CanDo! Meeting to Focus on the Environment

Each month, Charlotte Networking for Development and Opportunity (CanDo!) explores one of the 7 Elements of a Healthy Community. Recognizing that a healthy community requires a healthy environment, CanDo!’s August 22 gathering will focus on this element.

“It seems as though every week the news media report about a new environmental issue somewhere in the world,” said CanDo! chairman Gregg Guetschow. “This program is intended to bring attention to these concerns a little closer to home.”

The August program will be presented by J.P. Buckingham, Chief Operating Officer and Principal Geologist with Triterra, a professional environmental consulting firm in Lansing. J.P. was raised and continues to live on his family’s farm in Eaton Rapids. He has more than 19 years’ experience in the manufacturing industry and environmental consulting.

J.P’s presentation will provide a history and overview of the State’s involvement in environmental issues. He will also provide information about emerging contaminant issues such as PFAS that have been the subject of recent reports in other Michigan communities.

“We hope this program will spur residents to ask what they can do to preserve and enhance the local environment for future generations,” Guetschow said.

The August 22 CanDo! session will be held at the Charlotte Community Library, 226 S. Bostwick Street, beginning at 7:00 a.m. The public is welcome to attend. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided free of charge.

CanDo! Summer Storytellers Returns to Windwalker July 25

Last year, Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity (CanDo!) inaugurated Summer Storytellers, an evening of personal stories by and about area residents. The enthusiastic response from the standing-room only audience inspired the CanDo! board of directors to make Summer Storytellers an annual event.

On July 25, beginning at 6:00 p.m., six storytellers will take the stage of Windwalker Underground Gallery, 125 S. Cochran Avenue. Each will have 15 minutes to entertain, inform and inspire attendees.

One of 2017’s Summer Storytellers, Ben Phlegar, will be returning this year.  His remembrance last year of his time as a high school baseball coach motivated him to champion the new Charlotte High School Athletic Hall of Fame which he serves as chairman.

Ben retired in 2010 from teaching after 36 years of public service, the last 31 at Charlotte High School. He also coached high school baseball for 35 years in the State of Michigan with 33 of those years at Charlotte. He was varsity coach for 14 of those years. He lives in Charlotte with his wife Barb and has two adult sons.

Joining Ben this year are:

  • Cruz Villarreal.  Cruz was born halfway through the last century and is passionate about writing. He is a successful insurance man, farms using organic principles and tutors writing at Lansing Community College. He has a degree in professional communications and an associates degree in creative writing. He won the 2015 LAND writing contest for creative non-fiction.
  • Clayton Jones. Clayton is 19 years old and a 2018 graduate of Charlotte high school. He enjoys running and performing music live. He is also really interested in the history of Charlotte.
  • Celine Smith. Celine was raised in Grand Ledge and went on to explore the world. After finishing her Peace Corps service in Nepal, she went to work as Refugee Capacity Builder at Samaritas, a Michigan-based non-profit. Her passion  in life is to share cultures and diverse understandings of the world.
  • Dee Smith. Dee grew up in Charlotte and now divides his time between Florida and Michigan. He has pursued multiple careers in law enforcement, business and education and served as Charlotte Mayor for two terms. He is an avid golfer and possesses a seemingly endless supply of humorous anecdotes.
  • Gregg Guetschow. Gregg is Charlotte’s city manager and current CanDo! chairman. He has honed his storytelling skills in staff meetings, college classrooms and around the family dinner table.

Admission to CanDo! Summer Storytellers is free. Guests are invited to arrive early to explore the gallery.

CanDo! To Explore Why Place Matters

Data show that, in today’s society, young talent choose place first. With a strong workforce, a community like Charlotte is able to attract businesses to the region and retain those already here.

At this month’s CanDo! meeting, Josh Holliday, tri-county development and placemaking manager at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), will be talking about the value and importance of creating a greater sense of place in our communities.

“As an economic development agency, we believe that place matters,” said Holliday. “It provides a sense of pride for where we call home that is essential to the growth and success of the region.”

In his presentation, Holliday will walk through the various forms of place-based developments and why they are important to the local economy. Mixed use buildings, the arts, athletics, parks, trails, festivals and roads, as well as the roles individuals can play, all contribute to the vibrancy, authenticity and sophistication of a community.

CanDo! will meet at 7:00 a.m. on June 27 in the Spartan Room of the Charlotte Community Library, 226 S. Bostwick Street. The public is invited to attend. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided free of charge.

History and Architecture on CanDo! Agenda

Charlotte’s participation in Governor Snyder’s Project Rising Tide initiative offered the opportunity for downtown Charlotte to be nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, a program operated by the National Parks Service.

A state grant of nearly $40,000 funded professional research by historian Bill Rutter to chronicle the history and architecture of 348 buildings in and around downtown. The nomination is complete and national recognition of the Charlotte’s central business district will soon be official.

On Wednesday, May 23, local residents will have an opportunity to explore some of these local treasures when CanDo! hosts a program by Courthouse Square Association Director Julie Kimmer and Charlotte Community Development Director Bryan Myrkle. Their presentation will include photos and information that will shine a light on both familiar and lesser-known features of Charlotte’s buildings.

“The history and architecture of Charlotte tell a unique and fascinating story,” said CanDo! Chairman Gregg Guetschow. “This research reveals that there are surprises around every corner of our community.”

CanDo! will meet at 7:00 a.m. on May 23 in the Spartan Room of the Charlotte Community Library, 226 S. Bostwick Street. The public is invited to attend. Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided free of charge.

Marshall Plan Follow-Up

The Wednesday, April 25, 2018 CanDo! meeting featured a presentation about a new Michigan initiative, the Marshall Plan for Talent, by Ed Koledo, Senior Deputy for Talent Development, Department of Talent & Economic Development, Talent Investment Agency. Mr. Koledo has graciously provided copies of the following materials related to this important topic:

Charlotte High School Principal Bill Barnes has penned a commentary on this same topic that was published in the Lansing State Journal.

We believe you will find this information thought-provoking.