Verizon grand opening connects with Mason residents

INSIDE

RIBBON

The Mason Times
By Ben Stram

People gathered Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the new Verizon-Wireless Zone in downtown Mason.

Members of the Mason Chamber of Commerce was present, as well as Mason mayor Leon Clark, enjoying drinks and hors d’oeuvres before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Verizon has been open since Aug. 21 and since then has been a “brilliant” fit in Mason, according to store manager Sherman Norman.

Norman said that creating relationships and having the will to meet people have been important in opening the store in a new community.

“It’s all about the willingness to get out there and get yourself known within the community,” he said. “Create relationships early. Before the store even opened we were already in town and creating relationships.

“Going to some of the events in town so that when we opened, we kind of established a few relationships that were critical within the community.”
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R & R Travel Inc.

By Alyssa Richardson
Mason Times

A photo collage of clients on their vacations booked by R & R Travel Inc.

A photo collage of clients on their vacations booked by R & R Travel Inc.

R & R Travel, Inc. is a travel agency that books vacations for clients.

Located at 108 East Ash Street, Owner Angie Lapp took over the company in 1994 but the business has been in existence since 1989.

Lapp said she took over the business because she traveled a lot as a child and loves to make people happy.

It is free to have R & R Travel look into pricing a possible vacation. Pricing is based on where someone wants to vacation, how many people, the length of stay, and when.

R & R Travel books vacations all year round with honeymoons and destination weddings.

“We do whatever people need,” said Lapp.

Business Hours:
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lapp also makes herself available for after hours appointments.

Although Lapp prefers appointments, she insist that walk in clients are completely fine.

Call Lapp and book your dream vacation at (517) 676-0380.

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Dewey’s Ditty is the Theme for Mason’s 150th Celebration

By Shane Stockwell
The Meridian Times

Dewey Longuski had his song chose for the Mason 150th Celebration

Dewey Longuski had his song chose for the Mason 150th Celebration


The city of Mason is turning 150 years old in 2015 and along with it, a Sesquicentennial celebration. People often enjoy music when celebrating and local musician, Dewey Longuski, would agree.

Longuski, 49, lives on the outer edge of Mason and has always had a passion for music. Everyone in his family is gifted in the art of music and all played a big role in forming his love for songwriting. “I tend to come up with a lot of my jingles while driving in my truck,” said Longuski. “My passion is in writing my own song lyrics.”

In lieu of the historic cornerstone creeping closer, Longuski thought he’d put his musical talents to the test and propose a theme song to the Mason 150 committee. On July 21 the committee accepted his proposal, choosing “Making Mason Memories” for the theme song of the 150th celebration.

“Nothing gets done if you wait for someone else to do it,” said Longuski. This will now be the second city that has chosen one of his songs for its theme tune. The previous city being Plainwell, Michigan.

Longuski has always loved music but didn’t get into the jingle business until 2011. Then, he entered his first jingle contest and was chosen by well-known country singer Trace Adkins as one of five finalists. Longuski went on to be crowned the contest winner and to this day that “Waggin’ Train” jingle is his favorite.

Longuski went on to win three more jingle contests and start his own jingle company called “Dewey’s Ditties.” He started “Dewey’s Ditties” in April of this year and has provided three companies with jingles.

Although music and creating jingles are Longuski’s true loves, he treats it more as a side gig to his research assistant job at the Animal Center at MSU. Longuski graduated from Michigan State in 1987 with a BS in animal science and received his masters in 2003.

Longuski’s goal is to have his jingle business become more well-known around the county and hopefully then across the state. He is also looking forward to his “Making Mason Memories” CD, which comes out in November.

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/deweylonguski

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Country line dancing becomes a community event on Thursday nights

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By Alyssa Richardson
The Mason Times

When the sun goes down in the outskirts of Mason County, the local VFW’s ballroom is filled with classic and traditional country jams and eager participants wanting to learn the latest dances moves in Country Line Dancing.

Every Thursday for about two years now, instructor Dave Pickett has been teaching the local country line dancing class and says he steps each of them up a notch as times progresses.

A group of about 30 from small children to elders creates a family like environment by embracing you with encouraging words, cheers, conversation and laughs.

Running from 7-9 p.m., instructor Pickett teaches his class well thought out routines to songs such as Redneck Girl by the Bellamy Boys and a greater variety of popular country tunes. Around 8 p.m. Pickett gives his a class the opportunity to go to the in house restaurant choosing between an assortment of food: pizza, chicken wings, fries, egg rolls and shrimp prices no higher than $7.50.

Pickett’s assistant, Todd Finch, whose been dancing for eight years said everyone should give country line dancing a shot.

“It’s a great experience with great music,” said Finch.

Pickett’s personality and class is extremely fun and carefree. There are no strict rulesthat takes away from the experience Pickett is able to give his class. There is no set dress codeso jeans, shorts, tennis shoes and cowboys boots are all welcome.

While teaching, Pickett is a warmhearted entertaining man. Pickett was sure to make his a way around to each part of the ballroom to ensure every student received a great experience.

Student Chris Hosler, a middle age Mason resident has made Pickett’s class a habit.

