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Mason Matters October / November 2013

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Inside This Issue:

Festo Announces Move to Mason

2012 Financial Review

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ach year, the City of Mason prepares a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This detailed report is about 150 pages long and presents a complete financial picture of the city. It is available on the City of Mason’s website, www. imaginemason.org. While this report is significant to the government and financial community, many residents do not have the time to study it in its entirety. As a result, the Government Finance Officers’ Association encourages governments to produce a Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) that is a quick summary of information in the detailed report. The data included in the Popular Annual Financial Report below provides a summary of the city’s governmental activities for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Where the Money Comes From . . .

The City of Mason receives the funding it needs to provide services to the community from a variety of sources. The table below presents a summary of the city’s revenues by primary type for 2012 and 2011. Tax revenue increased with the improved economy and economic development efforts. Despite declining support from the state, intergovernmental revenue increased due to capital grants for the U.S. 42 road improvements. Other revenue increased from a new tax increment financing district. Mason continues to be a community with stable revenue sources for providing services to the community. REVENUES (millions) Taxes Fines, Licenses, and Permits Charges for Services Investment Earnings Intergovernmental Revenue Other Revenue TOTAL REVENUES

2012 $29.3 2.2

2011 $27.0 2.0

2.1 0.2 7.8

2.1 0.2 6.5

3.7 $45.3

2.3 $40.1

—see FINANCIAL REVIEW on pg. 3 www.imaginemason.org

Mason Matters

arly this summer, Festo Corporation, a German-based leading global manufacturer of automation technology, announced that it will locate a 175,000 square foot state-of-the-art production, assembly, and distribution facility in Mason. The move will bring 250 jobs to Mason with an annual payroll of $10.3 million. Festo will build its new facility on the east side of I-71 in a 45-acre campus on Columbia Road north of Socialville-Fosters Road. The new Mason location will be Festo’s largest U.S. location. City leaders collaborated with the CincinnatiUSA Partnership, Warren County, Mason Port Authority, and JobsOhio to offer a comprehensive incentive package to the company that included loan incentives, temporary tax incentives, and health and wellness benefits through Mason Community Center. During their search for a new location, Festo leaders were looking for a site that is close to most of its customer base. They selected Mason after considering at least five other states. Mason is located within a day’s reach of 70% of Festo’s customers. Festo sent several teams of employees to look at Mason from both a company and an employee perspective. The company liked Mason’s growing community of leading international, national, and regional businesses; the supportive and innovative Members of Council showed representatives from Festo the city from the vantage point of the top of the tower at Kings Island. economic development From left: Council Member Barbara Berry-Spaeth, Dr. Claus team; and its access to two Jessen of Festo, Mayor David F. Nichols, Oliver Ring, Esteban major airports and two major Reinhart, and Richard Huss of Festo, and Vice Mayor Victor Kidd. highways with prominent property along I-71. Festo employees also liked the quality-of-life amenities such as Mason Community Center and The Golf Center at Kings Island, top ranking schools, the variety of neighborhoods, the community’s focus on health and wellness, and high-profile recreational opportunities such as the Western & Southern Open and Kings Island— all of which make a difference when recruiting talent to foster the company’s growth. “We brought in a number of employees to Mason and they really liked the area. At the end of the day, that was probably as much of the overriding decision,” said Festo CEO Richard Huss. “Folks around the world, literally, are recognizing that Mason brings the entire package when it comes to selecting a location for their company and employees,” commented Mayor David F. Nichols. “We have an unbeatable quality of place in Mason,” he said. The new facility represents a $50 million investment in land and buildings and is expected to open in 2015.

Keep the Leash Bicentennial Mason Grand / 741 Corridor Downtown Water Mains Erosion Annual Leaf Pickup Mason Manta Rays

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From the City Manager Dear Mason Resident, Sometimes, it’s best to get out of the way and let the facts speak for themselves. This proved to be the case during the successful recruitment of Festo to Mason, which you read about on the cover of this issue of Mason Matters. During discussions with Festo, the city’s economic development team provided the usual facts and figures to the company. But when it came time for company officials to visit, we got out of the way and let our business partners do the talking. Executives from a variety of companies in Mason were invited to meet with Festo employees and executives to talk about their experience in Mason. Representatives from AssureX Health, Fanuc Robotics, Great Wolf Lodge, Eric Hansen, Intelligrated, Kings Island, L3 Communications, Luxottica, Mitsubishi, Rhinestahl, Mason City Schools, and Kings City Manager Local Schools shared their insights and comments about the pro-business climate in Mason, the many strengths of the Mason community, and the overall business community. It was gratifying to hear our successful business community recognize the depth of Council’s attention to creating a uniquely progressive business environment. The Festo employees were also given a tour of Mason Community Center to help them gain an understanding of the city’s and community’s focus on health and wellness. I believe that allowing Festo to hear about Mason from the perspective of other business representatives made a strong impression on the company and helped solidify their decision to locate in Mason. I look forward to their groundbreaking later this year.

