Annual geranium fundraiser is back


By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

With the onset of spring, the Mason Sycamore Creek Garden Club annual geranium sale fundraiser is back, and the club will be taking orders until April 21.

Keeping with tradition, the club will have 12-inch bush pots, hanging baskets and 4-inch small pots, according to Barb Ketchum, club president. The bush pots are comparable to big pots for moving the flowers into planters, she said, and the hanging baskets come fully bloomed.

A new addition this year are two different 4-inch pot bowls. One is a mixture of herbs, while the other is a succulent bowl. According to Ketchum, bush pots and hanging baskets cost $14.75, the 4-inch geranium bowl is $3.75, the herbs bowl is $12 and the succulent bowl is $22. All must be purchased through pre-order.

Orders should arrive mid-May, depending upon the weather, she said.
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Ash Street Project

Jasmine Watts

The Mason Times

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The two oldest buildings in Mason, vacant for more than 20 years, are being remodeled.

Once completed, the 19th century buildings will be the tallest commercial buildings in the downtown area.

Three-stories high, 124 Ash St. and 140 Ash St. will become a commercial center-apartment facility.

The 7,480 square foot building will use the first floor as commercial space, include eight apartments on the second floor, and the third floor will have Oracle Financial Solution’s conference room in the front and two additional apartments in the back.

Kurt Creamer, Ryan Parrott, Scott Russ, and Charles Moore are Oracle employees who now own the buildings.

“These buildings have been around since Lincoln,” said Marlon Brown, mayor pro tem. “It’s exciting to see the progress in the redevelopment.”

The $2.75 million project was launched in September 2014.

“I’m glad to see people investing back into our city,” said Matthew Thomas, 24, a Mason resident.

Applications for apartment leases are currently available.

Spring Fling Festival

Jasmine Watts

The Mason Times

The Mason Area Chamber of Commerce presents its 32nd annual Spring Fling Festival April 30 through May 3. This year, the festival includes a 5k run, craft show, pie sale, duck race and many more fun activities. Special events will take place throughout Mason for Spring Fling and in honor of the sesquicentennial.

The signature courthouse craft show is May 2 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be vendors in three sections of the show, “Artisan’s row” for arts and crafts, “Community Center” for local groups, and “East Market” for flea market and manufactured items.

“Last year Spring Fling was packed. It was nice meeting some new neighbors and my family had fun,” said Ronald White, a Mason father.

This is a kid-friendly event that the entire family can enjoy.

“I attended this event last year with my grandchildren,” said Jeannette Maclin, Mason resident. “The kids had a ball with the arts and crafts.”

Many events for Spring Fling have music, food and there will be no admission charge.

Library holds contest to name its new local sculpture


By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

Calling all creative thinkers: the Mason Public Library is holding a community-wide contest to name the library’s newest art piece, a whimsical sculpture of a girl, created by Doug DeLind and the Mason Art Guild.

Suggestions may be made at the Mason Library as well as Bestsellers bookstore and Kean’s Store Co. through April 4. The winner will be announced on May 9 at Bestseller’s Soup to Art fundraiser, a night where art by local students will be featured throughout the store.

The contest is sponsored by the Arts Initiative Mason, which will award the winner a $50 gift card, according to John Takis, a library assistant at the Mason Public Library. Takis said that the winner’s name also will be featured next to Doug DeLind’s on a nameplate accompanying the sculpture.

“Initially the naming contest was just going to be for the children,” said Shirley Renwick, Mason Art Guild member. “But we thought, ‘why not get the whole community involved?’”
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Dairy Hill reopens for spring


By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

On March 2, Mason’s Dairy Hill ice cream store had its opening day of the season, following the establishment’s 30-year tradition of opening on a Monday, 27 weeks before Labor Day, every year.

“Psychologically, people are ready for ice cream after March, which explains reopening the store early,” said Jon Droscha, co-owner of Dairy Hill. “People view it as the first sign of spring.”

With the sun shining throughout the day on Monday, Droscha said that Dairy Hill had a successful opening for the season. Business, especially during the colder months, is always much steadier when the sun is shining, according to Droscha, as it brightens the spirits of his customers.

“There have been no major changes to Dairy Hill (this season),” he said. “Actually, staff-wise, there are zero-changes. Everyone came back.”

Droscha mentioned the possibility of adding a few items to the menu this season, but he said that the details will remain under his hat until they are finalized.
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Flu prevalence and prevention


By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

As of Feb. 6, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the influenza virus remained widespread across the country, keeping consistent with its prevalence during the early winter months. This consistency, according to Kristin Panwas, assistant department manager at Mason Urgent Care, is reflected in Mason.

“We did see an increased number of flu cases,” Panwas said. “Flu season is so bad that we even ran out of Tamiflu (an antibiotic).”

