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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Morenci city council 12.29.2010

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council expects to soon rent the vacant industrial building it owns at the back of Wakefield Park.

Vance Jacobs of Frontier Insulation intends to begin an operation to stuff “bean bag” chairs with foam pellets in the building located at 599 W. Chestnut St.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington told council members at the Dec. 13 meeting that Jacobs is in the process of making arrangements to fill chairs for another manufacturer, but he wants a rental commitment from the city before equipment is ordered.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said Jacobs will employ three people in the first three months of operation and he expects to add a fourth person after that.

Jacobs has plans to fill about a thousand chairs a day, with a semi-truck carrying foam pellets arriving every day. Jacobs will continue to use the former Roth Fabricating building on East Coomer Street for other operations.

Pennington said the previous renter of the city’s building paid $2,000 a month, but Jacobs is seeking a different arrangement through a triple net lease.

With this lease, Pennington said, Jacobs would not only pay a monthly lease price, but he would also cover the cost of taxes, utilities and maintenance.

Jacobs is willing to sign a five-year lease agreement for $1,000 a month. Pennington said in the past property taxes cost about $500 a month.

“I still think it’s a very fair proposition for us,” he said. “Since the building was last rented, industrial rent prices have fallen steeply. There are lots of empty industrial buildings that are being rented out very cheaply.”

That’s one of the reasons Alpine Manufacturing is moving from Morenci to Hudson, he said.

In addition, he said, personal property taxes will be levied on the equipment Jacobs brings into the building.

Pennington said he expects that a lease agreement will be drawn up for council’s approval at the Jan. 10 meeting.

Council voted unanimously to move forward with a lease agreement, with Joe Varga absent from the meeting.

Schroeder said Jacobs is interested in adding Styrofoam to the list of materials accepted at Morenci’s recycling center. Foam packaging, coffee cups, etc., could be recycled for his projects.

“That’s one thing we don’t take at our recycling center and we’ve had many inquiries,” she said.

SERVER—Council voted 5-1 to spend up to $5,500 to buy a new computer server. Councilor Tracy Schell opposed the motion.

With the existing server not functioning, only one person at a time can access the FundWare software that is used for a variety of purposes such as water billing, payroll and accounts receivable.

Treasurer trainee Crystal White said that if she is working on billing, for example, Diane Varga is unable to post receipts for cash coming in.

Receipts could be hand written and posted later, Schell said. She opposed the purchase because it isn’t covered by the current budget.

“We have to have it and it’s a good idea to update equipment,” Varga said.

White also hopes to upgrade anti-virus software and Microsoft Office with the $5,500 allotted.

ON CALL—Council voted 6-0 to retain the services of treasurer Stephanie Mossing, if needed, after she leaves the city’s employment at the end of this year.

With city hall closed for a week due to the investigation of the missing Skelton children, Mossing’s training with White fell behind, Pennington explained. He anticipates Mossing would be able to assist for an hour or two if White needs help closing out property taxes or other tasks.

Mossing will be paid time and a half based on her current rate, which will come out to $24.87 an hour if she’s called to help.

FIRE DEPARTMENT—Council accepted the resignation of member Josh Oltz, approved a 60-day leave of absence for Steve Meller and accepted the application of Nathan Rutkowski.

ASBESTOS—Councilors approved the payment of $108 for 10 extra samples needed for asbestos assessment at the former Grange Hall. The building will be demolished in 2011.

POLICE—Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks said that some consideration will have to be given to his budget for the extra time demands from the Skelton children case.

The extra costs would have been much higher if his officers had not volunteered time toward the effort. There were times when officers insisted that they remain on duty for no pay.

Schell thanked the police and fire departments for the extra effort shown during the early days of the crisis.

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