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.

Can Do! organizes internship fair for Olivet College students

Internship Fair 2012
Participants at the recent internship fair organized by Can Do! and held at Olivet College.

An ad hoc committee of Can Do! members, including Mayor Dee Smith, Chuck Cook and B.J. Behnke recently organized an internship fair intended to connect Olivet College students with internship opportunities at businesses and organizations in Charlotte.

The fair was held on Wednesday, November 7 with more than 24 Charlotte organizations or businesses represented. CPA firms, local media, non-profit organizations, local government, the Chamber of Commerce, and other Charlotte entities were represented, as more than 100 students looked into a wide array of internship opportunities on hand.

The event was successful, especially for a ‘first time,’ and now several Olivet College students will be supplementing their education with real world experience here in Charlotte.

Internship fair
Olivet College students attend an internship fair organized by Can Do!

Bill Ballenger Speaks to Can Do!

The man the Detroit News called “Michigan’s undisputed Crown Prince of Pundits” provided those in attendance at Can Do!’s October General Membership meeting a comprehensive overview of the offices and issues that will be found on the November 6 ballot.

Bill Ballenger has a long history of government service that makes him an unrivaled source of general information and trivia about the Michigan political scene. In the 1970s, he represented the Charlotte area in the State Senate.

Mr. Ballenger stated that Michigan’s ballot is the longest in the country due to the combination of state offices, local offices and proposals that must be decided. Michigan is unique among the states in electing all the members of the governing boards of three state universities and the state board of education. New to this year’s November ballot are the school board seats to be filled.

Mr. Ballenger’s informative and entertaining overview of the current political scene insured that attendees left better able to make the important decisions facing them at the polls.