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.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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