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Expect To Owe 2013 Taxes?

f you expect to owe Mason city income taxes for 2013 and city taxes are not deducted from your paycheck, the Tax Office would like to remind you that it’s time to make a quarterly payment. Please remember that ninety per cent of your 2013 tax liability is due by January 31, 2014. Please make your quarterly payment by October 31. To assist you in making your payment, quarterly estimated payment vouchers are available online. You may also choose to pay your quarterly estimate via the online tax tool. Please visit www. imaginemason.org/services/tax-information.cfm to find these forms and tools. If you need assistance in determining whether you need to make estimated payments or if you need to adjust your declaration, the Tax Office is glad to help. Please call 513.229.8535 for assistance. Also, if you filed an extension with the tax office for your 2012 City of Mason Income Tax Return, please remember to file by October 31, 2013.

We appreciate your calls, visits and e-mails to Mason Municipal Center to discuss what is going on in the city. I encourage you to call 513.229.8500 or stop in any time during business hours if you need information or assistance.

Tribute to Paul Flory

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Mason Matters

riends of the late Paul Flory gathered on the closing day of the Western & Southern Open to remember and honor Paul for his contributions to the tennis tournament. Paul first volunteered with the tournament in 1965 and began by recruiting world-class players to the event. In 1975, with the tournament facing its demise due to lack of a leader, Paul agreed to lead the event for one year. Thirty-eight years later, he was still involved as a volunteer. Under his guidance, better players began to attend, more players started coming, sponsorships increased, television coverage brought the tournament to the world, and charity contributions from the tournament grew to the millions of dollars. Paul brought the tournament to a leased facility in Mason in 1979 and secured the funding to purchase the stadium and grounds in 2002, creating a permanent home in Mason. He then guided an update and expansion of the grounds, added courts, brought a women’s tournament back to the region, and set the stage for the event to become a top venue for both men

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October / November 2013

and women players. The tournament brings over $62.5 million to Mason and the region each year while placing Mason on the world stage, where it is seen by over 60 million people in over 170 countries. The tournament has helped Mason’s business attraction and retention efforts by strengthening the city’s international presence and showcasing Mason as a global place to do business. In recognition of his contributions, the City of Mason joined tournament officials for the unveiling of a statue of Paul that will be placed on the tournament grounds next year. From left (in photo above) are City Manager Eric Hansen, Council Members Rich Cox and Tom Grossmann, Vice Mayor Victor Kidd, former Tournament Director Bruce Flory (seated), Mayor David F. Nichols, Council Member Barbara BerrySpaeth, Tournament CEO Elaine Bruening, Council Member Char Pelfrey, Economic Development Director Michele Blair, and Assistant City Manager Jennifer Heft.

City Parks: Keep the Leash

Visiting a city park is a great way for the whole family to enjoy the crisp fall days, including the four-legged members. City ordinance 505.01 states that your pet dog or cat needs to be under reasonable control of its owner or handler when out walking. This may or may not require the animal to be on a leash. (A leash IS required if the animal is in heat.) However, when you take your pet into a city park, city ordinance 963.06 states that it must be on a leash at all times. The leash cannot be longer than six feet in length. The ordinance also prohibits using a dog to hunt anywhere in the city, including city parks. Please remember to keep the leash on when you take your pet to the park.


