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 2013.03.13

Written by David Green.


Morenci city council members voted unanimously Monday night to accept one-year options to purchase two parcels of farmland on the east side of the industrial park.

A 17.7 acre parcel owned by the Lay family lies adjacent to the industrial park and includes the Morenci Skateland building. A   19.3 acre parcel to the east is owned by the Horton family and includes a house and outbuildings.

Mayor Keith Pennington told council that he heard the property might be available for purchase and he negotiated the 12-month option agreements at a cost of $1,000 for each parcel.

That will give council a year to decide if it wants to move forward with the purchase. Also during that time, the industrial park will be marketed as having a much larger area available, and also place the skating rink building in property databases.

“It’s not that we have a buyer waiting in the wings,” Pennington said, “it’s not that we’re going to somehow acquire grant money to buy more property, but it does help the city plan for the future.”

The time to buy, he said, is when prices are low, when a party is ready to sell, and when you’re ready to buy, but not in an emergency situation where you have to buy. I think the city will be served well by these agreements.”

The cost of the properties comes in at $226,600, but that could be partially offset by the sale of the skating rink and the house, and by farmland rent.

Council member Brenda Spiess gave her support of the mayor’s plan. A lot of time is being devoted to industrial development, she said, and this property will open up more options. After a year council can reassess the situation.

Councilor Rebecca Berger said that development groups suggest planning for changes many years down the road and purchasing the land now could avoid having to expand industrial property in a different area of town, with the need of bringing in utilities.

PALM PLASTICS BUILDING—Mayor Pennington met with a representative of the Toledo-based Regional Growth Partnership, an independent group serving as an economic development agency for a region that includes Monroe, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties.

Pennington was told that the Palm Plastics building appears to be in the top tier of industrial space. Currently, there are no other buildings of that caliber available in the region, and very few in the next class down.

Pennington said the report gave him encouragement for future use of the facility.

CHARTER—City council members are willing to move forward on major revisions to the city charter, if approved by voters. 

Some minor changes were made in 1963, Pennington said, but no major changes have occurred in 78 years.

Council will discuss the issue in more detail in future meetings, but Pennington gave a few idea about what might be done. For example, the charter makes reference to the town constable, a position that no longer exists.

Changes could also be made in the organization of employees, with department heads reporting to the administrator rather than to council.

In order to make changes, voters would have to approve a request to do so and then elect nine people to a charter commission. Finally, voters would decide whether or not to accept the commission’s recommendations.

ADMINISTRATOR—The City is accepting applications to replace city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder through March 22. Schroeder will retire at the end of the year.

Interviews are scheduled to begin the first week of April and the successful candidate is expected to be hired at the April 22 council meeting.

WEBSITE—Council voted to hire the Okemos-based firm Web Ascender to create a new website for the city. The cost is $4,500 to build the site and $500 annually for maintenance and hosting.

Councilor Brenda Spiess said she wants a more functional website that’s not a generic template. The website will include an economic development section.

FROST LAWS—The state and county frost laws are preventing semi trucks from entering Morenci, said city supervisor Barney Vanderpool. He spoke with an MDOT representative who will appeal the situation higher up in the organization.

Frost laws place seasonal restrictions on vehicle weight when winter is ending to prevent damage to roads while thawing is underway.

AUDITOR—City treasurer Crystal White will seek bids from auditing firms for a three-year contract.

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