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.

April CanDo! Meeting To Feature Marshall Plan For Talent

As Michigan’s economy continues to improve, it is essential that there is a robust talent pipeline ready to fill the growing number of high-demand, high-wage careers both today and tomorrow. To address this challenge, the state recently launched the Marshall Plan for Talent. This plan will be the focus of the April 25 CanDo! meeting.

The Marshall Plan for Talent is a transformational partnership between educators, employers and other stakeholders to enhance Michigan’s talent pipeline and redesign the ways we invest, develop and attract talent in our state. It inspires and challenges government, educators, employers and parents to work more closely and recognize Michigan’s bright future depends on their collaboration.

“The Charlotte area has made great strides in the last few years preparing youth for jobs in a changing economy,” said CanDo! chairman Gregg Guetschow. “The CanDo! board believes the future vitality of our area depends on our remaining in the forefront of initiatives like the Marshall Plan for Talent.”

CanDo! has invited Ed Koledo to address this important topic. Mr. Koledo is the Senior Deputy for Talent Development in Michigan’s Department of Talent and Economic Development. Mr. Koledo is a former high school math teacher and superintendent for Linden Community Schools. He also served as Career and College Access Coordinator for Genesee County.

The April 25 CanDo! meeting will be held at the Charlotte Public Schools Administrative Offices, 378 State Street, beginning at 7:00 a.m.  CanDo! meetings are free to attend and open to the general public. Coffee and a light breakfast are provided at no cost to attendees.