Lou Glazer To Address Can Do! Membership About Michigan’s Future

Many of us can recall a time when a young man could drop out of high school his junior year then get a job in the shop, any one of dozens of GM, Ford or Chrysler plants around the state.  Soon that young man would be driving up to his old high school showing off his new Camaro.  That era began collapsing in 1980. Michigan has been struggling ever since.

Agriculture aside, Michigan has been attempting what amounts to CPR on its manufacturing-based economy for 33 years.  All the while sons and daughters leave for jobs elsewhere; wages remain stagnant or have fallen, and unemployment remains high.  For many in Michigan, pondering the future is still a source of anxiety.

At Charlotte Area Network for Development and Opportunity, CanDo!, we think a lot about the future—our future as a town, our social, cultural, and economic condition as well as the health of the region.  We stoke creativity, relish new ideas, like Alive, and appreciate foundational investments in our future, like the Charlotte Performing Arts Center.  We are in the business of Charlotte’s and Michigan’s future.

Our guest for March is also in the business of Michigan’s future.

Lou Glazer
Michigan Future President Lou Glazer

He is Lou Glazer, president and co-founder of Michigan Future Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization intent on being “a catalyst for prosperity.”  Mr. Glazer is going to tell us, among other things, that we should stop trying to resuscitate the 1975 manufacturing economy.  Instead, he argues, we should shift to a knowledge-based economy, and bring our educational processes into sync with our social and economic needs.

At this moment when there is still so much anxiety about the future of this great state, perhaps the best thing to do is listen to someone with a good idea and an action plan to implement it.  Join us on March 27 at 7am in the Charlotte Public Library for Mr. Glazer’s expert analysis, great discussion and, because it is so early, hot coffee from Faye’s.

Nancy Nyquist talks agriculture with Can Do! membership

Nancy Nyquist from the Michigan Department of Agriculture addressed the Can Do! organization at its February general membership meeting. Nyquist spoke about the diversity of Michigan agriculture and its importance to the statewide economy, as well as the department’s efforts to support placemaking initiatives in rural Michigan communities.

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Nyquist said that Michigan is the second-most diverse state when it comes to the variety of agricultural products produced. She said the Department of Agriculture hopes to harness this diversity by working toward greater export volume, more agricultural jobs, better access to healthy foods and the creation of more sustainable food and agriculture systems. She said the department is also working in support of other land-based industries, such as forestry and mining.

Nyquist also said the department was using similar tools for agriculture-related economic development to other departments – tools such as economic gardening strategies, incubators, and other programming that can be brought to bear in support of young or inexperienced entrepreneurs in rural communities.

She said the state hopes to champion regional-based approaches that will help improve local markets, local distribution networks and local processors.

Nyquist said that placemaking is especially important, because rural communities especially need help attracting and retaining young talent. She said each community needs to work toward becoming a place that people seek out and want to live in. She also said that agri-tourism benefits from placemaking strategies. For more information, she directed members to miplace.org.

Can Do! wins Chamber of Commerce President’s Award

Can Do! received the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce’s highest honor as recipient of the 2012 Chamber of Commerce President’s Award.

Can Do! Chair John Bailey accepted the award from Chamber President Bryan Myrkle at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner held in January.

1-IMG_1058Myrkle had this to say in making the presentation: 

“The Presidents Award is given annually to an outstanding business or organization that has had a sustained, positive impact on the community. The names of previous winners read like a who’s who of the Charlotte business community, and their combined efforts over the years have made Charlotte the great hometown that it is.”

     “In fact, the businesses and organizations that have earned this honor over the years have such stature in the community that it becomes difficult to continue finding honorees who can live up to the standards set by past winners. However, as I considered who should receive this special recognition in 2012, a worthy recipient ended-up being very close at hand.”

     “This organization, now in its 15th year, has carried the banner for Charlotte, spreading the word, both inside the community and outside to the wider region, about the great things happening here.”

     “While it has avoided credit-seeking over the years, and instead worked to promote the success of the community as a whole; its list of accomplishments is now too long to avoid getting the recognition it deserves.”

     “Perhaps its most visible accomplishment is the creation and ongoing broadcast of the well-known and popular ‘Celebrate Charlotte!’ community marketing effort. What started simply as a logo and a positive message to our own residents has grown to become an annual summer festival, and a long-running television advertising campaign and commercial jingle celebrating our community’s successes.”

     “Another long-standing hallmark of the organization is its popular monthly general membership meetings. These morning sessions often feature a special educational program or guest from outside Charlotte. However, they are also used to update the members on organizational projects, and are a great place for networking.”