“It’s fun. I dance all through the fall and winter and it just gets you out the house.” Hosler encourages all people who’ve attend Pickett’s classes to continue to come, “If you step forward then you will eventually step back and it’s the same with left and right.”

The dance moves Pickett instructs throughout his 2-hour class consist of claps, turns and stomps that are simple enough that a beginner can pick up on them.

The atmosphere of Pickett’s country line dancing class is so positive and enjoyable that couples of all ages attend for date nights.

At $5 per person, Finch said, “It’s a night out together where you are able to bond and have a down right good ol’ time for cheap.”

 

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Counting on an increase in revenue

By Emily Hummel
Mason Times

With a overall trend of decreased enrollment in Michigan public schools, count day

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools

Ron Drzewicki, superintendent of Mason Public Schools (photo was courtesy of Ron Drzewicki)

considered one of the most critical days of the year by Michigan educators, has gone much better than in recent years in Mason, which has seen increased enrollment.

Count day is when students attending each school within a district are counted and the number is reported to the state. From these reports, the state determines how much money to give to each school district and can mean a difference of several thousand dollars.

On this day attendance in school is stressed to parents, and some schools even give incentives to their students to encourage maximum attendance. Mason schools inform parents and trust them to understand the importance of the day.

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Mason Man still at-large in Animal Abuse Case

By Shane Stockwell
The Meridian Times

Benjamin Conley has been on the run for three weeks now and has a warrant out for his arrest.

Benjamin Conley has been on the run for three weeks now and has a warrant out for his arrest.


Three weeks later and the search is still on for Benjamin Conley, who disappeared from the Ingham County courthouse minutes prior to his sentencing. Benjamin Conley was found guilty of animal torture, along with his brother Nicholas, in August. Nicholas Conley is currently serving his sentence in Ingham County jail, while the Lansing Police Department continues its search for brother Benjamin.

The brothers were being charged for the malicious torture of their mother’s pit bull. People saw the brothers hanging the pit bull from the roof of their house with a chain and noticed stab wounds.

Deputy Kyle Hanney was called to the house, 1717 Illinois Ave., Lansing, Michigan, on Sept. 6, 2013. Hanney saw the battered dog fighting for its life with a chain around its neck. Attached to the chain was a cinder block, restricting the dog from pulling its head up. The pit bull was later euthanized at Ingham County Animal Control.

This isn’t Benjamin Conley’s first run in with the law. He has also faced charges for unlawful imprisonment and assault and battery. Nicholas has a felony conviction as well.

Hanney says it’s not a matter of whether Benjamin Conley is found, but when. There is currently a bench warrant out for Conley’s arrest. Deputy Hanney stated that this is the most horrid case he has worked on.

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Building Twenty-One Reopens Skatepark, supplying opportunities for teens

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times
Workers at the arena

Some of the rails

More ramps
One of the biggest ramps
Almost a year ago an old run-down skate church and bike church were taken over by Building Twenty-One and the transformation impacted many.
With help from professional BMX rider Cory Wiergowski, renovations advanced and word spread.
That transformation was completed when the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors cut the ribbon Wednesday, Oct. 14, officially reopening the indoor skate park for students ages 8 and up. Continue reading

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Animal shelter tries to help dogs find homes in Dogtober

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By Cameron Dunlap
The Mason Times

The Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter will be hosting its first discounted dog adoption event called Dogtober, for the rest of October.

Dogtober, originally slated to begin Oct 15 was pushed to Oct 7 due to the Ingham shelter being out of room and overloaded with adoptable dogs.

All dogs for the rest of Dogtober will cost $30 to adopt compared to the original $100 price tag. The price decrease is thanks to a volunteer/sponsor for the shelter donating “a lot” of money to make-up for the difference, according to Ashley Hayes the volunteer and special events coordinator of the shelter.

Each adopted dog will come with a microchip, county license and rabies vaccination. Each adopted dog will also be neutered and spayed.

As of 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, the shelter had helped seven dogs find new homes thanks to Dogtober.

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Native son returns to teach yoga

By Cameron Dunlap
The Mason Times

From Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 Mason native Toby Mohlman returned to his hometown to host yoga classes for the Mason community.

Toby Mohlman, who lived in Mason until he was 18, has since spent his years living in Colorado, Massachusetts and currently Cleveland.  He began practicing yoga in 2000 with his girlfriend as a form of physical therapy.  He liked it so much it inspired him to get a teaching certificate in yoga, which he just recently obtained. He was mostly looking forward to linking back up with old friends and seeing family, while doing something that means a lot to him.
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Mason Pizza Day a tasty school technology fundraiser

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times

The first Wednesday of each month during the school year, the city of Mason delivers a pizza promotion that helps shape the way its children develop.

The Mason Public Schools Foundation is a nonprofit fundraising organization established in 1984. The foundation committed to the Mason Technology Infusion Program, which provides technology for students in elementary school, middle school, and high school, to donate $30,000 per year for many years.

Local pizzerias donate $1 dollar per pizza to the foundation, which goes to supply students with technology in the classroom.
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