MMUGS creates a community of ukulele players

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

Mid-Michigan Ukulele Group Strum met on Saturday, March 22, to play and sing along to Elvis Presley songs. MMUGS founder Terry Hill said he has gotten involved in the ukulele community in Michigan and beyond. Hill visited Australia last month because of fellow ukulele players he met through Facebook. Mason resident David Birney has spent the past year making ukuleles for friends. Anyone—musically talented or not—is welcome to come to the next MMUGS meeting on Saturday, April 26.

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Mason 150 Anniversary Committee needs funds for celebration activities in 2015

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

The Mason 150 Sesquicentennial Anniversary Committee only has $40 in the treasury to spend on its 150 anniversary activities. Fundraising during the rest of 2014 is essential to have events and merchandise in 2015.

When the committee was formed in fall 2012, people were assigned tasks, such as managing the Mason 150 Tree Legacy Project, organizing the Mason 150 Club or creating a souvenir journal. Mason Councilmember Marlon Brown, chairperson of the committee, sent out a press release encouraging people to donate or become involved in these projects.

Committee chairperson Marlon Brown reviews the meeting agenda.

Committee chairperson Marlon Brown reviews the meeting agenda.

The Mason 150 Club is a fundraiser sponsored by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s 2015 events will be co-branded with Mason’s anniversary. Residents can join the 150 Club by donating $150.

Douglas Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, brought in sample merchandise—such as a coffee mug, key chain and magnetic clip—that will serve as thank-you gifts for Mason 150 Club members. The gifts will be branded with the Mason 150 logo. Brown called the products Klein’s bag of swag. Continue reading

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Changes to CATA route could improve commute between Mason and Lansing

By Daniel Hamburg
Mason Times staff writer

CATA bus stop Northbound South Jefferson Street past East Maple Street

CATA bus stop Northbound South Jefferson Street past East Maple Street

A grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is helping to gather input from citizens in Mason and Lansing about adding additional CATA bus service between both cities.

Route 46, the bus route between Mason and Lansing, runs one northbound trip daily at 7:05 a.m. from downtown Mason, and one southbound trip at 5 p.m. from the CATA transportation center in downtown Lansing.

Doug Klein, executive director of the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, said the proposed change would add one more bus in the morning and evening, possibly an hour later than both times, alleviating problems of many people working a 9 to 5 job. Continue reading

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Voracious readers meet at Bestsellers book club

Bestsellers bookstore in Mason

Jamie Robinson rings up Leigh Ferenci’s five books.

By Amanda Cowherd
Mason Times staff writer

Avid book readers attended a book club in Mason despite living in cities miles away
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, nine women attended the club, which was hosted by Bestsellers Bookstore and Coffee Co. owner Jamie Robinson. Robinson started the club four years ago.

Anyone is welcome to participate in book club and partake in the coffee and chocolate chip cookies. Though the club is based in Mason, it has members from Dansville, Okemos and Leslie.

Robinson likes reading books from local authors. Three-year member Evelyn Burgess from Mason said we need to keep authors in Michigan.

The latest book read by the club was “The Life List” by Lori Nelson Spielman, a Michigan native who plans to attend a future meeting.

Robinson, who leads the meetings as long as she has had time to read the book, said it’s not hard to keep the conversation going, even if it’s a bad book. They critique it, read background about it and sometimes have a call-in with the author. All genres are welcomed: romance, comedy, nonfiction and more. Continue reading

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The Mid-Michigan Ukulele Group Strum meet in Mason in preparation for Mighty Uke Day

By Graciella Oteto
Mason Times staff writer

The Mid-Michigan Ukulele Group Strum had its monthly meeting Saturday afternoon at Bestsellers Books and Coffee at 360 S. Jefferson St. in Mason, Mich.

The MMUGS members playing at Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. during their February monthly meeting

The MMUGS members playing at Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. during their February monthly meeting.

Terry Hill, group leader of the MMUGS has been leading the Ukulele group since 2012, with Saturday being the group’s third anniversary. The ukulele, a small 60cm instrument created in 1879, is a four-string guitar of Hawaiian origin.

