Ready or not? Residents are stocking up on salt and shovels

Dentist Dave Golder bought bags of salt to prevent ice and snow from building up at his home and office

Dentist Dave Golder bought bags of salt to prevent ice and snow from building up at his home and office

By Daniel Hamburg
Mason Times staff writer

At Ace Hardware on Cedar Street, Manager Chris Iott says if you wait too long, it’s too late.

That’s the case for hundreds of residents in Mason, who have snow- and ice-covered sidewalks and roadways. Part of the problem is people not adequately prepared, according to Iott.

“People will prepare for summer because they know they’re going to have to mow the lawn,” Iott said. “People don’t prepare as much for winter because you may or may not get big snow. When it happens, then they react.”

Despite the city road commission clearing the roads, many people are left with more snow dumped on their property. Continue reading

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Mason Fire Department open house

By Erin Ehlke
Mason Times Staff Writer

About 500 people came to the Mason Fire Department on Oct. 5 open house. The fire station has this open house every year to start fire prevention week.

Fire Chief Kerry Minshall said this event began before he had even started working there in the 1980’s.

Activities included fire truck rides, a game with fire hoses, dressup, lunch provided by A&W, a fire safety house, door prizes and a demonstration of a car being taken apart.

Firefighters don’t just handle fires, but car accidents as well. The demonstration showed how firefighters rescue people who are trapped inside vehicles.

“We do a lot of accidents, especially Michigan in the wintertime” said Minshall.

Right next to the car demonstration were the fire hoses. Kids got to spray a fire hose (with adult help) at a wooden house with fake fire in the windows.

On the other side of the station, kids were getting dressed up in fire gear. Aleasha Wood, a planner of the event, made sure to point out how these dress-up clothes were not something you would buy at a Halloween store.

“They’re not the kind made out of plastic. It’s what they (the firefighters) would wear but smaller, and not fireproof.”

One of the more popular activities at the open house was the fire safety house.

The fire station purchased this fire safety house after the James Malcolm fire in 1995. James Malcolm died after hiding in a closet during a fire.

The fire safety house is a trailer built like a house. Once all the kids are in,firefighters fill it with smoke and have the kids find their way out to safety.

fire8What would a fire station be without a Dalmatian? The Mason fire department has a Dalmatian named Ember that made an appearance at the open house.

The Mason Fire Department has 38 volunteer firefighters, one of whom is Dennis Howe. Howe,who is also a sixth-grade teacher, decided to become a volunteer very spontaneously.

“I was walking around downtown one day after church and thought to myself I could do that.”

Howe stood in full fire gear and showed the kids some of the equipment the firefighters//The way you have structured this sentence, this pronoun would take readers back to kids. Say fire fighters instead.// use.

A lot of classes in Mason are coming in to tour the fire station to learn more about fire safety.

Howe said his class probably won’t visit the station, though.

“They get their fair share in class already.”

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Kosovo delegation visits in early April

By Henrik Blix
Mason Times staff writer

MASON—The city of Mason will host visitors from sister city Vitina, Kosovo, next week for tours and discussion of American business and government .

City Administrator Martin Colburn said there will be three visitors, including Mayor Nexhmedin Arifi, the mayor of Vitina.

“I’m just excited for them to be here,” said Mayor Leon Clark. “We were there for a week and they are such wonderful people. We became friends in a very short period of time.”

Colburn said the guests from Kosovo will fly in Saturday afternoon and on Sunday they will visit people in Mason who immigrated from Kosovo in the late 1990s.

Colburn said although the itinerary is not finalized, they have several events planned. Continue reading

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Mason reacts to December shootings

By Katarina Vella Lingl
Mason Times staff writer

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Simone Jardim and her daughter, Alexas

MASON—The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 shocked parents and school administrators in the Mason area.

Resident Simone Jardim said her 3-year-old daughter Alexas attends preschool and childcare in Mason. She said she was “glued to the television” after hearing about the shooting.

“I actually cried and felt heartbroken because those innocent kids lost their lives in such a tragic and unfortunate event,” Jardim said.

“Alexas is my world and I am not sure what I would do without her,” she said. “Our children are not supposed to die before us.”

Jardim said parents should keep their children informed, but not scare them. She said there is always evil in the world, but we cannot allow that to take our children’s innocence away.

Jardim said if Alexas asks about the incident in the future, she would talk to her about it.
She said security should be stronger, making it harder for a complete stranger to enter the grounds of any school.

“Most of the time it seems like problems are with high school students bringing weapons to school. However, for elementary and middle school, problems would include the supervision of who comes in and the people that work there having contact with the children,” Jardim said.
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Mason Police Department releases five-year use-of-force study

By Henrik Blix
Mason Times staff writer

MASON—A study by the Mason Police Department revealed that most incidents involving a use of force by police occur at night and involve people using drugs or alcohol.

