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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Morenci city council 2012.04.11

Written by David Green.


Unregistered land contract sales won’t become part of Morenci’s rental inspection program.

A proposal discussed March 12 would have added land contract sales—those that weren’t recorded with the county register of deeds—to the inspection program.

When the issue came up for a vote Monday, only Robert Jennings and Rebecca Berger supported it.

The proposal was first discussed in February due to the difficulty of getting utility bills paid by some renters and land contract buyers. In some cases, said city treasurer Crystal White, a land contract is written for the same property more than one time in a year. Some homes change hands often, much like rental property.

The issue was discussed again in March, but this time the discussion also included safety concerns. Because land contract sales are not part of the rental inspection plan, safety issues are not addressed by city officials.

The city’s fire chief and building inspector both expressed concerns about safety and a suggestion was made to require inspections whenever any residential property changes hands.

In the end, a proposal was drafted in which land contract sales would be considered rental units until the transactions were registered with the county.

“I’ve struggled with this issue quite a bit,” Morenci mayor Keith Pennington said.

He told council he would rather have all residences included rather than segregating a certain type of sale.

EXPIRATION—The council seat currently filled by Robert Jennings will expire in November. Jennings is filling the remainder of the office vacated by Joseph Varga.

Any resident interested in seeking office has until May 14 to file a petition of candidacy.

CLOSURE—Following a pair of public hearings, council voted to close out the ICE infrastructure grant for the parking lot project and the façade grant for the property at 203-205 W. Main St.

Councilor Tracy Schell said she’s heard many compliments from residents about the parking lot project. Mayor Pennington said he appreciated positive comments from a couple who were not supportive of the project at its start.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder said it was one of the more difficult grants to administer, but it benefits many more people than some other city projects have.

Pennington said he was very impressed with the results of the façade project that includes the Subway restaurant, noting there was a time not too long ago that the building was about to be condemned and perhaps slated for demolition.

Schell said she is pleased that someone saw the potential of the building and invested in renovation. She also expressed her appreciation that the state government makes funds available for projects such as this that probably would not be possible without grant money.

FIREWORKS—Council heard the second reading of a proposed ordinance to change city law to match the new state regulations regarding the use of fireworks.

Police chief Larry Weeks reminded council that fireworks will now be legal over the Memorial Day weekend. He hopes residents using fireworks will be considerate of their neighbors.

MOWING—Royal Flush Septic, Lawn Care Division, was hired for a two-year contract to mow city property. The cost for weekly mowing is $250. The cost for property that will be mowed on a bi-weekly basis is $340.

TREES—Schroeder told council that Morenci achieved “Tree City USA” status again this year due to its program of caring for trees and replanting.

Mayor Pennington read an Arbor Day proclamation that urges residents to plant trees.

DDA—Council approved the following terms for Downtown Development Authority (DDA) members. Four-year terms: Tim Decker, president; Trisha Burrow, secretary; Delite Gillen; Teresa Chang; and Marsha Pierce. Two-year terms: Gail Johnson, vice president; Mike Broge, treasurer; Ken Fether; and Renée Schroeder.

In the future, all terms will be for four years.

Council voted to designate the mayor as the chief executive officer of the DDA. That designation is required but was not done in the past.

TRUCK—Council approved the purchase of a new dump truck at the cost of $76,538 and truck equipment for $36,954. Half of the cost will be paid through a clean diesel grant.

FIRE DEPT.—Kyle McClain has rejoined the fire department now that he has moved back to the Morenci area.

FESTIVAL—Council approved a list of events presented by the Town and Country Festival Committee. Representative Dale Long said the group tried to provide a range of musical events and intends to have more craft vendors.

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