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.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.soccer.balls
    BEVY OF BALLS—Stair District Library Summer Reading Program VolunTeens, including Libby Rorick, back left and Ty Kruse, back right, threw a dozen inflatable soccer balls into the crowd during a reading of “Sergio Saves the Game.” The sports-themed program continues on Wednesdays through July 27.

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