Mason’s Tree Legacy Program

By Kelley Waterfall

The Mason Times

Citizens can help make the city of Mason greener while creating a memory by buying a tree as part of the city’s Tree Legacy Program.

The program was started by the Mason 150th anniversary committee and allows citizens to buy a tree and choose where they want to plant it in the city, explains Mary Grace, assistant to the city manager. “Mason wants to celebrate 150 years by asking people to buy trees to adds to the city” says Grace.

Marty Colburn, the city administrator of Mason, says the public can buy the trees in honor of a person, as a legacy, or even just as a family tree. The trees will be put online as well with information including the type of tree, who it is in honor of, and where it was planted including GPS coordinates. “This way family members maybe 10 years down the line can find their family tree,” said Colburn.

Grace said the $150 includes the tree, professional planting, soil preparation, watering, mulch and upkeep of the tree. “Citizens can also choose between five or six varieties of trees” said Grace.

Location choices include along streets, public rights of way, parks and at the library. The goal of the program is to make the city greener and provide the citizens with something they will want to invest in that will have a lasting impact on their city.

Twenty-eight trees have been sold thus far and the city is hoping to reach 150 to go along with the 150th anniversary.

“We’re hoping we will get great participation from the community to honor the city because Mason is worth loving” says Colburn.

Plating will begin in April if the ground is ready. Citizens can pick up a form to purchase a tree at City Hall or online at

Mason’s 150th Celebration March 9

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. 

– Jasmine Watts

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.”




Spartans walk with degrees and hop on job trail

As M-S-U students walk the spring commencement ceremony, many are hoping it will not be long before they land a job to justify years of study and living on the dime. <Watch the story here.>

Many students around MSU’s campus that are anticipating graduation, have mixed feelings about finding a job. Some students seem to have their life on track, while others aren’t sure what is in store for them.

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According to some of the individuals that I have talked to, say getting an internship was one of the most important things they think, will help to get them a job upon graduation. Networking and getting to know professionals in the field of work in which you wish to pursue, also help ensure getting a job in the market.

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It all depends on your career choice, and the market these days, but upon graduation, finding a job is one of the items you should be able to check off your list.

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Jewelry Advisors raise money for Firefighters

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Several Mason residents came out to support the Mason Fire Department March 27 at Buddies Pub and Grill at 2040 Aurelius Road in Holt.

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Kelly VanderGiessen expresses her gratitude for the support.

Supporters purchased raffle tickets and played Bingo in the hopes of winning jewelry from Lia Sophia as well as other items from local direct sellers.

Marjorie Rodgers, who has been selling Lia Sophia products since 2007, said most people recognize Lia Sophia jewelry when they see it.  

Kelly VanderGiessen, an advisor for Lia Sophia, organized the fundraiser. According to VanderGiessen, all proceeds will go to purchasing two hydrogen cyanide detectors. “Hydrogen cyanide is one of the leading killers of firemen, so we’d really like to get these for the firemen,” VanderGiessen said.

Continue reading

New website helps the search for a new home

By Brian Bobal
Mason Times staff writer

The Mason Chamber of Commerce was one of the two groups behind the website.

The Mason Chamber of Commerce was one of the two groups behind the website.

In February, the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce and the Forsberg Real Estate Company teamed up to launch a new website called The site is geared toward those moving into the Mason area. It helps them locate housing and it directs them toward local businesses.

“One thing we needed to do was to have a way to connect with some of the housing availability,” said Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Chamber of Commerce. “On our website we have apartments, but we needed something for people who wanted to buy houses.” Continue reading

Guests receive a taste of France

By Beth Waldon
Mason Times staff writer

Country House Catering served Mason residents five courses matched with five French wines Thursday evening at its banquet center at 3056 Okemos Road.


Country House Caterers prepare the French wine.

Country House Catering Chef Tom McNeil and his wife, Diane, have been in the catering business since 1979. Each month, they offer five wines with five courses, and tickets are $35 per person.

Country House Catering offered the following dishes and French wines Thursday night:

•Artichoke dip and chips served with Bordeaux Blanc
•Baby greens and bean salad served with Cotes Du Rhone white wine
•Pork tenderloin crostini topped with a cranberry sauce, and served with Cotes Du Rhone merlot
•Coq Au Vin chicken thigh on top of pecan wild rice served with Chateau Grand Rouge
•Walnut brownie with Ganache Van ice cream and chocolate sauce served with Chateau Famaey Malbec Continue reading

Rising rental cost in area don’t seem to benefit property owners

The cost of rental housing has gone up the last six months although income for owners of rental property would seem to have gone down slightly according to data compiled by the U-S Bureau of Labor Statistics. <Listen to the story>

The Bureau of Labor Statistics which measures price changes in the price of goods and services and reports the data in the form of the consumer price index or C-P-I says the cost of rental housing for a primary residence by about 1.65 percent over the span of six months during the year 2013.

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The C-P-I however shows that the equivalent take of income received by owners of rental property went down by 1.33 percent. This could mean that the value of homes may be decreasing.

MSU graduating student Katelyn Suski, says she thinks the increase in these numbers over the span of six months has a lot to do with the need for homes in the Lansing area over the span of the fall and winter months.

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“I always find that I am able to find a readily available house that is cheaper and feasible than in the summer,” said graduating senior, Katelyn Suski.

Suski says although she will graduate this May, she has had to move frequently over the last two years, living in different neighborhoods.

Suski was surprised to find out that the price in utilities at the rental houses increased by about 1.52 percent within the last six months.


Mason parks gets pedestrian bridge, make-over

A pedestrian bridge over Sycamore Creek in Mason is in the works as part of a parks improvement program. The Mason City Council passed a resolution at its March 17 meeting to authorize the city administrator to enter into a project development agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. <Listen to the story>

The Michigan Recreation Passport Grant Program has approved this the project for the development of the pedestrian bridge over Sycamore Creek and a trailhead signage to service serve as a link between trials trails and parking facilities.

City Administrator for Mason, Marty Colburn, spoke about the project at the council meeting. Colburn said it was no longer safe for cars to drive over the existing bridge.

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The total cost of the project has been estimated at the amount of 90-thousand-100 dollars, the city hopes to appropriate 30-thousand-100 dollars from the Iva Bond Trust Fund as its local match.

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Members of the council however, were reluctant to use money from the Iva Bond Trust Fund because the harsh winter months has caused high maintenance costs for the city. Mayor Pro Tem, Robin C. Naeyaert, expressed her concerns.

Due to a limit to the DNR Grant, however, the decision had to be made in order to move forward with the amendment that had already been approved. A local family however has donated money in order for the council to mitigate maintenance and reconstruction of the parks. The council has also worked to raise funding.

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Council Member, Jon Droscha, seemed to convince council members otherwise, saying that the money is there.

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The current balance of the Iva Bond Fund is at an approximate amount of estimated at more than six-hundred-thousand dollars. Council member, Elaine Ferris said maintaining the bridge should be of high priority because of pedestrian traffic.