First grade girl holds learning packet.

Charlotte students, staff adjusting to COVID-19

Lacy Jewell, like many seniors at Charlotte High School, said that in the past few weeks, she’s learned to not take anything for granted. She said she’s been dreaming about end of high school experiences,such as prom and graduation, her whole life. “I would give anything to go to school at 7:30,” Jewell said. “I think we’re all realizing that we’re not going to take the little things for granted anymore.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order April 2 to close Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year. Since then, Charlotte Public Schools has been providing  students with academic preparation from afar.

Stack of homemade face masks

Local healthcare facilities focused on preparedness, supplies

According to John Foren, director of marketing and communications at Sparrow Health System, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitelaw mer’s governor’s stay-home orders have helped its hospitals react quickly to the crisis. Foren said Sparrow has been planning its preparation efforts around the clock for approximately three weeks now, in collaboration with various health departments as well as the Michigan Hospital Association.

Stacked restaurant chairs

Local restaurants, bars search for support amid COVID-19 restrictions

To impede the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer enacted an executive order March 14 to temporarily close eat-in bars and restaurants and transition them to take-out only. Many local businesses will be affected. Two owners of affected businesses in Charlotte spoke about what community members can do to help.

5 kids sit next to dog kennels and read books out loud.

Animal shelter invites kids to read to adoptable pets

The Ingham County Animal Control and Shelter is inviting Mason’s children to read to adoptable pets at the shelter’s new readership program, S.P.A.C.E. Tails (Sheltered Pets Assisting Children’s Education). 

Starting in December the shelter has been inviting children ages 6-16 to read to dogs and cats. The program is offered in collaboration with the Mason Library, which provides one free book to each child who attends. Volunteer and Foster Coordinator Lauren Yunker said S.P.A.C.E. Tails is a part of the shelter’s overarching enrichment program. Interactions with children mentally stimulate the animals, as they spend most of their time bored and stressed at the shelter. 

“A lot of them calm down when they’re being read to. Some of them tend to be more kennel reactive, they may bark when visitors come by.

Roger Bauer stands in his driveway, across the street from a city park, smiling.

Mason seeks community input on parks plan

Ally TelforRoger Bauer, a retired Mason resident, said many neighborhood children love playing at Laylan Park, which he lives across the street from. For two years, the City of Mason has gathered input from citizens regarding parks and recreation improvement projects, and now it is ready to put them into action. The city offered an online survey and information about the plan through its Facebook page, email and notices in the Ingham County Community News. On Jan. 14, the Planning Commission recommended the plan be adopted by the City Council.

Ingham voters to decide on special education funding

Ally Telfor

On March 10, Ingham County voters will vote on restoring special education taxes that were approved in 1988, but have been almost eliminated by tax limits. A yes vote on the Headlee Amendment restoration on March 10 would bring the tax to the full amount originally approved by voters. 

According to Deb Disbro, director of special education for Mason Public Schools, “This millage is very important because it’s restoring the millage funding for special education services, and special education is a very mandated service that we legally must provide, and it is not 100% reimbursed” by the state. Disbro said the cost of special education now exceeds what the state calculates to be the cost of educating special education students. She said the millage will help pay for what the department is already providing its special education students. “This isn’t going to make it 100% reimbursed yet, but it will help,” she said.

Side view of one of Mason's fire engines.

Mason getting $840,000 fire truck

The City of Mason’s new fire truck will be added to their current fleet of tankers and engines. This isn’t the first time that the City of Mason has purchased a custom-built fire truck from Spartan Motors. The department has other custom-built tankers and trucks.Emily Bartlett is one of two female firefighters on the 33-person team. Volunteer firefighters are on-call at all times and must rush to the fire house whenever they are paged. The Mason Fire Department is getting a brand-new, custom-made fire truck.