Originally published: May 12, 2017

Kitty Brew Cat Cafe has become a popular location for teenagers to hang out, study, and receive their fix of cat cuddles.

The cafe is divided in half; one side is a coffee shop and the other an adoption rescue center. There are 12-15 cats at a time at Kitty Brew Cat Cafe, and all are adoptable. It is 10 dollars to play with the cats for 50 minutes and all of the money is directed back to the cats for food and litter. Kitty Brew owner Jenni Barrett said she decided to open Kitty Brew because of her passion to help animals.

“I’ve always loved animals,” Barrett said. “I thought, ‘This is kind of fun trapping feral cats’, so I started trapping, and then I ended up with foster kittens. I fell in love with rescue. Then I saw an episode of ‘Shark Tank’ where a girl had pitched a cat cafe. I didn’t know what it was, so we did the research (and) decided it was a good idea. 18 months later, here we are.”

Barrett said she hopes to be able to expand Kitty Brew in the future, and to be able to continue to provide homes to felines in need.

“I hope we can adopt out as many cats as possible,” Barrett said. “I (also) hope we can maintain the presence we have in Mason.”



Originally published: April 13, 2017

The Mason City School District will be getting a makeover in 2018.

The largest part of the renovations will be at Mason Middle School, which was originally built in 1959 and used as Mason High School. Students will not be able to stay in the middle school during the construction period – technology upgrades will occur, the cafeteria will be relocated and expanded, new finishings will be added, and building access and security will be updated, along with roof replacement and a parking lot upgrade.

Two plans could occur: the eighth grade class of 2020 will be divided with some attending Western Row, while others move to the high school. This is while construction takes place at the middle school during 2018-2019.

The second plan would be to hold off a year and transition the middle school during 2019-2020, still dividing the eighth graders. If the plan of waiting a year takes place, Western Row will remain vacant during the 2018-2019 school year. Current sixth graders will be affected if the district chooses no pause year; current fifth graders if the pause year is taken. Either way, seventh graders will attend Western Row. Once all renovations have taken place by 2020 or 2021, Western Row will close.

Beginning the summer of 2017, renovations to the Mason Early Childhood Center will begin. These include adding 12 new classrooms, renovating the gym, cafeteria and adding office and small group spaces. While second graders are currently split between MECC and Western Row, all pre-k through second grade students will move to MECC after these renovations.

Mason Intermediate will also undergo renovations, and will begin to house students grades third through sixth. Traffic circulation will updated, along with adding a playground, specialized office spaces, and additional parking.

The Mason City School District saved $700,000 a year by closing Mason Heights in 2012. The class sizes of Mason are shrinking, with the class of 2018 having a class size of 920, compared to the class of 2030 with only 690 students.

The total cost of the project is $42.2 million, but the district will receive $33.7 million from the state of Ohio. According to superintendent Gail Kist-Kline, $8.5 million will be needed for the renovations, but no new tax levy will be required.

Mason Middle School Assistant Principal Mark Murzynowski said administration will need to look at how the eighth graders will be distributed, and who will be moved to what location.

“We have to be very careful about it, so we minimize anything going to affect each individual student, so the change is going to be as little as possible for them,” Murzynowski said. “We’ve got to lend an ear, and look at options, because there are some individuals who are ready to come to the high school in eighth grade, even seventh grade, where there are some who need the smaller location and environment.”

About a quarter of MMS teachers will go to the high school, with the rest relocated to Western Row. Murzynowski said administration would like to integrate the eighth grade students at the high school into high school classes such as Band, Orchestra, Chorus, or Health.

“We’re going to be trying to get (the eighth graders) into a pod, maybe even a floor,” Murzynowski said. “These are all preliminary things.”

Community parent Monique Mattingley has children who will be affected by the upcoming changes. Mattingley said although these are large changes, she believes Mason has planned well.

“It was very informative to see how the operating budget and the other budget were two different things,” Mattingley said. “It is good to see Mason has planned ahead and their facilities have already planned for improvements.”

A Mason City Schools Town Hall was held on March 15 to address the community about the upcoming changes, and for community members to provide feedback. Mattingley said the reason she came to the town hall was to have her concerns addressed and answered.

“I have felt in the past that Mason is huge,” Mattingley said. “Sometimes students can get lost because it’s so big. One of the reductions (the middle school) did was get rid of teams. I had two kids go through who had the teams, and now I have a daughter who is going through who does not have them, and I saw what that did to her schedule. It meant she hopped all over the school. Some of the concerns I have are making sure the district is looking at some of those logistical issues with having such a huge school and trying to make it not feel like a huge school.”

