Proposal on May ballot may fix our roads

The Mason Times

Gov. Rick Snyder and House and Senate leaders have created a proposal to raise Michigan sales tax from 6 to 7 percent to raise money for fixing roads. Their plan is estimated to increase road funding by $1.3 billion. This proposal will be on the May ballot. Recent polls show vacillating results from Michigan voters on whether or not a sales tax increase will be the option for road funding.

“We should not pay more in sales tax to fix roads,” said Jacqueline Cuff, a resident of Mason. “Michigan should have toll roads like other states for the maintenance of our roads.”

Something must be done about the roads soon.

“I will vote yes on the sales tax increase,” said Vivian Ferguson, a retired teacher in Mason. “I worry about my car being damaged by the roads almost every time I drive.”

Some voters say that road repairs can be funded in other ways.

“Our roads need to be fixed, but there are other funds to dip into to pay for that such as the Pure Michigan campaign,” said Ralph Wegner.

On May 5, Michigan voters will make the final choice.


Chief weighs in on medical marijuana proposal

By Harrison Thrasher

The Mason Times

A medical marijuana ordinance was the primary feature for the planning commission’s joint meeting with city council on Feb. 10. Perhaps the most animated discussion was by a member of those actually responsible for enforcing the law: the police.

Police Chief John Stressman said he does not want the ordinance to pass.

Stressman cited dangers that could come as a result of passing the ordinance. His most pressing issue was where the supply would come from. As each caregiver would only be allowed 60 plants for five patients maximum, Stressman said the demand would be higher than a caregiver could supply within legal bounds.

Since police would have less authority in stopping marijuana, more illegal transactions could take place for those without a medical marijuana license. “We would possibly be inviting more activity from the cartel,” said Stressman. “The new ordinance would make it more difficult for our officers to identify illegal substances.”

Stressman also said that illegal sales could come from patients who obtain the marijuana legally. “There would still be no control over distribution by the caregiver,” Stressman said, meaning that patients would essentially be able to purchase as much as they pleased without limit.

The problem is that a patient could buy more than needed and then sell the rest under the table. A patient can have as much marijuana as deemed necessary and cannot be charged with possession as long as they have a medical marijuana card. The only exception would be if a patient was caught in an illegal transaction, similar to sales of any other prescription drug.

Stressman said the ordinance was, “egregious and simply poorly thought out.”

However, Stressman said he understands his role and that it is his responsibility to adhere to the actions of the board. He merely shared his feelings on the matter and realizes his duty to serve the community, stating, “If that’s what the community wants, that’s the way it is.”


Waltz steps down from Historical District Commission

By Harrison Thrasher

The Mason Times

After being elected to City Council and then mayor, Michael Waltz has resigned from Mason’s historical district commission.

Waltz not only had to submit a letter of resignation, but also had to bring it to City Council’s attention during the meeting on Feb. 16. Waltz explained the process of a public official resigning, but did acknowledge one step he believed to be unnecessary in this case. Waltz, with the approval of his fellow council members, did not take the trouble of writing a letter addressed to the mayor (himself).

“As mayor, I already knew I was resigning so it seemed kind of redundant to do that,” chuckled Waltz.

Waltz instead submitted a letter to historical district Commissioner David E. Haywood out of courtesy.

The purpose of Waltz bringing his resignation to the attention of the council was to appoint a new member for the historical district commission to fill the vacancy. With Waltz’s recommendation, Rita Vogel, a resident of Mason, was selected to fill the vacancy.
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History lessons proposed for sesquicentennial event

Rick Brown presented medallion outline at Mason City Hall meeting on Monday evening to commemorate the city Sesquicentennial.

Rick Brown presented medallion outline at Mason City Hall meeting on Monday evening to commemorate the city Sesquicentennial.

By Maria Braganini 

The Mason Times

Creator of Rick Brown  proposed a plan at the Mason City Hall meeting on Monday Feb. 9 for historical presentations at the Mason Township Sesquicentennial celebration.