Financial Review from pg. 1 Governmental Funds 2012 Revenue By Source Other Revenue 8%

Intergovernmental Funds Investment Governmental Revenue Earnings 17%By Source 2012 Revenue 0% Charges for Services 5%

Other Revenue 8%

Taxes 65%

Fines, Licenses, and Permits Intergovern5% mental Investment Revenue Earnings 17% above depicts the significance 0% The pie chart

2012 Tax Revenue that each source of revenue had to the city’s Taxes By Source Charges for 65% years, taxes overall financial health. As in past Services 5% were the largest source of revenue for the Other governmental funds. The second largest source Property Fines, Licenses, in 2012 was intergovernmental of revenue Taxes and Permits funds from the State of Ohio. 5% that were received14% Fire Levy Property Taxes 12%Tax 2012

Revenue By Source Income Taxes 74%

Other Property Taxes 14%

Fire Levy Property Taxes 12% Governmental

Funds 2012 Expenditures by Type Income Taxes

Community Development 9% Leisure Time Activities 6%

74% Utility Service 1%

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•  U  tility Service – Expenditures for city Income Taxes utilities paid by governmental funds 74% •  Capital Outlay – Investment for the city’s capital improvements such as road improvements and equipment replacement •  Debt Service – Principal and interest payment.

Governmental Funds 2012 Expenditures by Type Community Development 9% Leisure Time Activities 6%

Where the Money Goes . . .

The two-year comparison below for the city’s governmental expenditures shows a 1.4% decrease in operating expenditures ($27.4 million for 2012 compared to $27.8 million for 2011). The city makes continuous efforts to provide services as cost effectively as possible. The significant increase in capital outlay in 2012 is due to the U.S. 42 road improvements, which was the largest project for the year. As discussed in the revenue section, a significant portion of the capital improvements was covered by state grants. EXPENDITURES (millions) Public Safety General Government Transportation and Streets Leisure Time Activities Community Development Utility Service Operating Expenditures Capital Outlay Debt Service TOTAL EXPENDITURES

2012 $11.7 8.2 3.1 1.7 2.4 0.3 27.4 9.2 4.9 $41.5

2011 $11.8 7.9 3.5 1.8 2.5 0.3 27.8 3.8 6.3 $37.9

Expenditure Type Definitions •  Public Safety – Police, Fire, EMS, Disaster Services, and Street Lights •  General Government – functions serving the entire city including City Council, Administration, Finance, Tax Collection, Court, and Engineering •  Transportation and Streets – Public Works activities to clean, repair, and maintain public streets, traffic signals, traffic signs, and rights-of-way •  Leisure Time Activities – Parks, Park Maintenance, Recreational Programs, and Lou Eves Municipal Pool •  Community Development – Community Planning, Building Inspections, and Economic Development

Transportation and Streets 11%

Utility Service 1%

Public Safety 43% General Government 30%

The pie chart shown above provides a view of operating expenditure types (excluding debt service and capital outlay). Public Safety, including Police and Fire services, continues to be the largest share of the city’s operating expenditures. Capital Projects The following major capital projects were completed in 2012 and included in the 2012 capital investment: •  Bethany Road Sewer Force Main Relocation - $300,000 •  Outdoor Pool Improvements - $157,000 Work continues into 2013 for the following major projects: •  US 42 - $5.1 million in 2012 •  Everybody’s Farm - $1.3 million •  Alliance Drive Extension - $250,000 •  Common Ground Park Access Road $342,000 •  Storm Water Improvements - $462,000 Planning continues for the following major projects: •  I-71 and Western Row Road Interchange •  Mason-Montgomery Road at Bethany Road Roundabout •  Kings Island Drive Improvements

Mason Matters

As shown in the chart of Tax Revenue by Transportation Source, 74% of the total tax revenue and Streets Governmental Funds 2012 in 2012 came11% from the city’s 1% income tax. The Safety Expenditures by Type Public second largest source was the 5-mill property 43% Community tax levy for fire and emergency services. This Development Utility Service 1% levy expired at of 2012 and the last year 9%the endGeneral Leisure Time of collections will beGovernment 2013. (Taxes are collected Activities a year6%in arrears.) Voters30% in November 2012 approved a unique funding mechanism for the Transportation city’s emergency services. Beginning in 2013, and Streets the cost of providing emergency services will 11% PublicofSafety be supported by a combination property and 43%

income taxes. Rates for each can be adjusted annually as the need rises and falls but cannot exceed the approved maximum amount of five mills for the property tax and .15% for the income tax. The new method of funding distributes the cost of the services across property owners and business employees, both served by Mason’s Fire Department. For safety services, the income tax rate for 2013 was set at .12% and the property tax rate for 2013 (to be collected in 2014) was set at 4.4 mills.

