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.
  • Front.pull
    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 2012.08.22

Written by David Green.


The benefits of in-car computers for police cruisers are so overwhelming, says Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks, that there’s no question in his mind about replacing the existing models.

City council members agreed with him at the Aug. 13 meeting and voted to join in on a county initiative.

The existing computers came through a county grant, Weeks said, and some departments in the county are experiencing problems with them.

The county government has offered to replace the computers with a special rugged model at a cost of $1,382 annually, starting in the 2013-14 budget year. Technical support is included.

Tracy Schell, head of council's Public Safety committee, said the computers cost about $5,000 each.

Weeks said the program has no long-term commitment and the city could withdraw at any time if council decided to buy its own units.

Features of the county program include an automatic police car locator that tells the command post in Adrian, as well as any officer out on the road, the location of all other law enforcement vehicles in the county. This will allow rapid dispatch of officers where needed.

The computer will provide details on the nature of each call reported, including follow-up information that's not given on the regular radio channel.

The history of each address in regard to law enforcement matters is also available and the computer is connected to the nation-wide LIEN network of data.

Weeks also received council's approval to incorporate the Report Management System software that would provide what Weeks describes as “real criminal intelligence.”

Officers would use the software to enter data into a countywide records system that will store data off-site. Morenci officers would have access to records from other county agencies that could give insight into their own dealings with suspects.

“It’s a significant law enforcement tool and it makes officers safer,” Weeks said.

The program offered by the county is cheaper than the existing software, he said, and is much better.

The cost of the two computers and software is initially $4,604, plus a $380  annual maintenance fee for the software.

“We couldn’t do it without county support,” Weeks said before obtaining council's support. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

PILOT—Morenci city council members expect to learn more about the PILOT program—standing for “payment in lieu of taxes”—when a representative from the county equalization department visits Aug. 27.

The PILOT program allows certain entities that provide low-income housing to pay a fee rather than taxes. The program is in accordance with Michigan’s State Housing Development Authority Act of 1966.

A PILOT agreement allows the housing owner to pay up to 10 percent of rental income, minus utilities, instead of taxes.

The owners of the York Hills apartment complex have applied for the tax exemption and all 24 units are described as serving low income individuals.

City treasurer Crystal White told council members at the July 23 meeting that Whitman Crossings is also considering an application.

“It seems like we’re being forced to do something that’s not to the best interest of the city,” councilor Tracy Schell said Aug. 13 at council’s second discussion about the topic.

The York Hills application leaves council members with several questions. Mayor Keith Pennington wondered if the savings to the apartment owner must be used to reduce rent or to take on maintenance projects. He also wants to learn more about the qualifications that an applicant must meet to obtain the break.

Pennington said he’s conscious of anything that reduces revenue, not only for the city but for the school district, as well.


SALES—Schell said at the July 23 meeting that council has been asked to look at regulations governing door-to-door sales. Other than children’s fund-raising efforts, sales could be banned, she said, or they could go through a licensing restriction to know what items are being offered for sale.

Schell urged residents to contact city hall with suggestions about the issue.

PLANNING COMMISSION—A couple of issues are coming up that the planning commission must address, said city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder, and a couple members are still needed.

POLICE—Chief Weeks told council that he has lost two part-time officers. Cory Daza and Brad Elston have both accepted full-time jobs elsewhere.

MAINTENANCE—Council voted to seeks bids to paint the exterior of city hall and to replace awnings. For the United Way Day of Action project, the City will suggest painting the Wakefield Park concession stand, and furnish the materials.

LIBRARY—Heather Walker and Kym Ries were approved to continue as Stair Public Library trustees for three-year terms.

TREES—A $1,300 grant will be sought from Consumers Energy to purchase 13 trees. The planting locations have been chosen, said city supervisor Barney Vanderpool, and if the grant is received, the trees will be planted in the fall.

TRAFFIC—Council approved a request by an E. Chestnut Street resident to close the 200 block of the street during a wedding ceremony Aug. 25. Closure is not crucial to traffic flow in the area, Chief Weeks said, and the people requesting closure consulted neighbors who would be affected.

Any future requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

MODEL T CLUB—Council discussed parking for the Model T Jamboree members who will visit Morenci on Saturday. More than 80 cars are expected. The Jamboree is based in Adrian and the group will travel to Hudson and Morenci in the morning before visiting Blissfield for lunch.

The final decision about parking will be left to Chief Weeks.

“I say we oblige them any way we can,” city administrator Renée Schroeder. “It’s bringing a lot of people to town.”

GOODWILL—Goodwill Industries of Southeast Michigan will bring tubs for another donation drive Sept. 24-28. The tubs will be placed at the recycling center.

HABITAT—Schroeder said that only one prospective family attended the informational meeting at the library to learn about becoming a Habitat for Humanity home owner. An Aug. 27 deadline was set to find a Morenci family interested in participating in a Habitat restoration project.

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