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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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