Property Taxes 12%

2014 Calendar Winners Honored

General Government 30%to the 13 winners of the ongratulations

City of Mason’s 2014 Calendar Photo Contest! The winners were Alex Scott, Joy Kiran Challagali, Bob Behan, Keith Bookbinder, Jackie Chunko, Tyler Hirsch, Rosane Olyha, Brad Nielson, Susan Boshears, Praba Sundararajan, Barbara Lokar, Jacob Burress, and Janet Gay. The 2014 calendars were distributed at the

city’s booth at the Mason Heritage Festival in September. Remaining copies are available at Mason Municipal Center and Mason Community Center while the supply lasts. The city is grateful to the businesses that purchased ads in the calendar. Because of their support, the city is able to provide copies to residents at no cost to the city. www.imaginemason.org

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Mason Turns 200! 2015 will be a big year for Mason! Plans are already being discussed for a big celebration of Mason’s bicentennial. Organizers will need ideas, help, and resources. To help keep you informed of volunteer opportunities, events, and plans for the celebration, a telephone hotline and an e-mail address have been created. Please call or e-mail if you would like to volunteer to help with the celebration or if you have suggestions or questions about the celebration. Watch for a future announcement of where bicentennial information will be posted on the web. Bicentennial hotline: 513.229.8508 E-mail: bicentennial@masonoh.org

A Little History

On June 1, 1803, Revolutionary War veteran William Mason paid $1,700 at auction to purchase 640 acres of land in what is now downtown Mason. In 1815, he platted 16 lots on this land and named the village “Palmira.” In 1832, two years after the death of William Mason and according to his will, over 40 more lots were platted on the north, south, and west of Palmira. When the plat was officially recorded, the name of the village was listed as “Palmyra.” The name was changed to “Mason” in 1835 when it was discovered that there was already a Palmyra elsewhere in Ohio. Mason remained a small farming community for another 125 years. In the

1950s, the city quadrupled in population. By 1969, residents were looking to the future and voters approved a governing charter. The city was incorporated in 1971 after the U.S. Census confirmed that the 1970 population was almost 5,700 residents—more than enough to meet the requirement of 5,000 to incorporate as a city. Today, the City of Mason covers about 18 square miles and is home to over 31,000 people and over 500 businesses.

Mason Grand Brings Corridor Improvements to State Route 741

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Mason Matters

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for quality development under a Planned Unit Development (PUD) concept plan, giving the city more control than it would have over straight zoning and preserving the non-residential areas for future development in accordance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. In addition, the developer’s projected contributions toward a streetscape plan for the S.R. 741/Kings Mills corridor will help provide a distinctive entrance for the city. The city’s collaboration with the developer for this site is another example of leveraging private sector dollars to maximize the goals of the city for quality business and workforce development and attraction.

Almost half the property will be open green space with stormwater basins and trees. The residential portion of the development is expected to be developed first. Quality housing designed to be attractive to business executives and a skilled workforce will provide local living space in Mason’s growing technology and high tech corporate economy. Four and six-unit buildings will include 2-story apartments, and 10-unit buildings will have first or second-story apartments. All will have attached garages and some will have screened-in porches, decks, or balconies. A club house and car wash are also planned. The agreement with the developer calls

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he City of Mason looks forward to a new, quality residential and future office and commercial development in the city. Located on State Route 741/Kings Mills Road between the Shoppes of Mason and Beach Boulevard, Mason Grand will enhance the Kings Mills Road corridor and help make it an attractive northeastern gateway to the city. Mason city staff worked with the developer, Schottenstein Real Estate Group, for over a year to create a plan that enhances the city’s vision for the corridor and is consistent with the regional attractions in the area. Sinclair Community College, the Western & Southern Tennis Open, Kings Island, and The Beach draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the S.R. 741/Kings Mills/I-71 corridor each year. With the cooperation of the developer and collaboration with the surrounding landowners, this corridor is expected to be transformed into an attractive and welcoming gateway for the many residents, visitors, students, tourists, and business people who visit from all over Ohio and neighboring states. The 70-acre site for Mason Grand has been the subject of numerous concept plans since 2004. The approved plan for the current project includes 294 luxury apartments and approximately 125,000 square feet of mixed office and commercial buildings along the southern and western edges. Access to the site will be from the existing traffic signal at the Kroger drive (Shoppes of Mason), a new right-in/rightout on S.R. 741, and the existing traffic signal at Courseview Drive. A connection to Cox-Smith Road will be for emergency access only. Sidewalks and pathways are included throughout the development, including a segment of the 741 Greenway Bike Trail that is proposed in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