Community member John Meyer said his kids have graduated from the Mason School District, yet he believes there are still issues not yet worked out with the upcoming changes.

“I don’t think it will affect our community one way or another,” Meyer said. “One of the things I am not fully understanding is that we have closed two schools –  we closed Mason Heights and now we will close Western Row, and then we build on smaller classrooms and smaller additions. What that tells me is the population of the students is shrinking. I’m not sure in the overall aspect if this is a good investment to close schools and then add additions on. But that’s why the community is involved.”

Murzynowski said ideas presented by the community and students are accepted, as plans for the renovations to the district are still in the beginning stages.

“What we need to do is be careful at what we’re looking at using as far as a facility,”  Murzynowski said. “When we initially started looking at it, we looked at the big picture of things, but then we started to talk to people and they started bringing up things like restrooms and lockers and space. We have to consider all of these things before we finalize anything.”


Feature, News

Originally published: March 17, 2017

Valedictorians be gone.

Starting in 2018, the Wake County School Board of North Carolina will stop naming Valedictorians and Salutatorians. The 25 high schools, varying in class size from 100 to 600, will switch to the Magna Cum Laude and the Summa Cum Laude honors. To receive cum laude, students would need a 3.75 to 4.0 GPA, for magna cum laude a 4.0 to 4.249 GPA, and for summa cum laude a 4.25 GPA or higher.

Other schools across the nation have forgone naming Valedictorians, such as a cluster of schools in Arizona – Deer Valley Unified School District, Glendale Union High School District, Mesa Public Schools and more –  along with the Parkland School District in Pennsylvania.

Wake County School Board member and policy chair Jim Martin said the reasoning behind the decision to stop naming Valedictorians was because of many reasons, including students cheating the system, varying class sizes, and students not fulfilling the true purpose of learning.

“We see from many places that there are a lot of people who play the system,” Martin said. “It’s not based just on your GPA; it’s based on your weighted GPA. People try to gain the system by taking the greatest amount of AP classes they can to get the highest weighting. What an educator cares about is learning, not gaining.”

Martin has been a chemistry professor at North Carolina State University for 23 years, and he urges his students to take a wide range of classes that will prepare them for the future, not just classes to stack up a GPA.

“From an educational standpoint, I want you to take AP classes, but if you can (take) a home economics class, a cooking class, a shop class, you’re going to learn about design and how to use tools,” Martin said. “Which frankly I’m going to need (these skills) if you’re going to work in my lab. That’s part of it being a well-rounded, educated person.”

Martin said his ultimate goal in the decision to stop naming Valedictorians was to help create a better education for the Wake County school district.

“What we’ve got is a system that rewards certain classes with higher weighted GPAs, and so you get people taking four, five, six AP classes in a year mainly to weight and not because they’re really trying to learn the material,” Martin said. “It becomes a game to pass the test, and a game to weight your GPA. By taking away the weighted GPA gaining incentive, the goal is hopefully more people will take a breath of courses, which will actually end up in stronger and better education.”

Mason Class of 2015 co-Valedictorian Allison Yan is a sophomore at Harvard University studying Human Evolutionary Biology. Yan said that when she was in high school, pressure from her peers to take rigorous classes was evident.

“My friend group really cared about (being at the top), and that’s why I cared,” Yan said. “But in retrospect, I honestly feel like you should take classes that you want to spend time in, and do well in those, rather than trying to stack your GPA in the best way.”

Class of 2016 Valedictorian Alvin Zhang is currently attending The Ohio State University studying mathematics and computer science. Zhang said in his speech at graduation that he wishes he had taken more time to enjoy high school, and less to stress about academics.

“If I had the opportunity to go through high school again – I wouldn’t take it,” Zhang said. “But if I were absolutely forced to do it over, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to become valedictorian. I regret spending the countless hours locked up in my room doing homework, enduring tireless nights of reading an entire chapter from APUSH and possibly, this speech. I truly wish I could replace all that time with meeting more people and making new friends, doing more community service, discovering passions, and basically doing anything that would make me happier than studying just for a better grade.”

Yan said that the competitive minds of Mason students prepared her for Harvard, and she believes success in a large school is crucial despite the rigourous culture.

“The culture at Mason is ‘Do what your friends are doing’,” Yan said. “The herd mentality and the collective culture of ‘We have to suffer together’ is what is most dangerous to Mason right now. If the culture were still the same, I would have done it again, but if they took away this ranking system, I would have taken electives and enjoyed my life a little more.”