The uke comes in soprano, concert, tenor and and baritone. The MMUGS use their own songbooks, they provide ukuleles if needed, plus there is no cost to join.“I don’t like sports, I play the ukulele,” said Hill.

The MMUGS, who have been at Bestsellers for a year now, according to Laura Hill, wife of Terry, recently began playing for retirees and seniors at Green Acres of Mason once a month. The MMUGS come together and play two- to- eight- chord songs that are beginner friendly and fun for the experienced. With a new theme each month, during the next meeting on March 22 at 10:30 a.m. The theme will be Elvis Presley and Friends.

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2014 Mason Gala raises money for schools

By Micaela Colonna
Mason Times staff writer

The Mason Public Schools Foundation held its annual Red Carpet Gala at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium Tower on Saturday, Feb. 1. Mason residents, faculty and students alike attended the event to raise money for Mason Public Schools. The evening consisted of silent and live auctions, presentations, dinner, live entertainment and prizes.

 The Dart Foundation and the Dart Energy Foundation were this year’s recipients of the Top Dog Award, an honor given to those who have made significant donations to the foundation and Mason schools. Last year, both organizations donated to the Mason Public Schools Foundation. This allowed the STEM Education Coalition, a program focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to be integrated into the curricula of Mason’s elementary schools.

STEM encourages the elementary students to work together and problem-solve using Legos to interactively apply science to their everyday lives. Faculty and students alike expressed their appreciation.

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Farmers market brings produce and ‘street party’ to Mason

By Abbie Newton
Mason Times staff writer

MASON — Local farmers, residents and visitors flock to Maple Street every Saturday to attend the Mason Area Farmers Market.

“To be frank, it is a street party. This is where everyone meets everybody and we get good stuff. We have an outlet for everybody who wants to get good, fresh vegetables and fruits and we all have fun.” -Elaine Ferris

Ferris was born and raised in Mason and helped start the farmers market in 2004. She said it has since gained popularity and loyal customers. “We used to have a lot more drop in for a day or two or for the corn season, or whatever,” Ferris said. “People are starting to grow specifically for the market.”

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Mason community keeps Rayner Park clean

By Andrea Raby
Mason Times staff writer

In 2010, Rayner Park should have closed. Despite its history, Ingham County no longer had the budget to keep the park going. But thanks to the City of Mason and its citizens, Rayner Park is still a place to play.

Since Ingham County’s announcement in 2010, Mason has worked closely with the Rayner Park Rally Club many other community groups and businesses to save a park that means a lot to the community.

A marker from when Rayner Park was built

A marker from when Rayner Park was built

“It’s historic in the fact that it’s the very first Ingham County park,” said City Administrator Marty Colburn. “Initially they wanted a fairly sizable sum for us to purchase it from them.”

Colburn said the city negotiated the sum down so that every year for six years, Mason pays one dollar to Ingham County. At the end that period Ingham will turn the park over to Mason for one dollar. Colburn said Ingham County was spending $44,000 a year on the park’s upkeep. Continue reading

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Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue opens farm to public

Volunteers from Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue prepare to cut the ribbon that will signify opening tours of their farm to the public

Volunteers from Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue prepare to cut the ribbon that will signify opening tours of their farm to the public

By Danielle Woodward
Mason Times staff writer

Donkeys brayed and onlookers cheered as the Mason Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting April 20 for Turning Pointe Donkey Rescue, celebrating the start of the facility’s seasonal public tours.

The nonprofit Michigan based organization gave its first public tour that Saturday as part of its mission to inform the public of the need for donkey rescue.

“Businesses and organizations in the Mason area (Mason and Dansville) are invited to be members of the chamber. The farm joined recently to boost its community awareness and networking opportunities,” said Mason Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Doug Klein.

Turning Pointe, which operates out of Dansville, is dedicated to, “the health and welfare of miniature, standard and mammoth donkeys,” according the its website.

“Our goal is to re-home donkeys and to educate potential donkey owners so they have a good idea of what they are getting into,” said Turning Pointe tour director JoAnne Sprayberry.

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