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reater Cincinnati Water Works will be installing new water mains in downtown Mason this fall in order to improve the reliability of the water system for residents and businesses in the area. Since 2002, an increasing number of water main breaks have occurred in the downtown area. The new water mains will reduce the number of main breaks and water outages. The water main improvement project includes the installation of new, larger water mains that will connect into a water main that was installed along Main Street in 2008 as part of the downtown streetscape project. Due to the size of the project area, construction will occur in two phases. Phase One will include Reading Road (U.S. 42) between St. Susanna and First Avenue, South West Street, Short Street, South East Street, and the southern sections of Fifth Avenue, Fourth Avenue, and Second Avenue. Phase 2 will include the remaining areas north of Reading Road. Construction of Phase One is expected to begin in November 2013 and be completed in the spring of 2014. Phase Two is anticipated to start in late summer 2014. GCWW will provide additional information to residents and businesses in the project area before construction work begins.

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Downtown To Get New Water Mains

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Fire Department Reminds You to ‘Prevent Kitchen Fires’

period of time, turn off the stove. •  W  hen you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, stay in the home, and use a timer to remind you. •  If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove. •  W hen you cook, wear clothing with tightfitting sleeves. •  Keep potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper and plastic bags, towels, and anything else that can burn away from your stovetop. •  Clean up food and grease from burners and stovetops. To learn more about preventing kitchen fires, visit NFPA’s web site at

www.firepreventionweek.org. Fire Prevention Week is actively supported by fire departments across the country. It is the longest running public health and safety observance on record.

Mason Fire Department Open Houses Sunday, October 6, 2013 Saturday, October 12, 2013 Noon to 6 p.m.* Fire Station 51 4420 Mason-Montgomery Road Fire Station 52 5500 Cedar Village Drive *The fire safety smoke house will be at Station 51 on October 6 and at Station 52 on October 12.

www.imaginemason.org

Mason Matters

uring Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, the City of Mason Fire Department will join forces with the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind local residents to “Prevent Kitchen Fires.” During this year’s fire safety campaign, firefighters and safety advocates will be spreading the word about the dangers of kitchen fires, most of which result from unattended cooking. According to the latest NFPA research, cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Two of every five home fires begin in the kitchen—more than any other place in the home. Cooking fires are also the leading cause of home fire-related injuries. “Often when we’re called to a fire that started in the kitchen, the residents tell us that they only left the kitchen for a few minutes,” said Joe Hoying, Deputy Fire Chief. “Sadly, that’s all it takes for a dangerous fire to start. We hope that Fire Prevention Week will help us reach folks in the community before they’ve suffered a damaging lesson.” Here are some of the safety tips that firefighters and safety advocates will be emphasizing: •  Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food. •  If you must leave the room, even for a short

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Erosion Concerns? Try a Riparian Buffer

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s a homeowner, there are many things you can do to practice conservation in your own backyard. When we all get involved and do our part, no matter how big or small, we do make a difference. If you own property that borders a stream and have concerns with the banks eroding and/or water quality, there are some relatively simple measures that you can take to alleviate the problems. Sometimes the erosion is too severe and steps are needed to provide restoration and protection, but if the erosion is not bad, a “stream buffer” may be the answer to your worries. Property owners who mow or weed right to the stream are setting themselves up for bank erosion problems. Turf grass has very shallow roots, which do a poor job of holding soil in place. As a result, stream banks tend to erode quickly. When natural vegetation is allowed to grow along a stream's banks, creating a stream buffer, the benefits are amazing. The vegetation in a buffer allows for better and deeper root penetration and therefore does a better job of holding soil in place. Buffers also provide many other benefits. They shade and cool the stream, which helps promote a healthy and diverse fish community. Buffers are very effective at filtering pollutants such as lawn fertilizers, animal waste, and pesticides. They also provide wildlife corridors and habitat. Ideally, stream buffers should be as wide as possible. However, any buffer width is better than none at all. The greater the width, the more positive impacts there will be for the stream. If you have any questions or would like any guidance in establishing your own stream buffer, please contact the Mason Public Utilities Department at 513.229.8570.