Assistant Principal Shanna Bumiller said Mason names a valedictorian because of the tradition it holds. She said the administration recognizes the pressure placed on students to do well and succeed.

“It certainly creates a lot of pressure, and at Mason High School, we want kids to be about learning,” Bumiller said. “We don’t want to kids to be about a grade. We want you to pursue learning opportunities not because it is weighted or unweighted.”

Bumiller said being a Valedictorian or Salutatorian is a way to recognize and honor students who have done tremendous work academically, and regarding future conversations, the administration would like to listen to everyone.

“We see it first hand,” Bumiller said. “We see what you’re going through. We want to help you achieve all what you want to achieve in high school. It is a large decision, and it’s out there. We’re making small strides.”



Originally published: January 27, 2017

On Monday, December 19, 2016, Financial Literacy teacher Jennifer Striker proctored her final exam to her students. Midway through the exam, the internet connection went down and more than half of the students lost their exams.

Striker said she was fortunate to have a paper copy of her exam.

“I could immediately give it to the students to have them keep working and complete their test by pen and paper,” Striker said. “It definitely rocked the students because they didn’t know if their computer was going to go out next. The students that had to take the test by paper had to restart to question number one because I had no way of verifying if they had completed (a) portion of test, or if the computer had actually recorded it.”

Sophomore Kaitlyn Langbein was taking her Financial Literacy exam when the internet went down. She was on question 88 out of 100 and had to retake the entire test.

“It just stopped working, and my whole page froze,” Langbein said. “I freaked out and had to try five different computers to get it to work. It happened to two other people, and then it got to the point where I had 30 minutes left in the class period, so (Striker) printed out a paper copy, and I had to restart.”

Honors Accounting teacher Debra Gentene also had similar issues for her final exam. The test was administered online with 101 total students enrolled in the class.

“We use software that is internet based,” Gentene said. “(When the internet went down), many (students) had lost their connection, but several of them had finished. It required a little bit of effort on my part, as I had to go back and change some of the parameters so they could access it again. The exam was a little compromised because the students were able to see the content.”

Gentene said that because the internet was down for most of the first bell final exam, her students who did not finish had to retake the final at a later time.

“It’s kind of pain at the time because it’s one of those moments where you feel like a deer in the headlights as a teacher, because you have 202 eyes staring at you, but if the students know most teachers, we aired in their favor and did everything we can, because it’s not their fault,” Gentene said. “The benefit to me was I had the ability to change some of the problems without having to recreate the entire test because the software is algorithmic.”

Assistant Principal Dion Reyes said the internet provider for Mason High School is the Southwest Ohio Computer Association (SWOCA), and when the internet went down on exam day, it was not on the school’s end but SWOCA’s.

“What happened on that specific day, there (was) a denial of a service attack,” Reyes said. “It is someone telling a bunch of different servers to send a bunch of information at once to SWOCA. On that day, there was an individual that specifically attacked SWOCA which affected the internet access to multiple school districts. This is a safety protocol that keeps our internet access safe and clean of viruses. It was nothing on our school’s end or the district’s end that we could have done differently.”

Mason City Schools Chief Innovation Officer Jonathan Cooper said the internet went down on exam day as safety protocol from SWOCA not because of issues within the internet itself.

“SWOCA made an executive decision to cut off internet access to the districts of its service,” Cooper said. “When they have an attack on their districts of service, they go into a protocol to keep us safe.”

Cooper said the Mason City Schools District invested approximately $250,000 to upgrade the wifi system and infrastructure. If an attack were to happen again, Cooper advises teachers is to always create a contingency plans for online testing and to be flexible. State mandated tests also have regulations set in place for situation where the wifi does go down, which allows students to retake the standardized test.

“We work closely with SWOCA to proactively protect our infrastructure from harmful internet attacks and provide safe online learning experiences for our teachers and students,” Cooper said. “When they identify an attack on the system, it hits them before us. It’s a safety firewall, and they would shut off (the attack) so we don’t have the attack on us.”

During winter break, Cooper said the entire infrastructure of the wifi was upgraded – the bandwidth of the wifi was upgraded from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabytes, along with all 220 of the access points replaced. The new system can now view the phones on the network, and disconnect idle cell phones to allow new students to connect. A splash page with terms of agreement has also been added as a proactive safety measure.

