Morenci city council 02.16.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci police officers have heard complaints about careless snowmobile operation in recent weeks. Monday night it was city council’s turn to hear about problems.

East Street South resident Lowell Oberhaus said he’s in favor of banning snowmobile operation in the city due to his experiences.

“I have a very big problem on my property because of the location,” he said. Oberhaus lives on the south edge of the city.

He’s had trees and flower beds damaged, grass torn up and blocks pushed out from a wall along his driveway. He also noted that the wood planks on the pedestrian bridge over Silver Creek are splintered where snowmobiles have traveled.

Washington Street resident Dick Kelly—a former snowmobile operator—said he wouldn’t mind if they stayed within three or four feet of the road, but instead they drive closer to his house.

He said the incidence of problems has dropped recently—perhaps due to police action—but he expects trouble will increase if more snow falls.

After the meeting ended, there was informal discussion about damage to other property, such as a mailbox knocked over, and also about excessive speed in town—up to 60 m.p.h. on Coomer Street.

Councilor Tracy Schell said she was told of a state law that prohibits snowmobile operation in communities. She suggested tabling the issue until the law could be researched.

“It may not be necessary for us to do anything but follow the state law,” she said.

The city’s existing ordinance prohibits snowmobiles from operating at greater than “motion speed” or 5 m.p.h. They must obey existing motor vehicle laws, use the right side of the road as near to the curb as possible, and not operate in the business district.

Mayor Keith Pennington expected the issue to return for discussion at the March 14 meeting.

UNION—Pennington informed council that the police department is seeking new union representation. He pointed out that the change will result in additional time for council members to meet with two unions since the DPW workers will have different representation.

VIDEO—Morenci police chief Larry Weeks said he expects to spend between $8,000 and $11,000 to replace video equipment that is used in the department’s two cruisers.

The original equipment was purchased in 2006 for $15,000. When he called recently for technical support, he learned the company is out of business and repairs would probably not be available.

“I believe this piece of equipment to be invaluable for what we do,” Weeks said, and he doesn’t consider replacement to be optional.

The chief expects that the server located inside the department will still be used for storage, but the recording devices in the car will need to be replaced.

COPIER—Council approved a new contract for the copying machine it already leases. The move is expected to save $402 annually.

The new contract will cost $229 a month over the next four years. The contract includes toner, service calls and black and white copies. Color copies cost eight cents each.

CHAMBER—Council approved a resolution recognizing the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce as a non-profit group functioning in the city.

The move was required by the state before the Chamber could serve as the sponsor for bingo games and a raffle planned by the Town and Country Festival committee. The Chamber is serving as the sponsor since the Town and Country Festival committee is part of the city.

DEVELOPMENT—Schell said she attended a Lenawee Economic Development Corporation meeting that reviewed recent actions by the group.

She said the corporation is very much open to suggestions from the public for development ideas.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.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.

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