No-Bid Increase Recommendation Passed

By Megan Baughman
Mason News staff writer

Jon Droscha, Neal Johnson and Robin C. Naeyaert were voted into Mason’s three open City Council seats, and the recommendation to increase the bid level on purchases and sales also passed with 54 percent of Mason’s voters supporting it.

The bid level, which is set in the City Charter at $7,500, was recommended for an increase to $10,000 because a higher bid level is more reasonable in today’s society. “In today’s world, $10,000 is more reasonable.  There are many things the city is going out to bid for that is costing us more to do that then it’s worth being at that threshold,” City Clerk Deborah Cwiertniewicz said prior to the election.

Mason residents may be wondering what this bid increase means for the city.  Anything the city of Mason is looking to repair or purchase up to $10,000 would require three quotes, and the best quote would be determined and the contract awarded.  “Over $10,000 requires approval from council, so we would go out to bid, have a bid opening, take that to council, and they would approve the bid from there,” Cwiertniewicz said.

According to Cwiertniewicz, the city was not waiting on whether the recommendation was going to pass for any purchases.

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Trunk or Treat!

By Samantha Scheltema
Mason News staff writer

On  Oct. 31, 2010, children of all ages showed up at Mason First Church of the Nazarene to go “Trunk or Treating.”

“Since we are newer to the area and this is a safe environment, we thought this would be a great place for our kids to get candy,” parents Cara and Jason Rowntree said. Their 8, 5 and 2 year old all said they had fun and didn’t like hearing that they may not go out trick or treating still.

Families were standing in line for at least a half hour before they even reached the first car. Deanna Woodcock, a volunteer from the church, said that this event isn’t just for members of the church, “It’s for everyone, everyone can come and everyone does come.”

The Mason First Church of the Nazarene has been doing this event for the past ten years. They usually get around 1,300 to 1,500 kids. “It’s all donations through the church,” volunteer and member of the church Meredith Crowl said. “We send around a sign-up sheet for hot dogs, popcorn, people to decorate their cars, drinks and just about everything else.” When asked how long it took to get prepared for trunk or treat, she laughed and said “Well, we’ve been making popcorn since 12.”

“This event helps us outreach to the community,” Woodcock said. The huge line of people, not all members of the church, showed the great success of the Trunk or Treat event. The families were able to get candy, eat good food and have an overall good time with other people in an easy and safe environment.

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Mason Holds Third Annual Veterans Day Parade

By Lauryn Schroeder
Mason News staff writer

Colonel Terry Fobds stands in front of the Ingham County Court building, where the Mason Veterans Day Parade took place

Hundreds of Ingham County citizens gathered downtown Mason on Thursday, Nov. 11, to watch the third annual Veterans Day parade. Starting at 3 p.m. veterans, bands, color guards, military vehicles, and veteran support organizations, marched from Ingham County Fair Grounds to the Ingham County Court building on Jefferson Street.

Mason resident Colonel Terry Fobds has participated in Veterans Day activities for the last 30 years, and was overwhelmed by the amount of support the community provided. “It’s an honor and a privilege to walk with my fellow comrades every year,” Fobds said. “Citizens remembering and celebrating Veterans Day is so incredibly important. With the war going on right now, American Veterans need all the support they can get.”

Map of Veterans Day Parade Route Through Mason

Rick Dral (Left) and John Ghere stand in front of Ghere's military Jeep that he drove in the parade

Afterward, Legions Rider Rick Dral revealed that several of the parade participants gather at a local bar to share a “convivial hour of meditation.” In other words, the men and women that served our country come together to enjoy each others company and honor those that did not make it home.

“At the moment, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Dral said, outside of the VFW Post 7309. Address and directions seen here. “There’s really no way to describe the feeling I get, when I walk into a room with my fellow veterans. Even if I don’t know them, we automatically share a bond that goes much deeper than most friendships.”

It wasn’t until I entered the VFW Post, that I truly understood what Dral meant. There wasn’t an unfriendly face in the room, and I was instantly asked to join a table with Captain Richard Kumerow, and Denny Craycraft of the Michigan State Honor Guard.

Kumerow and Craycraft have been helping not only the those currently in Iraq, but also veterans from previous wars that have returned home.

“We all have fought several different battles in the war, but the biggest battle that we have to fight is after we come home, working to put our lives back together,” Craycraft said. “We just want to help other veterans, to the best of our ability to do the same.”

Below: Pictures and Video of Interview with Kumerow and Craycraft

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Shawhaven Haunted Farm Draws People For Halloween Season

By Megan Baughman
Mason News staff writer

Shawhaven Farm has changed its image for the month of October by turning in its crops and livestock for ghosts and vampires for the residents of Mason, along with people around Michigan, to visit.

Overview of the sheep and barn at Shawhaven Farm

The farm has been in the Shaw family since 1947, specializing in dairy for 55 years before the family switched over to beef cattle.  Year-round they offer farm tours and horse drawn wagon rides for many occasions, but during the month of October, they run a haunted barn, corn maze, and hayride for people to enjoy as Halloween approaches.  People can do all of the attractions or pick whichever ones they would like to do.  “I did all three parts of it because without doing all three parts, you won’t have as good of a time there when you would if you have done all three,” claims Megan Reilly, a freshman at Mason High School.  “My favorite part is the haunted barn, it is also the most scary for me because you never know what is going to be around the next corner.”

“I did all three of the attractions,” said Bridget Hudson, a sophomore at Mason High School, “but the haunted barn scared me the most.  I just hated it.”  Courtney Deweerd, a sophomore at Mason High School, also agreed with Hudson.  “I did the haunted barn and the corn maze and I thought they both were scary,” she said.  “I liked the barn the best, though, because the moon kind of made it so you could see what was coming in the maze.”

