Dart Container gives Mason a global presence and economic boost

The Dart family business that started close to 100 years ago continues to grow in the city of Mason and all over the world. Dart Bank and Dart Container Corporation are related to one another through the same family but from different lines of the family, said Mayor of Mason Russell Whipple. Dart Container Corporation was developed in Mason and has continued to grow as they start to expand internationally. Mason City Administrator Deborah Stuart said, “They’re an international corporation with businesses all around the world … with their headquarters being located here, they’re very active with volunteer work and many employees live here in Mason.”

Whipple said, “Dart Container started out as more of a general machinery kind of company and they worked their way into Styrofoam cups … obviously they hit it really well, they’re probably the biggest Styrofoam cup maker in the world, you can go anywhere in the world and tip a (Styrofoam) cup over and it says Mason, Michigan on it because they’re Dart cups and they make almost all of them here.”

Executive Vice President-Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Dart Container Corporation, Christine Waltz said “There are over 40 locations in six countries, in Mason alone there’s 1,800 people employed.” Having a company as big as Dart Container Corporation is a big stepping stone to growing a city such as Mason.

Downtown Building 402 proposed to get renovation soon

Mason’s historical downtown square is expecting a new addition, starting later this year. Although the proposal hasn’t been approved yet, The Building 402 Project is set to start construction in the summer of 2018. The project is the renovation of Building 402 of South Jefferson Street, which was previously The Baja Grille. The Baja Grille closed its doors after an electrical fire in June of 2015, according to the Lansing State Journal. Teresa Wren is the owner of Building 402 and Kean’s Store Company.

Community members fear outcome of proposed East Lansing budget cuts

East Lansing residents are concerned about the loss of city resources if budget cuts are approved. Earlier this year, the East Lansing City Council has hosted several community engagement meetings regarding budget issues and priorities in the city. There, community members were able to share their thoughts and learn more about potential budget reductions and revenue sources. City Manager George Lahanas  presented on the financial challenges from the first community engagement meeting. According to the presentation, some of the main causes for the financial stress are restrictions on the ability of raising funds for revenue at a local level and cuts in state revenue sharing.

In today’s world, student safety is a top priority for East Lansing schools

When it comes to school safety, parent Kath Edsall rarely speaks to her children about the issue. Edsall currently has five children enrolled in East Lansing Public Schools, with three more already graduated, she leaves the responsibility of educating her kids about safety up to the schools they attend. “I don’t want to panic my children, you know I’m not going to have them paranoid and scared to death about every little boogeyman,” Edsall said. “I’m not going to panic them about weapons in school, the school is doing what they need to do at this point in time and I hope for a day when we don’t have to have lockdown drills,” Edsall said. “I think (the schools are) doing everything that we need to do right now, you know my kids say they’re practicing,” Edsall said.

East Lansing takes on Michigan’s early literacy slump

A long line of people waits inside the Hannah Community Center, reaching almost all the way to the front doors. Parents with baby carriers and strollers stand chatting with each other. Children scamper up and down the hallways. The crowd has gathered for an unlikely reason: to celebrate early literacy. Early literacy is lagging in Michigan, where overall reading levels have been in decline since 2003 and only 44 percent of third-graders are proficient readers, according to 2016-2017 state assessment data from the State of Michigan Education Report.