The study documented every incident in which officers used force on subjects and categorized each incident by level of force used, contributing factors and time of day.

The types of force used by the Mason P.D.

The types of force used by the Mason P.D.

Levels of force were categorized as soft empty hand control, hard empty hand control, pepper spray deployed, Taser pointed, Taser deployed and firearm pointed. According to the report, a firearm has not been discharged at a subject since 2008.

Sgt. Don Hanson said the data mostly reinforced what officers already know, but any information can only help.

“It shows we’re doing our job and we’re a transparent department,” said Officer Matt Thorne, a defensive tactics instructor for the department. Continue reading

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ServiceMaster Clean Disaster

By Katarina Vella Lingl
Mason Times Staff Writer
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ServiceMaster Clean prides itself on helping businesses and homes recover from fire and water damage.
On July 11, 2012, employees found themselves working with a client that was all too familiar; their own building had burned to the ground.

Vice President Desiree Howard received a phone call at 3 a.m. and rushed to State Street to see her business engulfed in flames.

“My immediate reaction was to cry,” Howard said.

Howard said news stations arrived when she did and they watched firefighters try to manage the fire. The way the building was constructed there was no saving it, she said.

Howard said their vehicles contain all the essential equipment for their business and they were parked outside the building that day.“Unfortunately the keys were in the building so we needed a key maker to replace them all,” she said.Howard said they were as prepared as they could be because refurbishing fire damage is what their business is known for.She said the fire devastated the staff, but ServiceMaster did not close their doors.

“We actually closed out our best year,” Howard said. Continue reading

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Gift of fire truck may lead to bigger things

By Alena Davis and Marissa Russo
Mason Times staff writers

MASON–On Jan. 4, city officials will show pictures from their trip to deliver a fire truck to Kosovo last October.

The meeting at the high school will also include details about the possibility of forming a sister city alliance with Vitina, where the truck was delivered, said Mayor Leon Clark.

“There were four of us that went on this trip to Kosovo,” said Clark. “Between the four of us, we took over 1,800 pictures. The fourth of January we have the auditorium at the high school lined up and we are inviting anybody that is interested to come between 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. We are going to show all the pictures and tell the story of how this project got started.”

This project was started a few years ago when the former mayor of Vitina came to Mason to visit his son. He received a tour of the fire department and was astounded by the equipment. Continue reading

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Jail in Mason key issue in sheriff’s race

By Rokeyta Roberson
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

HOMTV and Meridian Township have teamed up to provide county residents with coverage of local elections. Ballot Meridian 2012 coverage includes live debates, candidate interviews, and candidate statements.

“I think it is very important for local candidates to share their stances on problems facing the communities they wish to serve,” said Ingham County resident Ashley Lawrence. “If debates between candidates that are running for a county-wide position are broadcast, then it can help residents become more informed and not place their vote because off of familiarity.”

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Mason fire truck going 5,000 miles to Kosovo

By Michelle Paetow
Mason Times staff writer

Mason, a city of 8,144 people, is helping a city of almost 60,000 by sending a recently retired fire truck 4,988 miles overseas to Vitina, Kosovo, in southeastern Europe.

Mason has a fully equipped fire department to service five square miles, while Vitina lacks the large equipment necessary to service its 350 square miles.

Two years ago, Mason Mayor Leon Clark met Jakob Jahiri, former mayor and city administrator of Vitina while he was visiting his son, Petrit, in Mason. Clark, a volunteer firefighter for 34 years, gave Jahiri a tour of Mason. After hearing about the conditions of the Vitina fire department, Clark started planning to donate a 1984 1,000-gallon pumper truck, which was taken out of service in March.

“We know it is in good condition. It has passed all of its Department of Transportation inspections, everything has been updated, it is a good functioning truck and should last these people 10-15 years,” Clark said. “My understanding is that to get it to Kosovo, it is going in the belly of a C-141 using the Denton Company.
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Citizens still unhappy over hours cut at urgent care

By Lauren Kroll
Mason Times staff writer

MASON — Last November, Sparrow Urgent Care decided to cut two full hours of their operation time each day.The Mason location is now open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Residents and emergency response units must now go 17 miles away to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing if they go to the Mason location outside of the daily hours of operation.

Mason Urgent Care

Mason Ctiy Administrator Martin Colburn was not happy when the change was first announced.  Colburn told the Mason Times last December that “Mason residents are very frustrated with Sparrow that it would close and lock its doors on us.  People have seen the reduction of services to our community.”

Colburn said via email on January 31 that there was nothing new to report regarding the hour changes and that he will still fight to get them back but that Sparrow Health is not budging.

Sparrow representative John Foren said that the change will help the hospital transfer doctors from Okemos to the Mason urgent care.  When asking how they transfer these doctors back and forth between the locations, Foren said, “Previously when someone in need of care might have shown up to the Mason location and no doctor was on-site, now we have the freedom to have doctors there every day, with these new hours.”
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