Not everyone was as afraid of the barn as Hudson and Deweerd.  Lexie Williams, a

The barn where the "haunted barn" took place

sophomore at Mason High School, claimed that the barn could have been a lot scarier.  “The barn scared me because it was dark and we couldn’t find our way out of a room because it had a bunch of doors, but only a few people came out and scared you,” she said.  “I feel like they could have done a better job with visual effects and costumes.  I thought it would be scarier than it really was.”

Kacie Klott, a freshman at Mason High School, thought the scariest attraction was the corn maze.  “I liked the corn maze the best because the people got right up in your face and they talked to you,” she said. “It was

The corn field where both the haunted maze and haunted hay ride took place

funny and scary at the same time.”  Williams also agreed.  “The corn maze was pretty scary,” she said.  “The scariest part was when there was a guy with a chain saw because he got so close to us.  Normally you could see the “scary” people though and you knew when they were going to pop out.  Plus they really weren’t scary looking.”

This Halloween season, if you are looking for something spooky to take part in on one of these fall evenings, Shawhaven is one place you can count on for a fright.

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Family Fun Night at Aurelius Library

By Megan Baughman
Mason News staff writer

The Aurelius Library

Jenga, drawing, and cookie decorating- the recipe for an elementary student’s dream play date.  Not to mention a popcorn relay race- anything that includes running and popcorn must be fun for young children.  Last Thursday, Aurelius Library helped this dream come true by hosting a “Family Game Night” for anyone to attend.

Kate Dobbs, a library assistant at Aurelius Library, says she likes to put on events like this to bring the community together.  “We did this because we want to be able to reach out to the families in the community and let the library be a place where they can come and have a good time,” she said.  “In addition to using the library as a resource for books and media, just to come and have fun at the library.”

Walking around watching the kids play, there was one boy named Carter who was finding

A few of the board games and cookies

everything fun, even when he didn’t know how to do it properly.  When asked about the two cookies he decorated, which bore multiple colors of icing, he answered, “This one’s a face and this one’s an abstract.  I don’t know which one to eat first!”

Watching the kids play games, decorate cookies, and color pictures of creatures that don’t exist goes to show that Dobbs has a knack at bringing the community of Mason together.

For other events happening at the Aurelius Library, visit their events page.

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Folk band ‘Gifts or Creatures’ performs at Bestseller’s

By Allie Jarrell
Mason News staff writer

(From left to right): Bethany Foote, Chris Hamilton, and Brandon Foote

Folk melodies and the fragrance of fresh coffee melded into a sweet harmony last Saturday at Bestseller’s during a performance by the band Gifts or Creatures.

The concert was arranged by the Capital Area District Library’s marketing department, but it was the decision of Mason’s Head Librarian Sheryl Bass to hold the performance at Bestseller’s.

“I’m trying to partner as much as possible with local businesses so that the Mason Library is associated with good things going on in town,” Bass said. “Visibility is really important in smaller communities.”

Gifts or Creatures consists of married couple Bethany Foote on piano and vocals, and Brandon Foote on vocals and guitar. They have joined forces with with Chris Hamilton on bass and percussionist Ty Forquer.

'Gifts or Creatures' performing at Bestseller's

Bethany and Brandon are Lansing residents who are also involved with Earthwork Music, a Michigan collective that advocates for environmental awareness through the arts. They formed the band in January 2010, and are influenced by artists like The Band and Paul Simon, as well as local Michigan acts like Theme & Variation and Steppin’ In It.

“Folk music is deeply rooted in our history as people,” Brandon Foote said. “It’s not only a means of personal expression, but the utmost format of communication. It transcends age, race and gender. Our influences run deep.”

The couple said that they were “thrilled to play for the CADL Concert Series last week.”

“We’re big fans of local business and the local library system. It’s essential to support independent retailers and organizations,” Brandon Foote said. “Knowing where your dollar is going in our world today is key. We have a means to help our local economy flourish when shopping at independent retailers.”

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Grebner reelected as Ingham County District 10 Commissioner

By Allie Jarrell
Mason News staff writer

Mark Grebner, the Democratic incumbent of Ingham County’s District 10, was reelected as the county’s commissioner following the Nov. 2 election.

According to Ingham County’s official website, 1,305 people voted in the election for the District 10 commissioner. Grebner received 948 votes, about 73 percent of the vote. Republican candidate Nick Kowalski received 352 votes, close to 23 percent of the vote.

Grebner said that during his campaign he mailed out three pieces of literature to roughly 3,000 voters in the area. Since the district is overwhelmingly Democratic and his opponent was “way off on the right,” Grebner was confident that he would remain the District 10 commissioner.

“I’ve been on the Board so long that elections are like mileposts on the freeway,” Grebner said. “They go by, but you don’t have to do something special when you pass one.”

Grebner chaired the Finance Committee this year and will continue to focus on addressing budget issues. He hopes to chair the Board in 2011.

“We’ve just finished a difficult budget, and next year’s will be at least as difficult,” Grebner said.

Kowalski said that he enjoyed the experience of running for office and learned a lot from it. He said that it would have been nice to see a greater student turn out, and that looking back, he would’ve dedicated more time to the ground game, as well as further educating students as to who actually represents their voice in county government.

“I fear that many amongst the MSU community…are not aware of East Lansing’s career

voting for District 10 Commissioner in Akers Hall

politician,” Kowalski said. “The students should hold their public officials accountable for their actions even if they are virtually guaranteed reelection.”

Kowalski’s future plans include attaining his undergraduate degree from MSU, followed by law or graduate school. He said that his interest in public affairs will not cease.

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