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Top: Severe erosion with no riparian buffer; Above: Restored stream with riparian buffer installed

Mason Renews Tree City Designation

he City of Mason was notified by the Arbor Day Foundation that it has once again been named a 2012 Tree City USA. This is the fourteenth year Mason has earned the national designation. The program is sponsored by the foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters to foster effective urban forest management. Cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, and increased property values and commercial activity are among the benefits enjoyed by Tree City USA communities. Mason joins 3,400 other communities across the nation that have made a commitment to their community through the management and planting of trees. In 2012, the city planted over 300 trees along Reading Road between Tylersville Road and the southern city limits. Another 70 damaged trees on city property were replaced.

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School Safety is a Joint Effort

s the 2013 school year begins, the safety and security of the school campus continues to be a number one priority. The City of Mason Police Department and Mason City School District staff have worked together to ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place. There have been several changes to the way Mason High School conducts business as it pertains to the safety of the students. A new procedure called A.L.I.C.E, a license reader check-in system, and a new inter-locking door system are enhancing the security of the staff and students. October / November 2013

A.L.I.C.E (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and/or Evacuate) is a new critical incident response to an active shooter in the school. The program has taken off in school districts around the nation. With the help of Mason Police Department officers, Mason High School was one of the first to implement the change. The program has been well received by the staff, students, and the community. A.L.I.C.E. is taught by School Resource Officer Karli Dyer to Mason School District staff and to children from sixth grade up to twelfth grade. The concept is discussed and practiced twice a year in each building. Along with a new emergency plan came a new way to check guests into Mason High School. All visitors must now present their

driver’s license or state ID card when checking into the building. This allows staff to check a database for possible sexual offenders and to scan the license. A badge is then printed with the guest’s picture on it. Starting in the 2014 school year, a new buzzer system to enter the front door at Mason High School will take effect. This system will allow someone in the building to view by camera all people who wish to enter—before opening the door. The Mason Police Department was pleased to collaborate with the schools to implement these extra steps. They will give staff and students an extra measure of security so they can focus on their studies instead of worrying about safety.


Annual Leaf Pickup Program 2013 Leaf Pickup: Monday, October 7 - Friday, December 13 The City of Mason provides free curbside leaf collection for residents. Here are some tips for the best service: •  Watch for orange and black signs at the entrance to your neighborhood at least two days prior to leaf collection. •  R ake the leaves as close to the curb as possible and cover them with some type of tarp. •  Please avoid raking leaves onto the sidewalk or into the street or storm sewers. Wet leaves are slippery and are dangerous to pedestrians, bicycle riders, and cars. Leaves clogging the storm sewers can cause flooding during heavy rains. •  Please do not rake twigs, branches, sticks, rocks, bottles, garden debris, etc., in with the leaves. These items can clog the machine and cause considerable delay to the leaf collection. •  Please avoid parking in front of large piles of leaves. It is difficult for the raking crew to work around parked cars. •  If you would like a load of leaves delivered to your property for compost, please contact the Public Works Department at 513.229.8580.

High School Baseball and Softball Teams Recognized

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ason City Council invited the Mason High School 2013 Varsity Boys Baseball Team and the Girls Varsity Softball Team to their July meeting so they could be recognized for their accomplishments during the 2013 season. The boys varsity team finished the regular season with an undefeated record, a first for Mason High School. The team went on to win the Greater Miami Conference Championship and was the first team in the conference history to go undefeated in conference play. The team was voted the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association State Poll Champions. The girls varsity team won the OHSAA Division I Regional Championship, qualifying for the OHSAA Division I State Final Four Tournament for only the third time in Mason High School history. This season was the tenth consecutive season that the girls team won the OHSAA Division I Southwest District Sectional Championship and the sixth time in the school's history that the team won the OHSAA Division I South West District Championship. Members and coaches of the boys team are pictured at left with Mayor David F. Nichols. Council Member Barbara Berry Spaeth (far left, lower photo) joined Mayor Nichols in congratulating the girls team and coaches.

he former Western Row Golf Course will acknowledge veterans as it is transformed into a combined residential, office, and retail Planned Unit Development (PUD). The residential portion of the site will be constructed first and occupy the eastern third of the 124-acre site. About 125 single family homes will be accessed via a boulevard off Western Row Road. Traditional single-family homes will be included along with neo-traditional homes that include front porches, wood picket fences, and rear entries. Twelve acres in the residential section will be open space, including a 7-acre park with play areas and a walking path connected to the homes by a network of sidewalks and pathways.

