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.

John Skelton's sentencing appeal fails 2012.06.13

Written by David Green.

John Skelton will remain at the Alger Correctional Facility near Munising after the challenge to his sentence was rejected by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Morenci resident entered a “no contest” plea last July to charges of the unlawful imprisonment of his three sons, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner, who went missing in November 2010 after a visit to their father’s house.

In September 2011, Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe exceeded the sentencing guidelines and sent Skelton to prison for 10 to 15 years.

Working with a state attorney, Skelton charged that Noe’s sentencing was too harsh and should not have exceeded the guidelines, but the appeals court rejected that notion.

When Skelton was sentenced Sept. 15 last year, Judge Noe stated there were “substantial and compelling reasons” to justify her actions.

“The guidelines do not account for the loss which is much more like that suffered by families of murder victims,” she said.

The assistant prosecuting attorney Douglas Hartung agreed with Noe’s decision, stating, “It is difficult to imagine a more significant case of unlawful imprisonment in the State of Michigan.”

Noe said Skelton’s various explanations of the whereabouts of his sons were ridiculous and “just plain lies.”

Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks said he had complete confidence in Judge Noe’s decision and could see no reason for Skelton to be successful in his request to the appeals court.

Investigation of the case, which he considers a murder investigation, remains ongoing, Weeks said.

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