“The reason we have splash page is so we know what guests we have in the building, so if we ever had someone do something that is really damaging to our buildings infrastructure, we now know possibly where it came from,” Cooper said. “It’s also to let everyone know that you have now entered into school online experience which comes with school expectations, and once you accept, you’re agreeing to act as a responsible digital citizen honoring the  rules of the school.”




Published: October 21, 2016.

Heroin addicts are dying to get their fix. Literally, they are dying.

It starts with shallow breathing, confusion, loss of consciousness. Respiration stops, the lungs stop, the heart stops, then death.

In search of that next euphoric high, heroin users have encountered something they didn’t bargain for when they inject themselves with heroin laced with carfentanil, a synthetic opioid approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, a strong opioid pain medication. Recently, drug dealers have been cutting heroin and lacing it with carfentanil. Carfentanil – often used to tranquilize large animals such as elephants – is lethal to humans, said Mason Police Lieutenant Jeff Burson.

“It’s everywhere,” Buron said. “It seems to be like the drug of choice right now, and hopefully we will get away from it. It’s a big issue.”

Burson said carfentanil gives the same type of effect as heroin, but is incredibly potent and cheaper to buy.

“It’s only been here for a very short amount of time, but the problem is that it’s thousands of times more potent than heroin,” Burson said. “If a user uses the same amount that they would in heroin, then it’s going to shut down the body. Respiration stops, lungs stop, and then once the lungs stop, the heart stops and it causes death.”

Cincinnati Police Department Public Information Officer Lieutenant Steve Saunders said the introduction of fentanyl and carfentanil has been a fairly new phenomenon to the Cincinnati area and the surrounding suburbs.

“I think drugs being an inner city thing may be more of a myth, especially when it comes to heroin or opioid addiction,” Saunders said. “A lot of people seem to get hooked on opioids through prescription drug medications. When those (prescription medications) are no longer available, people turned to other forms like heroin.”

Death by overdose

Doyle Burke, Chief Investigator for the Warren County Coroner and Medical Examiner, said up until 2015, heroin deaths lagged far behind prescription drug deaths and cocaine deaths. Now with carfentanil added to the mix, Burke said more heroin and carfentanil deaths are expected.

“People are used to taking heroin with a modest degree of fentanyl in it, but then they get (carfentanil) and it’s much more deadly,” Burke said. “We have not seen that much carfentanil in Warren County; we have two cases that are pending. What occurs is when there’s an overdose death like this, we typically bring them in for autopsy – that initially takes a couple hours. But the toxicology report is what is of interest here. That can take eight weeks, sometimes even longer. We have had 42 confirmed overdose deaths this year. By the time we get the toxicology report back on what we have in the lab timeline, we will probably have about 56, which is a lot for Warren County. The vast majority of it is heroin and fentanyl.”

Financial nightmare

Burke said heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil have a residual effect on Mason, such as increased crime rates and the use of valuable community resources. In order to combat the problem, autopsies of overdose deaths are needed to prosecute the people dealing heroin. An average autopsy costs $1,500, and with 56 deaths expected this year, around $84,000 will be spent on overdose autospies alone in 2016.

“It affects all areas, especially urban areas, in a way people don’t realize,” Burke said. “The average Emergency Medical Services run has four medics that go; they always send a (Halligan bar, an iron tool) out as well in case they have to break down a door to get to the person. That’s not free. That costs a lot of time and resources. There is crime involved with this because the narcotics trafficking is illegal, but I’m talking about the residual effect of theft. Even though heroin is relatively inexpensive, it’s not free. It creates more crime, it creates more loss, it creates a high usage of resources in a community. It costs a lot of money.”

Saunders said the introduction of carfentanil has led to increased overdose runs throughout Cincinnati.

“It’s really brought to the surface how big the heroin addiction in this area really is,” Saunders said. “When we were having an average of four overdose runs per day, we had a period where we were making 20 plus overdose runs a day. When you compound the problem that much, it really identifies a lot of people are using and when they start using something as dangerous as fentanyl or carfentanil, it magnifies the problem because a different mixture of the drugs on the street are now being used.”

Burke said with increased overdoses, the police and fire departments have to allocate their resources in different ways.

“Mason is fairly affluent; Warren County itself is fairly affluent,” Burke said. “But it’s only so much. You get other areas that are not as quite affluent and have two medic units in a township, and one of them is tied up on an overdose, and the other goes out to a traffic accident. Then grandma drops over from a heart attack, and there is no one available. They have to come from another area and take even longer, and those are the things that people don’t think about. It affects everyone.”

