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Author: Travis Silvas

Ongoing Urban/Rural Conversation culminates in Sept. 21 event in Charlotte

This summer has been one of discovery for artists throughout Mid-Michigan. Thanks to the efforts of Michigan Art Share, through a grant from Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Michigan State University Extension, Urban/Rural Conversations on arts and culture have taken place in Charlotte, Detroit, Owosso, and Jackson. The culmination of those discussions takes the form of a celebration Saturday, Sept. 21 at Windwalker Underground Gallery in downtown Charlotte. The focus of Michigan Art Share’s Urban/Rural Conversation series is to exchange art, music and creativity among some of Michigan’s urban and rural communities, said Diane Wilson,...

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Timepiece Park a showpiece for Charlotte’s revitalization

When Timepiece Park officially opens in a couple weeks, it will mark a significant point in downtown Charlotte’s revitalization efforts. For all its lightning rod qualities, its ability to spark passionate conversations about city funds, street conditions, and aesthetic appeal, the pocket park was the project that moved the community from talking and planning into action. It was the project in the community that galvanized a downtown business district, drawing private donations from many sources. It was the foresight displayed by a number of local entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity, and like all good entrepreneurs do, they capitalized on it.  Donations exceeded $30,000 — enough to purchase a blighted building, and community eyesore and gift it to the city. Donors believed a pocket park would signify the positive growth for which downtown Charlotte was yearning. Timepiece Park is what revitalization in Charlotte should look like — private citizens, business owners, and city officials working together on ways to reenergize our community. The plans may have taken longer to come together than expected, which is part of the reason the pocket park was such a hot topic. The bright yellow, and pastel spattered building stayed up longer than anyone really wanted. But, these kinds of projects take time … and money. The cost of the park has been a constant topic for local fodder. But, consider if you will, the actual...

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Veterans to honor Thomas Lewis during annual Vietnam Veterans gathering

Jerry Taylor is nothing if not thankful. Thankful for the friendships he made during his tour in Vietnam, thankful for the new friends he’s made with local veterans the past couple of years, and thankful for the services Thomas Lewis, veterans representative for Eaton County, has provided his fellow vets. Taylor, along with Vietnam Veterans gathering organizers, Dave Smith, Darrell Gingrich, and Fred Meyers will honor Lewis during this year’s event, planned for Saturday, Aug. 24 beginning at noon in Bennett Park in Charlotte. “We want to thank him for everything he’s done for veterans,” Taylor said.  Taylor, like...

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Longtime Fair Board member renews vows on Merry Go Round

Theo Savage is one of those familiar faces you always see at the Eaton County Fair. To some it may seem like he’s been around forever, and for all intents and purposes, he has. Savage participated this past week in his 34th Eaton County Fair as a member of the Fair Board. Someone who’s been around so long, it’s rare to see something new. That is, unless you are the one creating the new experience. Theo was the mastermind behind the plan for several longtime Fair Board members to renew their vows at this year’s event. Planned to take...

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Council tables decision on water and sewer rate increase

Charlotte City Council was not ready to finalize any increase to the city’s water and sewer rates Monday, July 8, instead choosing to table the decision until its July 22 meeting. Until then, council directed City Manager Gregg Guetschow and DPW Director Amy Gilson to study the impact of an increase smaller than the 11 percent discussed at the July 8 meeting. Councilman Branden Dyer, who made the motion to table the decision, said the city examines its rate structure each year and he would like to see what impact a smaller rate increase would have on the water and sewer fund. “I wanted to get more information from Amy [Gilson] before going forward,” Dyer said. “I don’t feel we necessarily need to see a high increase this year. I have no desire to delay this decision indefinitely, but would like to see what a lower rate would look like.” Dyer said smaller increases could be made annually. The city has not raised rates since 2015. Guetschow’s initial proposal to council was a 22 percent increase in water and sewer rates that would take effect all this year. Council rejected the 22 percent increase, preferring instead to study and discuss an 11 percent increase over the course of the next two fiscal years.  “I would be terribly uncomfortable with anything under 11 percent,” said Mayor Tim Lewis. “We’re talking...

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