Despite the flu’s frequency, Panwas has found that there wasn’t as much traffic for flu vaccinations through Mason Urgent Care in February, especially in comparison to late-September and early-October vaccinations – the beginning of flu season.

At urgent care as well as surrounding pharmacies like Rite Aid on North Cedar Street, medical professionals vaccinate patients against influenzas A and B. This, however, does not protect them from different strains of the virus.

“Different strains do come up,” Panwas said. “The CDC is in charge of monitoring these different strains.”
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Taste maple syrup and springtime


By Caitlin Taylor
The Mason Times

On April 4, Tami and Doug Shaw of the Shawhaven Farm of Mason will hold a first-time event, Maple Sugaring Days, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event, according to Tami Shaw, will include an open trail through the woods leading to a maple syrup demonstration. Instead of showing the process of modern sap extraction, this demonstration will be a hands-on display of making syrup the old-fashioned way. The farm is at 1826 Rolfe Road.

“We will have a large kettle going with sap in it, boiling it down to syrup,” Tami Shaw said. “This is how it was done about 50 years ago. This way, we can show them a little bit of history.”

Additionally, there will be designated trees for children and their families to tap. They will be shown how to drill a hole into the tree to extract sap.
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Mason’s 150th Celebration March 9

By Jasmine Watts

The Mason Times

On March 9, 1865, the government signed Public Act 125, which incorporated Mason as a village. Mason celebrates its 150th birthday this year.

The kick-off for the sesquicentennial celebration will be at 6 p.m. March 9 in the council chambers and community room.

There will be a performance by the color guard, reenactments from the 1860s, proclamations by government officials, and a video from U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to the city.

Michigan Rep. Tom Cochran and county board of commissioners will be present.

“I look forward to attending the sesquicentennial celebration,” said Kierra Hughley, a 20-year-old Mason resident.

Other performances at the sesquicentennial celebration include the Mason High School choir and local artist Dewey Longuski with his song “Making Mason Memories,” which has become the official song of the sesquicentennial.

“This is a very exciting time for our city,” said Marlon Brown, mayor pro tem.

Winners from the College Essay Club’s essay contest for Mason’s 8th graders will be announced and will read their essays.

A historical journal of Mason by Rebecca Clinton will be available for $15.

“Its great that the community is so involved with the 150 year celebration,” said Vivian Ferguson, a retired teacher from Mason.

Two buildings in Mason that have been around since the 1860s have been vacant for more than a decade, 124 Ash St. and 140 Ash St. They are now being rehabilitated with the help of the city, Chamber of Commerce, and the Historical Society. The two buildings’ grand openings are also on March 9, as part of the sesquicentennial celebration.

March 9 is just the kick-off celebration for the sesquicentennial. There will be more events and activities in honor of Mason’s 150th birthday for the rest of the year. 


Hayhoe Riverwalk pedestrian bridge expected in summer

By Harrison Thrasher

The Mason Times

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The proposal of a pedestrian bridge at the entrance of Mason’s famed Hayhoe Riverwalk  appears to be on track.

Director of zoning and development David Haywood was present at a City Council meeting to discuss where the project stands and what needs to be done moving forward.

The specification package for the bridge has been made by Wolverine Engineers, a surveying company based in Mason. The most pressing issue addressed by Haywood was the construction process and funding.

“We’ve decided to go the route of a pre-manufactured bridge as opposed to designing and building it ourselves,” said Haywood. “To have Wolverine Engineers design the bridge would escalate our engineering costs significantly.”

However, Haywood said that only design and assembly costs escalate in the field, not installation. The bridge can be installed by “any qualified construction company,” in this case, Wolverine Engineers.

Councilman James Mulvany, who made a significant personal donation to the project, clarified the installation process.

“The bridge will be built at a particular location to be transported to Mason, then placed on top of the footings by a crane,” said Mulvany.

Mulvany expressed concern for where the engineering fee is going, as Wolverine Engineers is doing the work on-site, but not the design or assembly. Haywood clarified that there is only one engineering fee that is needed to actually install the bridge and survey the surrounding land, which is essentially what Wolverine Engineers will be paid for.

Mayor Michael Waltz clarified Haywood’s explanation on the engineering fee, saying that giving the fee to Wolverine Engineers would essentially complete the task.

“Once we give them (Wolverine Engineers) the go-ahead, they will take it from A to Z and deliver us a completed project,” said Waltz.

Another important aspect of this project is a trailhead sign in front of the bridge. Mayor Pro Tem Marlon Brown wanted to clarify that the sign is to include the names of all donors (individuals and organizations), which includes two council members, Elaine Ferris and Mulvany.

Haywood clarified that it was the plan to include the donor names, per requirement of the Department of Natural Resources, the regulators of the project.

Haywood said, “We are anticipating to bid approximately April 1, with selection for a contractor sometime in June 2015, and hopefully completed this summer as our funding sources are available.”