After creating for historical reference in October 1993, Brown has more than 20 years experience with historical presentations.

The website,, provides historical articles ranging from over 200 different events beginning in the early 1700s.

Twelve years later, in 2005, Brown received nonprofit status for Today the website has more than four gigabytes of historical documents.

Brown’s interest in history began as a hobby when he was a junior in high school.

At first Brown felt indifferent about history. His interest changed when he saw an advertisement for a presidents catalog highlighting Lincoln’s death 100 years prior. Brown describes the magazine as a collection of primary sources.
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Combined council meeting discusses future for medical marijuana

Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

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At the joint council meeting on Feb. 10, the Mason planning commission and City Council determined that an ordinance, rather than a moratorium renewal, will be written for the upcoming 2014 medical marijuana moratorium expiration.

The 180-day moratorium was passed in November 2014 and is up for review. It is one of several moratoriums passed since 2010 regarding the medicinal uses for marijuana. For that reason, it was a nearly unanimous decision to take action on the upcoming deadline, for the planning commission and council members did not want to extend the motion yet again.

“One thing I don’t want to hear outside of this room or even inside of this room is that we’ve been kicking the can for two years, because that’s not true,” said Ed Resser, planning commission chair. “We have had laws that have changed. It’s been a moving target, and we’ve had people who have put a lot of hours into working on this.”

Originally, the moratorium was passed as an emergency response, nipping the possibility of opening marijuana dispensaries in Mason. Even still, this is something planning and council agree upon; a dispensary in downtown Mason may not be what is in the best interest for the community.
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Good Morning, Mason

By Shane Stockwell
The Mason Times

The city of Mason had one of its most successful turnouts at “Good Morning, Mason” October 30, said Kathy Morse, co-owner of Mason Today. This event was created for local businesses to network and help build the community bond between companies. The agenda included: Mason Area Chamber, Ingham County Public Safety, Mason Area Schools, and many other topics.

“Good Morning, Mason meets six times a year and provides an opportunity for local business owners and workers to get to meet one another and inform each other on new ideas or business opportunities,” said Doug Klein, executive director of Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
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Drocha, Waltz, Brown elected

By Cameron Dunlap
The Mason Times

Although it was projected to rain, that did not stop voters from getting out to City Hall and voting.

“I’ve been working the polls before President Obama’s first election and this seems to be the second biggest turnout including the presidential elections,” said Christine McElhone.

Final unofficial results for the Mason City Council showed that Marlon Brown and Jon Droscha will return to council for another term. Mike Waltz, who held a seat from 2007-2012, will rejoin council.

Of 6,077 votes, Droscha came in first, accounting for 1,341 of the votes. Mike Waltz was second with 1,258 and Brown was third with 1,165 votes. Rita Vogel received 903, Angela Madden had 716 and Jeffrey Wiggins received 694.
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By Ben Stram and Emily Hummel
The Mason Times

Mason’s 150th year will be guided by three familiar faces elected to 2-year City Council terms on Nov. 4.

Jon Droscha and Marlon Brown were elected to second terms and Mike Waltz, who served five and a half years in the past will be coming back.

Droscha received the most votes with 1,341. Waltz had 1,258 and Brown was a close third with 1,165. Droscha said he was surprised by the final results.

“It’s really pretty humbling,” he said. “The support has been amazing. Being the top vote-getter … I never imagined I’d be the top vote-getter.”
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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.”
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Renovations and cleanups coming soon in Mason

By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer

David Haywood speaking at the March 11 planning commission meeting.

David Haywood speaking at the March 11 planning commission meeting.

Perhaps the biggest and most anticipated projects Mason is undergoing is the renovation of the empty, three-story, red brick building on the south side of the courthouse.

David Haywood spoke about the project.

“It’s been a project for the better part of five or six years,” he said.

Haywood also said there have been a lot of organizations involved to help make this project a reality. Continue reading