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Month: February 2015

Olivet High School captures MIFA Division III State title

The frigid, late evening air was stirred as a lone school bus drew up to the doors of Olivet High School. The quiet was instantly broken by the laughter and elated voices of 25 members of the Olivet Theatre as they emerged carrying a large golden trophy marking their MIFA Division III State Championship win. They commented to each other in excitement as they recalled the announcement of their school as the Division III State Champions only a few hours earlier. Thirteen schools, from Class A, B, and CD classifications, rose to their feet as these students accepted the...

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Michigan Main Street program a real possibility for Charlotte

Downtown revitalization remains a hot button issue in Charlotte and the momentum created from Economic Summits held in 2014 continues to move efforts forward. Community leaders looking to build from that momentum gathered Wednesday, Feb. 25 at the monthly Can Do! meeting to learn more about a partner that could help take revitalization from strategy to reality — the Michigan Main Street Program. Emily Pantera, economic restructuring specialist with Michigan Main Street, discussed the benefits of becoming a Michigan Main Street community during a one-hour presentation. “I counted over 27 different organizations represented here this morning, so you guys are well on your way to meeting some of our basic requirements,” Pantera said as she opened her presentation. “The biggest point is getting community buy-in and support.” Pantera said the Michigan Main Street Center exists to help community develop main street districts that attract both residents and businesses, promote commercial investment and spur economic growth. “What we do is placemaking,” Pantera said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re right out of college or ready for retirement, the downtowns are where people want to live. People are looking for the authentic experience.” She said close to 2,000 communities across the country participate in the Main Street Program, including close to 50 in Michigan. The program creates a sense of place by utilizing eight principles in its approach — comprehensive, self-help, public/private...

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Council examines best use of $882,938 received from Owens-Brockway suit

A three-year court battle with Owens-Brockway Glass Container came to an end in early February when the Michigan Supreme Court rejected the company’s appeal of damages it owes the City of Charlotte. The $4.4 million judgment will be divided among several governmental entities, leaving the city with $882,938.80. Charlotte City Council members opened discussions Monday, Feb. 23 as to how the money should be put to use. “We’re in the process of establishing our priorities,” said Mayor Carrie Burch. “Nobody is in a rush to do anything at this point. We don’t want to waste an opportunity by jumping into this.” City Manager Gregg Guestschow said the council’s conversation generated several ideas, including a few common themes. “There were some commonalities and there were some suggestions that were more unique, such as paying off old debt,” Guetschow said. “Some said the money should be spent on other street projects; paving parking lots, specifically the Corral parking lot; replacing a couple old tornado sirens; establishing a revolving loan fund where the interest could be used for a façade program. There’s some variety there, but I think council is going to take some time to sort through those ideas.” Guetschow said discussions will be ongoing as the council enters the budgeting process. No formal public hearings have been scheduled regarding use of the funds, though Guetschow said public comment is welcomed...

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Haigh’s Maple Syrup opens doors to 2015 Syrup Queen’s Court

Part of representing the Vermontville community as Maple Syrup Festival Queen is possessing an understanding of the Maple Syrup process. The 2015 court had the opportunity to see first-hand how one local producer gets the job done year after year. Haigh’s Maple Syrup & Supplies, LLC hosted Queen Zandra Siple and her entire court — Jeannie Hale, Britney Flory, Meghan Bignall and Catie Eldridge — Monday, Feb. 16 for a tour of the entire operation. Not only a maple syrup producer, Karen Haigh guided the court through the entire supplies side of the business, which services upwards of 850...

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‘Pawli’s Pub’ to transport visitors to Irish pub

Bill Callahan got a great sense of the kind of atmosphere found at a traditional Irish pub while vacationing in Ireland last year. Half of the duo Copper and Shrift (formerly the local trio known as Abel, Copper and Shrift), Callahan and Gregg Guetschow will try to recreate that kind of atmosphere with traditional Irish music Saturday, March 14. The duo will help transform the Eaton Area Senior Center into Pawli’s Pub for a night. Named in honor of longtime businessman and Charlotte Rotarian, Frank Pawli, Pawli’s Pub will serve as an opportunity to raise funds for two worthwhile causes — the Eaton Area Senior Center and First Baptist Church’s Tide Me Over Program. “We’re going to do three sets, which is the longest show we’ve ever done,” Guetschow said. “We’re going to get started the minute they open the doors.” Guetschow said the music will help provide an enjoyable background to a great dinner. He said the duo has been working on a number of traditional Irish songs, most of which may not be familiar to most Americans. They will also, however, do a number of Irish classics known the world over, such as Oh Danny Boy and Irish Eyes are Smiling. “The two most talented members of the band are still intact,” Guetschow joked. “There might be occasions, though were we have to get people out of...

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