Mason’s orchestras provide solutions for music program budget cuts

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

With funding to schools’ music programs being cut all around the country, Mason continues to help not only children in being able to play music, but also adults, even while managing full-time jobs. The Mason Orchestral Society includes two main ensembles: the Mason Philharmonic, for middle school and high school students, and the Mason Symphony, for adults of all ages. Many of the children in the philharmonic attend schools that do not have full music programs. “My high school doesn’t have a string section, so it’s good to practice with people who play string instruments,” said Amelia Mills, who attends Mason High School. “It’s a good way to connect with people from different high schools.”

Sebastian Liu, an eighth-grader at Okemos Middle School, said that although his school has a music program, he is happy to be part of the Mason Orchestral Society instead. “My school music is easy, here I get a challenge.

Urban sustainability in Mason means more than expanding infrastructure

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

“Cooperation and planning forms a vibrant city,” said Robert Liberty, director of the Urban Sustainability Accelerator at Portland State University of Oregon. Liberty presented his urban sustainability plan at the Mason City Council Meeting on Nov. 2. Mid-Michigan is participating in “Imagine Mid-Michigan,” the Urban Sustainability Accelerator program directed by Liberty. This plan includes downtown success, farmland preservation, and much more that affect long-term “fiscal health and sustainability of government,” said Liberty.

“Friends of Kean’s” lift the store back to its place in the community

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

The community of Mason came together to get Kean’s Store back on its feet after smoke damage had the store out of business for months. Volunteers ranging from Knights of Columbus to the high school football team will haul displays and merchandise onto the store’s main floor this week– even businessmen have taken time off of work to help. The fire in Baja Grill in June caused smoke damage so severe that the entirety of the store’s interior had to be rebuilt. The merchandise was soiled by the stench of smoke. Although it was a frantic situation, the process has been supported by the community the entire way. “It’s been great having so many volunteers, it takes an army,” said Laurie Reed, manager of Kean’s Store.

Time capsule to be rediscovered in 25 years

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

As part of the sesquicentennial celebration, the Mason Area Historical Society and Mason City Hall are working to create a time capsule to be buried and viewed in 25 years. “It gives people in the future a snapshot of the time when the time capsule was compiled,” said Alissa Day, vice president of the Mason Area Historical Society. “The time capsule is an excellent way for people of all ages in Mason to put their own mark on this historic event, sharing in Mason’s official 150th anniversary,” said Jean Bement, member and head of the Newsletter Committee. The time capsule will preserve history in a special way, due to its tactile nature. Day explained how much the Historical Society has been stressing the importance to people of printing photographs and hand-writing stories and letters in hopes that they will submit these for the capsule.

Kean’s Store undergoes renovations after fire causes smoke damage

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

Kean’s Store, a Mason classic that has remained unchanged in the downtown square for 87 years, is being renovated after severe smoke damage that wiped out all of the merchandise. In June, an electrical fire at Baja Grill, a restaurant attached to Kean’s, caused smoke to seep into the store and caused major damage. “Everything had to come out. They gutted it. It was a long process,” said Laurie Reed, the store manager of Kean’s.

Oracle opening ignites hope for historical buildings

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

Stepping inside the new home of Oracle Financial Solutions in Mason, Michigan for the first time, you would never guess that the building was built during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. The smell of fresh cedar lingers in the air, voices echo off the walls and everything looks brand new. Oracle Financial Solutions, which was previously located just a block away above Bestseller’s Bookstore, has renovated an ancient building that was formerly “one big eyesore,” as described by Kurt Creamer, a member of the founding team. It was an abandoned building; the roofs were collapsed, the building was filled with mold, and there was seemingly no hope of revitalization. Creamer, Charles Moore, Ryan Parrot, and Scott Russ, who founded Oracle Financial Solutions together, decided to take on the challenge.

Sesquicentennial Ball celebrates Mason community pride

By Layne Alfred
The Mason Times

Entering the Sesquicentennial Ball at Mason’s fairground building was like stepping out of a time machine. Women in floor-length ball gowns danced while men in suits and top hats mingled. The Bayou River Band played old jazz tunes on the dance floor. Everything was elegant and nostalgic. The Oct.