“Friends of Kean’s” lift the store back to its place in the community

The community of Mason came together to get Kean’s Store back on its feet after smoke damage had the store out of business for months. Volunteers ranging from Knights of Columbus to the high school football team will haul displays and merchandise onto the store’s main floor this week– even businessmen have taken time off of work to help.

The fire in Baja Grill in June caused smoke damage so severe that the entirety of the store’s interior had to be rebuilt. The merchandise was soiled by the stench of smoke. Although it was a frantic situation, the process has been supported by the community the entire way.

“It’s been great having so many volunteers, it takes an army,” said Laurie Reed, manager of Kean’s Store.

The volunteers lifted storage and displayed, stocked, cleaned and brought food.

“The energy is just amazing,” said Margaret Ross, owner of the jewelry design studio in Kean’s. “Our smile muscles are starting to hurt!”

Kean’s brought in the mass of volunteers throughout the week because of its “integral and beloved” role in the community, as Ross said. Stephanie Rawson, a resident of Mason, organized a Facebook page called “Friends of Kean’s” to keep the community updated on the progress, as well as let the community know when they could help. The page received over 3,000 hits and over 40 shares. Last week, Rawson sent out the call to action.

“I’ve lived here for 40 years, and been a part of the store in different ways,” said Rawson. “Everybody who came today worked, it wasn’t just out of curiosity. People came from all over.”

Since Kean’s is an 87-year-old family business, it was very important for the team to keep original elements. Still, change was inevitable in the renovation process, and many agreed that it was for the better.

“It’s starting to come alive, it’s brand new,” said Rawson. Certain elements, though, such as the candy counter Rawson remembered growing up, were salvaged and will remain in the store.

Reed said the store should be completely up and running by Dec. 3, but hopes it will be even before then. The pain of a store being closed during Thanksgiving is immense, she explained, even for the rest of the community. Until then, Mason’s determination and hard work to put Kean’s Store back together again is paying off.

Salon 130 to sponsor food drive

By Jake Atnip
The Mason TImes

With the holidays coming, employees of Salon 130 have decided to sponsor a food drive Nov. 11 to Dec. 11.


Organizers Meaghan McKouen (left) and Kimmy Schroeder.

The employees had a meeting in October and decided to sponsor a food drive and a raffle. With proceeds going directly to The Mason Food Bank.
Stylists Kimmy Schroeder and Meaghan McKouen are coordinating the drive.

“The food banks are hurting,” Schroeder said, “there are all of these big charities that people are donating to. You kind of think of the local food banks last. Most of their donations come through schools or churches and that’s just not enough.”

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Bi-annual Rayner Park clean up


By Terri Powys
The Mason Times

Mason’s Rayner Park Rally Club is preparing for the bi-annual Rayner Park Fall Clean Up Event. Happening Saturday, the clean up continues to be a great way for the people of Mason to volunteer their time towards helping the community.

“We organize this event twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. We usually have a pretty great turn out including older community members as well as the Honors Society students that need to get some of their community service hours done. The seniors from high school typically come to the spring clean up event when they need to get their community service hours as well,” says Diann Jackman, member of the Rayner Park Rally Club.

Mason’s community almost lost Rayner Park when it was shut down five years ago but an overwhelming response from the people of Mason resulted in the park staying open. Rayner Park’s Rally Club took it upon themselves to keep the park clean and running for almost six years in order to keep the people of Mason happy. Events including graduation parties, holiday gatherings and even senior picture photoshoots are among some of the ways that Mason uses Rayner Park.

“I love that park! I was a student at the capital area career center and my new media class took field trips to that park for picnics. I have amazing memories there including a total of thirty 18-year-olds playing lava tag on the playground (it was quite the sight). I occasionally use the park for photo shoots since I am a freelance photographer. It's a great park.” says community member Bri Wiseley.

For those attending the event, it is suggested that you bring equipment with you. “Tarps, rakes, highly recommended that you bring gloves, and any extra supplies that you can bring for the people who might need them,” says Rayner Park Rally Club member Pam Lower. Young adult and children attendees will most likely spend their time cleaning up the leaves and the adults will use the leaf blowers and heavier equipment brought by the Rally Club.

