A Legacy Continued

By Emily Hummel
The Mason Times

Curtis Hertel Jr., candidate for Michigan State senate.

Curtis Hertel Jr., candidate for a Michigan senate seat.

A long-standing family legacy of reaching for positions in government is continued through Curtis Hertel Jr., a candidate for the Michigan Senate.

With a father who was speaker of the House from 1993 to 1994, an uncle who served six terms as a member of Congress and another who served three terms as a Michigan senator himself, Hertel had an interest in politics at a young age.

“I still remember going door to door with my dad and my little red wagon,” Hertel recalled of campaigning with his father.

Since 2009, Hertel has been working in Mason, Michigan, as Ingham County’s Register of Deeds, which will require a new person elected into the position. He was involved in the foreclosure crisis that occurred in Mason in past years and worked hard to make sure residents could keep their homes. Hertel was also an advocate for workers during the right to work vote.

State Rep. Tom Cochran, who is running for re-election for his Ingham County district, has known Hertel for more than 15 years and says he is a hard worker who is focused on the people.

“I think Curtis has been a real advocate for the working men and women in, certainly, Ingham County and also for the state of Michigan,” Cochran said.

Hertel’s desire to seek the senate was sparked by his involvement in the right to work vote in December of 2012. During the Legislature’s deliberations Hertel was among the protestors outside the building. Not only was the building on lockdown to the people, but also there were no discussions of the bill with the public.

“I was really offended. Having spent a lot of time growing up around legislature, I had never seen that building shut down to the people. Instead of being concerned about the people, they were concerned about their own special interests and that’s why I decided to run,” Hertel said.

If elected, Hertel hopes to focus his policies on repairing Michigan roads and on education. He says the state needs to focus more on the future.

Rita Vogel, a Mason business owner who knows Hertel, says he has had a “textbook campaign” but is excited to see what he will be able to do if elected.

“I believe the values or beliefs Curtis stands for are integrity across the board. I find him to be thoughtful, objective and community driven,” Vogel said.

With a landslide win of more than 8,500 votes in the primary, Hertel only has to wait until the general election on Nov. 4 to see if he will become the next senator representing District 23.

—Emily Hummel


Rotary Exchange brings cultural diversity, growth to students

By Ben Stram
The Mason Times


The Rotary Youth Exchange program offers students the opportunity to learn about cultures from around the world.
The program is for both inbound and outbound students. Inbound students visit from a variety of countries while outbound students spend a year abroad.
Students must be in high school and maintain a certain grade-point average while participating in leadership activities at their high school to be a part of the program.
On Sept. 19, Rotary District 6360, a group composed of 12 inbound students from 11 countries, visited Chicago.
The students are from Slovakia, France, Brazil, Zimbabwe, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Denmark, Germany and Belgium.
Ingrid Nova, Rotary District 6360 outbound chairwoman, went on the trip and said some of the students had culture shock when they arrived.
“One young man from Germany had never been to a city with skyscrapers before,” she said. “So we came up from the train station and he had the whole looking up, mouth-open ‘Wow!’ and it was pretty cool so that was neat to me. But overall I think they really liked Chicago.”
Nova said the group walked along Lake Michigan, looked at Chicago yachts and went through Millennium park to visit the Chicago Bean, a large reflective sculpture.
Cecilie Rasmussen, a 16-year old from Denmark, said she’s gained friendship and a cultural understanding from the trip.
“Some people speak better English than others,” Rasmussen said. “None of us are really perfect so we’re used to it. But everybody has a decent level of English, so it’s fine.”
Katelyn Deitzen is a Michigan State graduate who participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange her junior year in high school. Deitzen said the program morphed her into who she is today and helped her grow up while in Poland.
“For me, the experience was amazing,” she said. “It was life changing, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“I think a big thing I learned was how to deal with money. I grew up as an individual, I learned about myself. You leave at 16 and you come back a 21-year-old.”
There will be an informational meeting for Rotary Youth Exchange students 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2 at Bestseller’s Extra, 356 S. Jefferson St. in downtown Mason. Applications for the program are due Nov. 1.




State budget cuts impact Mason High School funding

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

Listen to an audio report.

The 2008 recession and state funding cuts have meant losses in almost all areas of Mason Public Schools. This has meant some trimming and searches for new revenue in many departments including academic, athletic, arts and personnel. Custodial groups have taken hourly wage cuts to prevent privatization, administrative and faculty positions were eliminated and district-funded sports have become self-funded. Shelbi Frayer, executive director of business and finance at Mason Public Schools, said the changes are a result of the decrease in state funding.

Mason tennis team

The Mason Varsity Tennis team practices indoors on a rainy school afternoon. They have experienced the impact of a decreased budget in the form of equipment cuts.

“We wouldn’t have to make such drastic changes such as losing HR if we didn’t have a cut in funding,” said Frayer. “We would definitely have a lot more programming for students, buses, etc. You learn to be more frugal and live without.”

With the assistance of teachers, Principal Lance Delbridge of Mason High School allocates funds allotted by the Mason Board of Education. Frayer said the focus is primarily on academics. If extracurricular activities such as sports want to expand, they have to do it on their own, as the district does not plan to add money to these budgets.

Greg Lattig, district athletic director of Mason High School, said 500 students at the high school play sports. He said the athletics department has had budget cuts of more than $100,000 over the past five years.

“We’ve cut coaching staff, lower-level programs, programs at the middle school, and some things have become self-funded,” said Lattig. “We’ve significantly reduced our equipment budget and eliminated two-way transportation.”
Continue reading


New summer program to help students transition to high school

By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer

Teaches Dean Thompson (left) and Jeremy Mills (right) discuss the Bridge Program at the April 21 school board meeting.