Burson said heroin and carfentanil are shipped out of Mexico and South America, then transported to larger cities. From the larger cities, it makes it way to the suburbs where it’s destructive impact is felt throughout the community.

“Carfentanil has been (in Mason) within the last few months,” Burson said. “Its shipments have come out of Dayton and Cincinnati and have been adulterated, or cut, with (heroin). A heroin user doesn’t operate just in a vacuum. A heroin user will do anything it takes to get their drug. If that means stealing from their own family, going out and stealing to get money to buy heroin, (they will); you hear about people who are driving around drug-impaired with their kids in the car; they leave their kids with people they don’t know to go buy heroin. It’s destructive to the community as a whole. We’ve had cases here recently, and a drug-related death yesterday. It’s been one day since we had our last (death). Here in Mason. We’re a relatively small community, but no one is immune from it, and we are definitely suffering our losses from it as well.”

Law enforcement at risk

Police officers are aware of the impact of carfentanil and heroin, Burson said, and take extra precautions when dealing with drugs. All police officers must use gloves for any contact with drugs, and all drugs must be packaged in multiple layers. Carfentanil and heroin could also be spread transdermally, or through the membrane of the skin. This could easily affect an officer just as it would the drug user.

Saunders said that police dogs are also now at risk when brought onto drug scenes, because if a dog sniffs carfentanil, it could die.

“We have received a great deal of training from the Drug Task Force, and then also from the State Attorney Generals Office on handling precautions,” Burson said. “We used to do field testing, where we would take test kits to take a small sample, but we don’t do field testing anymore. Lots and lots of precautions are taken because it can be deadly for us too.”

Police officer and law enforcement are now at threat, Burson said, because sellers will do anything they can to protect their product, and users will do anything they can to get their next high.

“Heroin-impaired people are usually docile and passive, but because they’re willing to do anything to get their drug, it becomes dangerous for us if it is mixed with anything like fentanyl or carfentanil,” Burson said. “It becomes fatal to anyone who comes in contact.”

Time for a change

Burson said that because traditional law enforcement is not working, he believes there should be a change to help users receive treatment.

“We as a law enforcement community are going to have to come up with better ways to enforce this,” Burson said. “The traditional arrest and prosecution isn’t working; it’s not going quickly enough. We’re going to have to come up with a treatment to help people.”

Burke said combating this epidemic is going to take time, and will require help from all forms of law enforcement.

“We’re doing everything we can,” Burke said. “Every year, a third as many people are dying because of this. Look at what the residual effects would be. Something has to be done. We’re offering treatment, but it’s a tough war to fight. This is not going to be an overnight fix – it’s going to take a lot of time. Everyone is used to identifying a problem, targeting it, and dealing with it, and eradicating it and being done. This is not that simple. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of effort by a lot of different agencies, not just the police.”

The Drug Policy Alliance said Ohio House Bill 110 is a new law which encourages witnesses to overdoses to call 911 for help and went into effect on September 13. This law, commonly known as the “911 Good Samaritan Law”, exempts witnesses from arrest and prosecution for minor drug charges and alcohol law violations. Good Samaritan Laws, however, do not protect people from arrest for other drug-related charges such as drug-impaired driving or drug trafficking. Twenty states and the District of Columbia currently have policies regarding the protection of drug overdose witnesses.

The real danger

Burson said the law enforcement has hopes to help control the outbreak, but is aware this drug may not go anywhere anytime soon.

“It’s everywhere,” Burson said. “It’s really throughout the entire country right now. It’s a big issue. The danger is obvious because humans cannot handle that kind of synthetic opioid. ”

Saunders said the law enforcement is trying to find the source of incoming illegal drugs, but in the meantime, he said he urges students to be aware and realize the true power of heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.   

“Carfentanil is illegal in the US,” Saunders said. “If we can identify the source of where these drugs are coming in and then shut that off, we can prevent more harm to come this way. It’s a dangerous drug and we hope that anybody, including high school students that might consider using drugs, will see how dangerous and potentially lethal they are (and) that they would not even go down that path.”


Feature, News

Published: April 15, 2016

Sleep? There’s a nap for that.

As sleep is commonly called “food for the brain”, reports that a lack of sleep limits a student’s ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. Lack of sleep also makes teenagers and adults more prone to pimples and other skin problems.

According to, sleep deprivation impacts a student’s mood, behaviour, cognitive ability, academic performance, and driving ability. Sleep allows a person’s brain to relax and take a break.

