Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce 2011.05.25

Written by David Green.

There’s one thing the Lenawee Economic Development Corporation is focusing on, said director Jim Gartin, and that’s jobs.

Gartin spoke to Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce members Thursday at the  group’s monthly meeting.

Gartin said the goal of his organization is to bring in new business to match the county’s workforce.

In 2009, the vast majority of county business reports he received were negative.

“It’s almost completely reversed in 2011,” he said. “We want that positive trend to continue.”

Gartin said positive business reports are coming from at least 90 percent of the companies contacted.

Unemployment figures have dropped by four percent in the last 12 to 15 months. Each percentage point equals from 300 to 400 workers in Lenawee County, Gartin said.

He said there’s a lag of about 18 months before a strong recovery kicks in. He expects that to show here in the first quarter of 2012.

Working toward the future through job training doesn’t help the present situation, Gartin said, but he also hopes to bring skilled labor back to southeast Michigan—those who had to leave to find work.

“There are limited resources everywhere,” he said. “We need to collaborate and work together.”

That includes groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce offices.

Gartin mentioned the series of entrepreneurial workshops instigated by the Lenawee Economic Development Corporation last year. Funding comes through South Central Michigan Works.

One of those classes—one that focuses on selling through eBay—is scheduled June 2 in Morenci.

EVENT—First Federal Bank has scheduled a customer appreciation event June 17. New York style hot dogs will be served.

MEMBERS—New members Jessica and Phil Stark, owners of Little People’s Place, and Les Tompkins of JLT Graphix were introduced.

  • 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
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    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.
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    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.
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    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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