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.

Bill Ballenger To Address October 24 Can Do! General Membership Meeting

 When Charlotte residents go to the polls on November 6, they will participate in the selection of the next President, a United States senator and congressman, a state representative and many other state and local officials. In addition, they will face a number of sometimes bewildering initiatives and proposals.

To help make sense of the upcoming election, the candidates and the issues, Can Do! has invited Bill Ballenger to speak at its General Membership meeting on Wednesday, October 24. Mr. Ballenger is the publisher of Inside Michigan Politics and appears frequently on the WKAR television program Off The Record. The Detroit News has called him “Michigan’s undisputed Crown Prince of Pundits.”

Mr. Ballenger is a former state representative and state senator, an ex-state racing commissioner, and director of the Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulation. Mr. Ballenger also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare in the administration of President Gerald R. Ford.

Mr. Ballenger is an engaging speaker with a remarkable knowledge of Michigan politics. He is able to provide his audiences with an historical context that increases their understanding of the important decisions they face in each election and to do so in a nonpartisan manner. Mr. Ballenger’s presentation to Can Do! is made possible through the generous support of Consumers Energy.

The General Membership meeting on October 24 starts at 7:00 a.m. and will be held in the Spartan Room of the Charlotte Community Library. A light breakfast and coffee will be provided free of charge.

Community Workshop for nonmotorized transportation is September 25

CharlotteStep-by-Step and Can Do! invite you to an important community planning workshop focused on non-motorized transportation, or ‘walkability,’ on the evening of Tuesday, September 25.

The workshop will be held at AL!VE (800 W. Lawrence Ave.), from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., however residents may arrive and participate at any time during that period. Snacks and child care for children 3 and older will be available.

The purpose of the community workshop is to gather public input toward the creation of a new community master plan for non-motorized transportation.

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 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, education and recreational 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 improvementsCharlotteStep-By-Step hopes to facilitate will have to be paid for by grants and other supplementary funding sources.

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

Charlotte Step-By-Step will be 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.