     “Can DO! serves as a community clearing house of ideas, and an incubator for local initiatives. Its current projects include the creation of a master plan for non-motorized transportation, an ongoing series of classes and seminars for entrepreneurs, a leadership development program, and local artist networking and showcase through Experience Art. Can Do! is consistently focused on Charlotte’s quality of life, and how it can be improved.”

     “Many other communities have a local or county economic development agency whose services they subscribe to, but no other community I know of has developed and sustained a self-organizing, volunteer organization focused on community improvements they way that Can Do! is.”

     “As Can Do!, Charlotte Area Networking for Development and Opportunity, enters its 15th year, I am happy to recognize its efforts and success with this year’s Charlotte Chamber of Commerce President’s Award.”

Step-By-Step Master Plan for non-motorized transporation

Whether a person is walking, bicycling, or jogging, and for whatever reason, they are a non-motorized traveler. Every day, thousands of people in mid-Michigan choose non-motorized means of transportation. These trips take place on a variety of different facilities — from those paths reserved exclusively for non-motorized use, to roads heavily trafficked by cars, trucks and commercial traffic.

Charlotte Step-By-Step, a part of Can Do!, is a local advocacy group working to create a comprehensive plan for non-motorized transportation throughout the Charlotte Public Schools district. It has the support of Can Do!, as well as the City of Charlotte Downtown Development Authority, Hayes Green Beach Memorial  Hospital, the Barry Eaton District Health Department and the   Charlotte Area Recreation Council, among others. Its goal with this planning project is to help create strong non-motorized connections from commercial, educational, and recreation uses to local neighborhoods.

Planning and maintaining non-motorized transit infrastructure is something that needs our attention now, and for the future. The settings, local population, available right-of-way, nearby land use, topography and projected use are just a few of the factors that must be considered. Likewise, details of location and design of the sidewalks, walkways, crosswalks, curb ramps, bike lane striping, bike parking and similar items must be professionally planned if they are to be effective. Ensuring the system is accessible to all users, and incorporates     appropriate signage, markings, parking, benches, lighting, landscaping and other amenities are also critical factors

            Most importantly, projects and principals must be adopted and planned in advance if the community is to be successful in pursuing the necessary funding.

Many of the improvements Charlotte Step-By-Step hopes to facilitate will have to be paid for by grants and other supplementary funding sources.

The Step-By-Step initiative plans for and prioritizes local projects, and identifies the potential funding sources that could pay for them. It helps coordinate our community’s efforts with the various funding agencies, and also helps local leaders make better, more informed decisions related to non-motorized transportation.

Charlotte Step-By-Step is working with the Award-winning firm of    Williams & Works from Grand Rapids to create this Master Plan for Non-Motorized Transportation. The initiative will help local leaders plan and position local projects for successful grant applications and other funding that might otherwise be out of reach.

The focus of grant makers today is on collaborative projects and regional cooperation, and this will bring local agencies and stakeholders together in a single plan that we can all benefit from.

Please feel free to download and check-out the preliminary facilities map showing the non-motorized connections Charlotte can make now and in the future.

Prelim Facility Plan_11x17 (1)

Can Do! Announces February General Membership Program

Can Do is very pleased to have Nancy Nyquist of the Michigan Department of Agriculture visit our next general meeting on February 27th.  She will be presenting a program entitled “Michigan Food and Agriculture Industry: Part of Reinventing Michigan”.  Topics of the presentation will include: industry goals, future opportunities for growth, MDARD’s rural development strategy, Regional Food Systems and the MI Place Initiative.

Nancy has worked for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) since March, 2006.  Nancy currently is the Market Development Specialist in the Office of Agriculture Development.  Her primary responsibilities include management of USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, and MDARD’s Value Added/Regional Food System Grant Program. Additionally, she works on a number of rural and economic development issues on behalf of the department.  She has served in several additional capacities with the department including positions in both the Executive Office and the Food and Dairy Division.  While in the Executive Office, Nancy served as MDARD’s Legislative Liaison acting as the department’s primary point of contact with members of the Legislature. Prior to accepting the Legislative Liaison position, she had responsibilities in the Food and Dairy Division responsible for updating the Michigan Food Law and Grade A and Manufacturing Milk rewrites.

Prior to joining the Department, Nancy worked for the Michigan Legislature.  She served in a variety of capacities with the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate.  Nancy holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Northwood University.

Please join us on the 27th at 7:00 AM at the Charlotte Community Library for what promises to a very informative meeting and contribute to work being done making Charlotte an even  greater place to live and work.