Teaches Dean Thompson (left) and Jeremy Mills (right) discuss the Bridge Program at the April 21 school board meeting.

This summer, a new academic program will start under the umbrella of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support called the Bridge Program. The program will help ease the transition for some students as they leave middle school and move up to high school.

Mason Public School Superintendent Mark Dillingham brought up the concept for the program.

“An outcome that I really wanted from the Bridge Program is for identified students to have a familiar face that they know, and can relate to at both the middle school and high school, while still being in 8th grade,” said Dillingham. “Also, I wanted these students to become familiar with the expectations of their new high school learning environment, and what better way than to spend a few weeks at the high school getting the lay of the land before school starts for their freshman year.” Continue reading


Mason grocery store with sparkling ambience

Inside Kean’s grocery store in downtown Mason, lies is a jewelry shop filled with many unique pieces of homemade jewelry for all occasions. <Listen to the story>

It all started when Margaret Ross was eight years old. Even though she described herself as being a tomboy at a young age, she found her passion making jewelry, and is still doing it over 20 years later.

Photo of Margaret Ross

It wasn’t until four years ago however, that Margaret decided to market her business in the downtown Mason area, located right in the back of a family owned business known as Kean’s, a local store that has been in business for 85 years.

Putting her business in the back of Kean’s is what attracts a lot of Margaret’s customers into the store. Margaret says she often times jokes that she is like shopping for the milk and eggs when you’re at the grocery store, since her shop is located in the back.

Photo of Margaret Ross (1)

You wont find Margaret Ross’s jewelry at just any retail store, because all of the jewelry sold in her shop is personally handmade. As a musical artist in the local area, Sarah Geyer said she was right away attracted to the jewelry shop, expressing admiration to the background of how this jewelry is made.

Photo of Margaret Ross (2)

Even though Margaret lives in DeWitt, she still enjoys having her store in downtown Mason.

She even describes why her jewelry stop adds a little uniqueness to the downtown area.






Arrests are down, police approval is up in Mason

By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer

photo (66)Over the past decade, arrests have gone down in Mason.

Arrests for driving under the influence are down from 41 to 17 in 2004 and 2013 respectively. Arrests involving drug offenses are down to four in 2013 compared to 30 in 2004. Finally, in 2013, arrests for retail fraud totalled 12. This is down 18 counts from 2004 when total arrests were 30.

Chief John Stressman attributes this to a few things.

“One is we have a retention issue and we’ve been short staffed. I don’t think we’ve been at full strength for the last two years,” said Stressman, who has been chief since 2004. “There is a lot of movement between police departments. Officers go from one place to the other looking for something better, or a better fit for them.” Continue reading


High school students redeem selves with lunch credit recovery

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Mason High School has recently added a Multi-Tiered System of Supports to help improve students’ academic performance.


Trustee Laura Cheney questions the teacher consultants.

Matthew Stuard, district administrator for academic success, said at the April 21 board meeting that school improvement committees were formed in September.

Dean Thompson, a math teacher at Mason High School and Jeremy Mills, an English teacher at Mason High School, who are also teacher consultants, attended the April 21 school board meeting with Stuard to present their progress and goals as they move forward with student improvement.

Some ways Mason High School has initiated student improvement is through:

  • a students of the month breakfast, where students are recognized for their outstanding performance,

  • the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab, where members of the National Honors Society assist students who need additional help with school work,

  • a ACT test prep crash course, which prepares students for the ACT

,Stuard said that the Bulldog Brilliance Help Lab was planned in accordance to the late bus system, so students who take the bus home can still stay after school for extra help.

Thompson added that students have the option to grab frozen drinks from the cafeteria during the study time, so they are given an incentive to attend the help lab.

Continue reading


Common Core means excitement, anxiety in schools

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Students in Mason Public Schools will be assessed based on the Common Core in the spring of 2015.


The Common Core has been adopted by most states in the U.S.

The state of Michigan adopted the Common Core in 2010. According to the Michigan Department of Education, the Common Core standards are state standards that provide a consistent set of career and college-readiness expectations for students across the country. Since then, Mason Public schools “have prepared and are continuing to prepare students based on the Common Core standards,” said Executive Director of Curriculum Chris Kamenski.

According to Kamenski, Mason Public Schools partnered with East Lansing Public Schools in January and started a process of rewriting the mathematics program so that it is compatible with the Common Core.

“We’re taking everyday math and we’re cutting it apart to line up with the common core,” Kamenski said. Kamenski added that now, currency is taught in kindergarten, but at that age, students are too young to fully grasp the concept. “Kindergarteners can understand what a quarter is, but counting money is too difficult,” Kamenski said. The school system decided to follow the common core and postpone the currency lesson until the second grade.

Continue reading


$2.1 million Ash Street project undergo renovations this May

By Graciella Oteto
Mason Times staff writer

Built in the 1800s, the buildings located at 124 and 140 E. Ash St. are some of the oldest buildings in Mason, undergoing renovations as soon as May.

The two buildings, which stand next to each other, are to have 10 single-bedroom apartments. One building will have residential on the second floor, and residential and office space on the third floor, another building will have two floors, plus both buildings will have an elevator. The buildings are also to have offices on the first floors.

Building to be renovated on E. Ash Street

Building to be renovated on E. Ash Street

“Took four years to get here, and in about 12 months the project is set to be finished,” said Bruce Johnston, Ingham County Housing Commission director. Because the population has grown in Mason, the apartments are certainly a great addition to downtown, providing access to downtown shops, Johnston added.

Johnston said this means that one of the most deteriorated buildings in Mason will become the largest renovation project in the downtown area.

Continue reading