales and repair business—won’t be purchased until an assessment is completed.

Brownfield grant

The Lenawee Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) received a $200,000 Brownfield Hazardous Substances Assessment grant through the U.S. EPA in 2009. So far, only Morenci and Blissfield have submitted requests.

Last month the LEDC board granted $32,000 for work at the Dunbar property.

Cheryl Kehres-Dietrich of Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc., from Plymouth, Mich., said assessment work will get underway during the next two weeks. She expects the project will take about three months to complete.

Kehres-Dietrich said the process begins with a Phase I environment site assessment. Records are reviewed and the site is visited to evaluate what is known about the property.

Also at that time building samples are collected to check for asbestos and lead-based paint—an important step in planning for demolition, she said.

Phase I data is examined to determine if the assessment should move on to Phase II in which soil and/or groundwater samples would be taken to evaluate for potential contamination.

Former use of the building as an automotive repair shop could mean petroleum products, solvents and various metals would be found in the soil, Kehres-Dietrich said. Her company will also check for underground storage tanks.

If Phase II is required and contamination is found, a baseline environmental assessment (BEA) will be conducted to document the condition of the property at the time of the sale. This would protect the new owner from liability in regard to previous contamination.

The present owner, Duane Dunbar, would not be responsible for contamination that was in existence when he purchased the building because he made the purchase before June 5, 1995, when the state’s due diligence law went into effect.

The Morenci Fire Department has requested use of the three buildings for training purposes before they are demolished.

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