The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • 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.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • 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.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Fayette village council 2011.10.05

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Three Fayette residents spoke critically of a sidewalk proposal at the September village council meeting Wednesday.

Dave Lichtenwald criticized a proposed sidewalk assessment that would levy an annual fee of $20 for a sidewalk repair fund and $10 for a tree removal fund. This would create a fund to help with future work.

Lichtenwald noted that he already spent $4,500 to replace sidewalks at two properties and he doesn’t think it’s right for those who already made repairs to pay again.

Lichtenwald asked why the sidewalk repair program was changed after it was started.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt, who is a member of the Sidewalk Review Board discussing the proposal, said that some issues were encountered during the first phase of the program—repairing walks along Main and Fayette streets—and the changes would help address them. Council members heard about the proposal at the committee of the whole meeting Sept. 14.

Lichtenwald said he’s spoken with several people who are opposed to the proposal.

“I don’t think it’s fair. Why change it when you’ve got something started?” he asked.

Marlatt said she doesn’t expect the proposal to become law as it’s currently written. She stated that it will be “tweaked” before it’s brought to council for a vote.

Audience member Bob Becker said he replaced walks at his property without complaint, but he doesn’t want to be assessed for someone else’s walk.

The sidewalk committee discussed exempting those who have already made repairs.

Village administrator Amy Metz noted that Lichtenwald and Becker both replaced their walks when only spot repair was needed. Their efforts greatly improve the appearance of the neighborhood, she said.

Former council member and interim mayor Craig Rower said he was opposed to the sidewalk repair plan when it was approved by council and now he’s upset that it’s going to be halted after some residents complied.

Residents on Main and Fayette streets were forced to make repairs, he said, and now there’s talk of suspending it. Rower spoke of a possible class action lawsuit that would repay residents for money spent on sidewalk repair—“for every inch of concrete that’s been put down in this town.” He said this would result in a 10 percent hit to the village budget.

Rower said the program was initially justified for the safety of children. Is that no longer a concern? he asked.

Marlatt asked where Rower heard that the program would be indefinitely suspended, and Rower said, “That’s what I’m hearing.”

“I’ve never heard it said that it will be suspended indefinitely,” Marlatt said about the rumor. 

Marlatt said the program will continue in regard to determining which walks are next for repair, but property owners will have about two years to complete the work. She expects that some people will act on their own to make repairs.

“I wish we didn’t have to talk about it here,” said councilor Rodney Kessler. “I wish every home owner would take responsibility for their own property and do it without us having to do a thing.”

Council member Julia Ruger agreed.

“It’s part of our ordinance, for you as a home owner, to maintain your sidewalk,” Ruger said. “I am so sick and tired of people complaining.”

“If you want to live in a nice community,” Kessler added, “you have to take care of it.”

The village applied in the past for Safe Routes to School funding for sidewalk work, but was not awarded money.

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