Vandals slow work at park in Mason

By Mindy Kearns - Special to the Register

MASON — Work is continuing on improvements at the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W./Lottie Jenks Memorial Park in Mason, however vandals have slowed the progress, it was told at the most recent town council meeting.

Pullins Excavating has been working on a complete renovation of the park restroom facilities. Mayor Donna Dennis said stall doors for the facilities have recently been special ordered. Workers with the Mason County Day Report have also been working at the park, painting curbs and arrows in the parking areas.

The mayor reported that the progress was slowed after juveniles drew inappropriate graffiti in the new concrete that was poured. The drawings were so deep that the town was forced to have the concrete repaired, which the mayor noted Pullins did free of charge.

Police Chief Rich Gilkey told council members his department is very close to narrowing down who vandalized the area. He stated juvenile petitions will be filed on those responsible.

The council also discussed the purchase of new, updated security cameras for the park.

The police department took a hit in the personnel department, it was announced, when one officer resigned, and another failed to meet the qualifications necessary to remain certified.

The council accepted the resignation of Officer Matt McCormick. Officer Larry Freed’s final day will be May 2. Freed, who also works as an Ohio officer, is not able to attend the police academy full time and therefore does not meet requirements necessary to be an officer in West Virginia.

Interviews have already been scheduled for two men, one a potential police officer, and the other to join the ride-along program, Dennis said.

The water and wastewater budgets for the 2017-2018 fiscal year were approved. Recorder Ciji Casto said the only major change is in the water budget. Starting in the new fiscal year, a $7,000 monthly bond payment will begin to pay for the water upgrade project.

Dennis updated the council on the upcoming wastewater project. She said the two rate increases completed by the town for the project were done so long ago, that if the project isn’t started prior to July 1, funding will be lost and the project will have to start over.

The mayor said she told the entities involved that she refused to raise sewer rates again. The project accountant is now searching for funding options to match the town’s current rates.

In other action, the council heard reports that the mayor is working with the town fire chief on a hydrant flushing program, and that the sidewalk project is on hold while the Department of Highways is determining right-of-way distances.

Attending were Mayor Dennis, Recorder Casto, and council members Becky Pearson, Bob Wing, Marty Yeager, and Sharon Kearns.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at