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Month: March 2015

Barbara Fulton is featured speaker at March Coffee with the Community

There may be few people in the Charlotte community as visionary and forward thinking as Barbara Fulton. Her varied life experiences give her a unique perspective, one she will share with Charlotte High School students Thursday, March 19 at Fay’s Evelyn Bay. Fulton is the March featured speaker for the Coffee with the Community series established by the Can Do! Youth Pillar. Aside from her work locally with Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital and local non-profit organizations, Fulton is a prime example of the kind of talent the Charlotte community desires to bring back home. A Charlotte native, Fulton started her career as a professor in the psychology department at Western Michigan University before a vacation of sorts turned into a 22-year career as a consultant in California. There she worked with technology companies that provided services for the both the public and private sector. She returned to Charlotte in 2005 to be with her mother, Evelo, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was then, she said she fell in love with Charlotte all over again — the sense of community and ability to make a difference. She began working with Hayes Green Beach in 2006 and was an instrumental member of the development team for AL!VE. “I think this will be a really great event for the students,” said BJ Behnke, chair of the Can Do! Youth...

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Task forces driving Downtown Revitalization Strategy efforts

The Downtown Revitalization Strategy created in 2014 is proving to be the call to action many leaders in the Charlotte community were looking to see. A joint meeting of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Can Do! and the Downtown Development Authority on Wednesday, March 11 highlighted work being done by six task forces identified and created in January. Each task force has met and begun working towards established goals identified in the Downtown Revitalization Strategy, which is the result of three economic summits held in Charlotte last year. The task forces include Michigan Main Street, marketing, recruiting, M-50 truck traffic, community events and farmers market. A seventh task force — community beautification — will also be established in the coming weeks. Each task force is open to anyone in the community interested in revitalizing Charlotte. Meeting times will be posted on the City of Charlotte’s website — The Michigan Main Street chair Yvonne Ridge, Charlotte City Councilmember, reported that the task force will be working on an application to join the Michigan Main Street program at the associate level. Applications aren’t officially available until November, however, Ridge reported that Charlotte has been invited to fill out its application early in an effort to be able to participate in training this calendar year. There is no cost to be a Michigan Main Street member at the associate level and...

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Your Creative Escape pottery shop has something for all

By Carla Bumstead Defining exactly what the Your Creative Escape pottery shop in Eaton Rapids offers its customers is no easy task — as it has the unique capacity to be different things for different people. For some, it is a quiet, reflective place to get away from one’s hectic schedule. For others, it’s much like a social club — a place to gather and gab with friends and family. But regardless of why you come in, you will leave with something uniquely yours. Your Creative Escape, located at 142 Hall Street in downtown Eaton Rapids, is a paint-your-own pottery shop. Owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Jaime and Traci Lawson, it has been in business for four years. Their first shop was located on Main Street. They moved to their current, larger, location a year later. Traci Lawson said the decision to open the business was highly impulsive. “We were driving through town one day and saw a sign advertising a storefront for $700 a month,” Traci said. “I said ‘I think I could sell $700-worth of something in a month’ and by the time we got home we had decided to open the shop.” She said they ordered tables and chairs that night and opened the business six weeks later. The name for the business was a result of sending out a list...

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Needed kidney strengthens bond of local family

As the baby in the family, Andy Hall remembers being a bit of an annoyance to his older siblings. He remembers tagging along, always interested in what they were doing, making things a little “less fun” in the process. Despite being a pest, he was always close with his two brothers and his sister as they grew up on a farm just outside Charlotte. As they grew up and moved on with their lives, each child went in their own direction, but they remained very close, if not always as social with each other. “We’ve always been a very close-knit family,” recalls Lynn Hall, Andy’s father. “The kids always keep tabs on each other.” Andy, a manager at the Charlotte Wal-Mart often missed out on chances to get together with the family over the holidays due to his job. But, when his family needed him most, he was right there, ready to help. Andy’s oldest brother, Eric was born with only one kidney. At the end of summer in 2014, Eric gathered his family to tell them the news. His kidney was only functioning at 13 percent and doctors estimated he would have to be placed on regular dialysis in a year unless doctors could find a donor. Without hesitation, Andy stepped forward. “Without thinking, I asked ‘what do I need to do?” Andy said. Though he was willing...

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Meijer Hearing Center offers free testing

Tucked in the corner by the pharmacy at Meijer in Charlotte, Sally Donnell has quietly provided free hearing testing for local residents for more than two years. A licensed hearing aid dealer with the State of Michigan, Donnell has helped improve the hearing of hundreds in the area through the Meijer Hearing Center since it opened in 2012. Donnell provides two different tests, both free of charge, based on the hearing abilities or lack thereof of her clients. The baseline test quickly identifies whether an individual has any form of hearing loss. This 20-minute exam includes a state-of-the-art video...

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