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.