Dansville gathers for community center grand opening

dansville main roomBy Terri Powys
The Mason Times

Families and members of Dansville’s community gathered last week for the unveiling of the Dansville community center. What was formerly the Dansville Methodist church has been renovated into a multi-purpose building with space for a variety of activities.

One of the most important functions of the community center is to give children a place to gather after school, whether to do homework or to spend time with friends. “The kids in town don’t really have a place to go and spend time after they get done with school. We want them to use this center as a resource for studying and just for hanging out, “ says community member and volunteer Deana Seng. Dansville’s community center includes a Coffee Time hour for adults and workers in need of a morning coffee spot. Starting during the month of November, Coffee Time runs 7-9:30 am every Wednesday.

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Dennis O’Brien honored at The Mason Tree Commission

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Countless hours spent maintaining city parks and caring for the trees at Maple Grove Cemetery has earned Dennis O’Brien honoree status at The Mason Tree Commission.

O’Brien began his career as a laborer for the Department of Public Works in May 1978. In August 2005, more than 30 years later, he retired as an arborist and superintendent of cemetery, parks and forestry.

The planting of a sugar maple tree in honor of O’Brien is scheduled for noon on Arbor Day, Friday April 24 at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Mason and open to the public.
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Proposal 1, better for Mason’s future?

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Intermodal Policy Section Manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation Rob Balmes provided a brief overview of Proposal 1 at the March 16 City Council Meeting detailing main changes taxpayers will witness if the Proposal is passed.

“Proposal 1,” Balmes said, “will increase sales tax from 6 to 7 percent, while exempting fuel purchases, if approved by a vote to amend the Michigan Constitution May 5.

Sent to ballot by the House and the Senate, Proposal 1 would trigger a series of other laws designed to maximize new investments on road funding and minimize growing tax burdens for low-income residents, Balmes said.
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Sesquicentennial ceremony program lineup

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Marlon Brown discuses the program for the Mason Sesquicentennial Anniversary Ceremony scheduled for March 9 at 6 p.m.

Brown plans to introduce the Mason 150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary Committee to begin the celebration.

After introductions, the Fire Department and 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Company B Color Guard will perform.
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Essay contest gives back to Mason Public Schools

By Maria Braganini
The Mason Times

Winners of the Mason College Club’s eighth grade essay contest will be announced at the March 9 sesquicentennial celebration. City Councilman Marlon Brown said he would present winners with a certificate bearing the city’s sesquicentennial seal.

Mason Councilman Marlon Brown and Mason College Club President Cheryl Lariviere discuss the essay contest and logistics in celebrating the eighth graders.

Mason Councilman Marlon Brown and Mason College Club President Cheryl Lariviere discuss the essay contest and logistics in celebrating the eighth graders.

The essay contest, held for Mason Middle School eighth graders, was hosted by Mason College Club and Scott Shattuck, eighth grade history teacher.

Students were asked to write a two-page prompt regarding the history of Mason streets named after families.

The club choose three winners and one honorable mention from more than 8 submissions.

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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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Knights of Columbus host Lenten fish fry

Fish Fry 2

St. James parishioners and other community members share a Lenten meal on Friday, March 21.

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

Each Friday during Lent, the Mason Knights of Columbus Council #9182 hosts a fish fry at St. James Catholic Church. Per tradition, practicing Catholics make sacrifices during Lent and abstain from eating meat on Friday as a reminder of Jesus’ crucifixion.

“We remember the 40 days when Jesus was in the desert,” said Father Kusitino Cobona, the pastor at St. James. “For us, the Lenten season is trying to be with Jesus and having the desert experience by giving up things we love to eat and love to do.”

Ten dollars buys each guest an all-you-can-eat meal of baked and fried fish, shrimp, French fries, macaroni and cheese, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, desserts and drinks. The money is donated to causes in the community. Continue reading