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Ingham County Share reader comments online www.InghamCounty Look for In Your Voice at the bottom of the story Community News TM Your very own newspaper serving Mason, Leslie and Onondaga Vol. 145 - No. 8 © 2010 Lansing Community Newspapers November 14, 2010 Mason schools ‘Yonkers’ comes to Mason count down By CHRISTIE BLECK MASON — New York accents and dialogue written by noted playwright Neil Simon will fill the Mason High School stage Nov. 18-20 as students perform “Lost in Yonkers.” The play will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Mason High School Auditorium, 1001 S. Barnes St. Vocal/drama teacher Helen Hansens said the play centers on a family in Yonkers of which the grandmother is a German-Jewish immigrant. “She raised her children in the United States, so each of her adult children has a little quirk,” Hansens said. Although she acknowledged that there are comic parts in “Lost in Yonkers,” the production is unique for the high schoolers because they’re digesting experiences well beyond their years. Hansens said she had to work with the actors so they could access those experiences. For example, Abi Combs, who plays the grandmother, had to learn a German accent. “One of the things I’ve said is, ‘talk with your parents and talk about the losses you’ve had in your life,’” By CHRISTIE BLECK | MASON — The recently released fall membership count for Mason Public Schools is cause for concern among board members and staff. The official unaudited count, which took place Sept. 29, showed a full-time equivalent count of 2,935.34 for the district for 2010-11, down from 3,027.08 in 2009-10. Kindergarten sees big drop Christie Bleck Mike Hyatt (left), J.J. McCarty and Olivia Hayhoe rehearse a scene from Mason High School’s production of “Lost in Yonkers.” Hansens said. Zach Riley, who plays Eddie in “Lost in Yonkers” — his seventh Mason High School production — said he’s playing a character who has a “lot kept inside him.” Riley, however, is enjoying the experience. “It’s really great, and it’s been a very new path, I guess,” he said, “with trying to figure out my character and trying to figure out his story.” If you go 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 18-20 Mason High School auditorium; (517) 244-6416 Other principal actors include Mike Hyatt as Jay, J.J. McCarty as Arty, Olivia Hayhoe as Aunt Bella, Myah VanWormer as Aunt Gert and Stu Shattuck as Uncle Louie. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors (there will be no charge for seniors with an Gold Pass available in the school’s Family Services office). For tickets, visit or the Family Services office, or call (517) 244-6416. A particularly big decrease came in kindergarten, from 226 last school year to 167. At the school board’s Nov. 9 meeting, Vice President Ralph Beebe said that drop “struck” him, and Superintendent Mark Dillingham agreed. “It was a shocker at 167,” said Dillingham, who expressed hope that number eventually would rise to 180. Dillingham surmised that some parents held back their children who would have started kindergarten, instead placing them in pre-school or Early Learning programs. Dillingham also pointed out that since 2000, the birth rate in Michigan had declined 21 percent in Michigan. Total state aid for Mason is $19 million, or 70 percent of the district’s budget, Dillingham noted in a Nov. 10 e-mail. A total of 23 percent comes from local revenue, and 7 percent comes from the federal funds. The district originally budgeted for a loss of only 57 students this year, Dillingham wrote. “The loss of students represents about $145,000 in state funding. Fortunately, Mason will be able to use EduJob’s money (stimulus dollars) from the federal government to offset the loss of students this year.” The EduJobs money, according to Dillingham, eliminated the need to take the money out of fund equity or to implement budget cuts this up to this point in the school year. NEW AND EXCITING RENOVATIONS ARE UNDER WAY AT THE LJ-0100046187 OAK PARK YMCA. Ask about our membership construction special! Oak Park YMCA 900 Long Blvd., Lansing Just south of I-96 off Cedar St. 517.827.9700 How to reach us: Advertising: 517-377-1141 Circulation: 866-226-1812 News: 517-541-2504 Classifieds: 877-475-SELL or 877-391-SELL

Ingham County Community News

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