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 10.13.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci council members heard details Monday about a land bank that could be used to rehabilitate property and prevent foreclosure.

Mayor Keith Pennington and city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder recently attended a meeting to learn about the Lenawee County land bank.

There’s broad debate at the county level about the wisdom of developing a land bank, Pennington told council members, and he questions whether the plan is beneficial.

The majority of tax-foreclosed property in the county failed to sell at the July auction—a situation that had never before happened.

When a property fails to sell, it is typically given to the local government or kept by the county to sell at a later date. If put into a land bank, that agency could make repairs or demolish it for sale of the land.

The land bank concept is being portrayed as a method of taking properties off the market that are being foreclosed on, Pennington said, in hopes of improving them and getting them back on the market.

This could prevent a private investor from buying the property and “flipping” it with a quick resale—either with or without improvements made.

Once the property is placed in the land bank, the city would receive no income tax for at least five years, Pennington said. Promoters of the concept say the city would actually get more in tax revenue once the property is rehabilitated and sold.

LITIGATION—Council members approved a recommendation from the city attorney to end litigation against Kyle Schaffner regarding properties that he owned.

The city went to court after Schaffner failed to allow rental inspection, but Schaffner claimed the properties were sold on land contract and not subject to inspection.

At the current time, explained police chief Larry Weeks, Schaffner is not the owner of record.

TRANSFER—Council approved a letter of support to be sent to the Lenawee Economic Development Commission regarding tax abatements given in the past to Palm Plastics.

The firm is being purchased by Schoeller Arca Systems and the letter supports the transfer of the abatements to the new owner.

PART-TIME—Council approved a request by city supervisor Barney Vanderpool to continue the part-time employment of Joe Baugh until the end of leaf collection.

FIRE DEPARTMENT—Council accepted the resignation of Nick Smith from the Morenci Fire Department and approved Cody Bennett’s application to join the department.

LIABILITY—Schroeder reported that the city liability insurer would not cover the use of the former NWD building for use a haunted house by the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce.

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