Health studies from the show that a student needs eight to ten hours of sleep a night.

Yet according to the Chronicle’s Twitter poll, 59 percent of Mason High School students average four to six hours of sleep a night.

Junior Katie Kenniston averages two to three hours of sleep a night, and she said that her schoolwork and career aspirations are the main reasons for her loss of sleep.

“I think it’s just because I’m trying to build up the endurance of becoming an actor, and you don’t get a lot of sleep when you do that,” Kenniston said. “That’s why I don’t get a lot of sleep, but it’s also because of the work load from (my classes).”

Sophomore Christine Martin said that going to bed late leaves an impact on her learning and concentration throughout the school day.

“I’m really tired in all of my classes, and in my first bell I’m always trying not to fall asleep,” Martin said. “When lunch rolls around, I’m even more tired because I just ate.”

Martin is not the only student that feels tired throughout the day. Despite going to sleep at 9 p.m., sophomore Alise Cheeseman said she feels tired throughout the day, even if all of her homework is done.

“If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t function very well at the beginning of the day,” Cheeseman said. “You need to be able to pay attention in class and get things done so you don’t have to worry about it later on.”

On March 8, the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District School Board voted to change the district’s start time from 7:35 a.m. to 8 a.m. for the 2016-2017 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Miles said the main reason to move the start time was because the school district would like to give students the opportunity to have more sleep.

“Research would demonstrate there are significant benefits for adolescents attending middle school and high school to have later start times, that they are more engaged after 8:30 in the morning,” Miles said. “The research we examined identified academic outcomes, health outcomes, and behavioural outcomes.”

The brain is not fully awake until 8:30 a.m., and the closer students start class to 8:30 a.m., the more engaged students will be, Miles said. Indian Hill, however, will not yet push back the start time to 8:30 a.m. because the shift would disrupt the students.

“We didn’t quite get to the 8:30 a.m. recommended time, but it is a start,” Miles said. “We thought that the significant shift to 8:30 a.m. would be a disruption to our students, our athletics, and our extracurricular activity schedule.”

With work and other activities taking up time, superintendent Dr. Gail Kist-Kline said teens most likely take away their sleep time because they have other priorities.

“Sleep does not always get the respect it deserves,” Kist-Kline said. “Good health means getting a good night’s sleep–and this is probably even more important when the brain is still developing.”

Both pros and cons must be evaluated before Mason can think about moving the school start time of the district to later, Kist-Kline said, but it may be a possibility in the future.

“As a community we might consider this option, but I’d also want to have a lot of community conversation about all the items that would take to make that happen and about how we prioritize sleep,” Kist-Kline said. “If we move back the start times, but teens just go to bed later, we haven’t really captured the hour. I know that many teens (and adults) may not love the idea of a set bedtime, but consistently enforcing a 10 p.m. bedtime is probably the very best way to change sleep habits so that we all feel ready to tackle the day.”


News, Sports

Published: July 9, 2015

In the heat of the summer, baseball camps are a catch.

Elite Baseball and Cincinnati Baseball Schools are two organizations that are encouraging kids to improve their baseball skills and stay active. They are doing so through summer camps hosted at Elite Baseball/Explosion Fitness Solutions in Maineville, OH.

The camps draw students from Mason and its neighboring communities, and according to Marty Crow, a professional baseball instructor, Elite Baseball aims to provide an all-around improvement in a child’s baseball discipline.

Monday, we started hitting,” Crow said. “Tuesday, we do fielding; (Wednesday), we do pitching; (Thursday), we do outfield and base-running. Then Friday we put it all together and do all kinds of games. We show the guys physically what we’re supposed to do with every kind of the baseball experience, then we practice and practice to make them better.”

Crow said that by teaching the kids from their own perspective, they will understand with better results.

“Just by explaining to the guys how to do it, and what they’re supposed to do with their body makes them better right away,” Crow said. “They get immediate results.”

Along with teaching kids basic skills, James Singleton of Cincinnati Baseball School said that by putting terms in a simpler way, it is easier for kids to remember, and by having team competitions, they can increase both baseball and group-work skills.

“We do a lot of team things and a lot of competition,” Singleton said. “That way, they are not only competing against themselves but against other people.”

According to Crow, baseball camps are great for kids as well as for parents who want their children to receive a plentiful amount of baseball instruction.

“It’s a great baseball camp, and the kids have a blast,” Crow said. “Usually when they go home they’re sweating, and they’re tired, and they don’t even know they worked that hard– they’re having too much fun.”