Planting beds will add visual interest and enhance the medians on the main entry and several pocket parks. Shrubbery and over 400 trees will be planted in both public and private areas, including street trees along all the public streets. In acknowledgement of those who have served our country, the main entry road will be called Freedom Way. Residential streets will be named after area veterans. While conceptual in nature, the property between the residential portion west to Mason-Montgomery Road is anticipated to include office and commercial buildings. As the property owner identifies new businesses, final plans for the office and commercial portion will become more defined. www.imaginemason.org

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Alverta Subdivision Salutes Area Veterans

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Manta Rays: Ten Years Strong And Getting Stronger

ongratulations to the City of Mason’s Manta Rays swim team, which recently completed its tenth season with many team and individual accomplishments. The yearround swim team of 325 swimmers ranges in age from 7 to 19 years old and in ability from the beginner to the national level elite athlete. Team highlights from the summer of 2013 include: •  Ohio Open Water Championships at East Fork Lake: Second place team •  Ohio Regional Championships: Second place team •  Ohio Junior Olympic Championships: Fifth place team •  Ohio Senior State Championships: Third place team •  Speedo Senior Sectional Championships (OH,IN,MI): Eighth place team The Manta Rays were recognized by USA Swimming as being one of the top 20 teams out of 3,000 teams in the country with the highest retention rate of swimmers. Teams selected in the top 1% were all asked to help USA Swimming help other teams find ways to increase their retention rates. The Manta Rays were also selected as a 2013 Silver Medal Club in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Program. This is a USA Swimming program that identifies and recognizes USA Swimming clubs for their commitment to excellence in operation and performance, and for their support of the sport and USA Swimming. With this award, the team received a $2,100 grant that was used to buy an underwater camera and inwater training equipment. The ranking places the Manta Rays at 68th in the nation. There are approximately 3,000

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USA Swimming teams in the United States. The Manta Rays have been awarded a level in the Club Excellence program since 2007, including the Silver Medal in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013. The Mason Manta Rays continue to be the highest ranked team in the country without access to a 50-meter pool.

Individual Accomplishments

The Manta Ray’s Zoe Thatcher, 16, has represented the City of Mason throughout the country this past year. The year began with a Eric Chen Alec Diehl Brian McNamara T.J. O’Neil John Raker Steve Russo Joanna Sauter Lea Schwietert Ashley Whiteley Gabrielle Young

Fire Department has Lunch with the Seniors

Mason Matters

arlier this year, Mason Fire Department partnered with the Mason Senior Center to reach out to senior citizens in the community. Mason Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Breen was looking for a way to provide safety information to the community’s older residents. He contacted the Senior Center at Mason Community Center to see if firefighters could visit the center to discuss ways to reduce potential injuries. He found just the opportunity he was looking for. Each Thursday, Senior Center members have a covered dish lunch. On three different weeks, members of the Fire Department arranged to bring the main dish for the lunch. They also brought a presentation. During the lunches, seniors learned about injuries from falling, stroke awareness, and burn injuries. Members of the department sat at different tables and talked with the seniors during the lunch about whatever the members at the table wished to talk about. They answered questions about the presentation, the department, and the services it provides. This program was originally designed to be part of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. It was so successful that firefighters now plan to visit on a quarterly basis.

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October / November 2013

Mason Mason Lakota West Lakota West Lakota West St. Xavier Lakota West Ursuline Springboro Ursuline

four-day training trip in January to the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to train under the USA National team coaches and to train with the best 18 and younger swimmers in the country. In June, Thatcher traveled to Ft. Myers to participate in the USA Swimming Select Open Water Camp along with 36 of the best distance swimmers in the country. They trained in the ocean, lakes, and swimming pools and learned many open water race skills. In late June, Zoe competed at the USA Swimming National Championships held in Indianapolis. Zoe was competing for a spot on the 2013 USA Swimming World Championship team that will be competing in Barcelona, Spain. Zoe finished her season in Irvine, CA, at the USA Swimming Junior National Championships, where she finished the meet with four out of six best times highlighted with a 19th place finish in the 400-meter freestyle. The Manta Rays graduated an amazing class of seniors. Almost all of the following seniors will be swimming in college on scholarships: Ohio Northern University Xavier University Miami University Ohio State University Ohio Northern University Miami University Bowling Green State University University of Cincinnati Xavier University The Ohio State University

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Mason Matters City of Mason Ohio October November 2013

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