Anne Springs Close
As a young child, Anne Springs Close often heard the statement: “It’s a sin to be indoors on a sunny day.” Today, at the age of 91, Close continues to follow that guiding principle, which was an early inspiration for her life’s work.
Raised in Fort Mill, South Carolina, Close is the daughter of fighter pilot and textile tycoon Colonel Elliot White Springs and his wife, Frances Hubbard Ley Springs. She attended Smith College in Massachusetts and has a resume brimming with environmental and philanthropic accomplishments. She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro three times, was a 1996 Olympic torch runner, and is the last living passenger of the German zeppelin Hindenburg’s 1936 transatlantic flight. She is also the mother of 8 children, a grandmother of 28 children and a great-grandmother of 20 children.
Of Close’s many accomplishments, the creation and preservation of Fort Mill’s Anne Springs Close Greenway, of which Domtar is a corporate sponsor, is closest to her heart.
“My desire to conserve the land grew over time as I watched area farms get swallowed up by development and disappear,” said Close. “I decided then to find a way to preserve some land so other children could play in the woods as I did as a child.”
In 1940, Elizabeth Clarkson helped found the Mecklenburg Audubon Society, an organization still involved with Wing Haven today. For years, Elizabeth Clarkson kept a journal, noting every species of bird she nursed back to health or saw in her garden. In 1944, she compiled these observations in the self-published Birds of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, a comprehensive guide to local and migratory birds. To date, including those noted by Elizabeth Clarkson in her journals, over 150 bird species have been spotted here.
Hair got elected to the county commission in 1974. But she had long been involved in politics. She worked on campaigns for Democrats, was appointed to the Mecklenburg Board of Elections and helped form the Charlotte Women’s Political Caucus along with her friend Betty Chapin Rash.
Mattie Marshall was recognized as CMPD’s Community Partner of the Month. As President of the Historic Washington Heights Neighborhood, Mattie Marshall was instrumental in the success of the department’s early efforts to build trust in her neighborhood. Mattie has been an advocate of community policing since the mid 1990’s. She welcomed officers into her neighborhood and assisted them with building the relationships that still exist today. Thru her monthly meetings and Youth Service Academy officers were able to get to know the members of her community on a personal level. She was truly a pioneer in those early days.
Betty Chafin Rash
After completing her master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, Betty moved to Charlotte, beginning what was to become a lifelong commitment to public service. First elected to Charlotte City Council in 1975, she served three terms, was the third female elected to council, and the first woman mayor pro tem.
Cyndee Patterson is president of the Lynwood Foundation, which owns and operates the historic Duke Mansion and the Lee Institute. The Duke Mansion is a 4-star inn and meeting event venue. The Lee Institute provides facilitation, consulting and training for nonprofit, government and community organizations across the country. Cyndee was previously president of Patterson Blake, Inc., a corporate meeting and event planning firm. She served as an at-large Charlotte City Council member from 1985 to 1993 and as Mayor Pro Tem from 1989-1991. She has served on several boards and has won numerous awards for community service. Cyndee earned B.A. with honors in psychology and business administration from Purdue University.
June Blotnick has served as the Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina since 2005 and she has over 30 years of experience working with nonprofit and community-based organizations in North Carolina. At Clean Air Carolina, she manages a wide variety of educational and advocacy initiatives targeted at ensuring healthy air in North Carolina. June has been instrumental in the North Carolina Clean Diesel Program, which has promoted diesel emissions reductions since 2005. Originally focusing on school bus retrofits, the program assisted school systems across the state in accessing federal and state funds for retrofit projects, including working collaboratively with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy to promote cleaner school buses.
Director, Programs and Event Operations at Charlotte Center City Partners
Elaine Powell serves as the Vice Chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. She was elected to her first term in November 2018 by the people of District 1 in North Mecklenburg. For the past 30 years, Commissioner Powell has been actively engaged in our community. She began volunteering in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in 1989, starting out as a community partner at Eastway Middle School. She continued to serve in a variety of roles in CMS from 1989 until 2014.
Jennifer Watson Roberts is an American politician, businesswoman and former diplomat who served as the 58th mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. She was elected on November 3, 2015 having previously served four terms on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.
Dianna is the Executive Director of Charlotte B-cycle, responsible for managing and growing the bike share system in Charlotte’s urban core. Honored as one of the 50 most influential women in Charlotte, she regularly collaborates with sponsors, city leaders and biking advocates and is a forward-thinking champion focused on Charlotte’s goal of becoming a “City of Bikes.” She has served on the Board of Directors for the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) and was recently elected to serve as President. Dianna owns Charlotte NC Tours, Greenville Glides, Bike the Rabbit, Kansas City Segway Tours, and Chattanooga Segway & Bike.
I always said the best way to make cycling better and safer for everyone is simply to get more people out riding their bikes. If there’s one person I know who lives and breathes that philosophy every day, it’s Pamela Murray – founder of PMTNR, charlottespokespeople and last weekend’s Bike Fest. Anyone who knows Pam knows her passion for cycling. Her goal is to get as many people as possible ride bikes. And it’s not just talk – Pam rides her bike everywhere. I’ve seen Pam many places all over town, been to many meetings with her, and never seen her drive a car.
Kris Solow has been a resident of Elizabeth for 29 years. She and her husband, Rick Solow, raised their sons in the neighborhood. She said, “A lot of people are transplants and Elizabeth gives a sense of community. People come together for a common cause. We have events and neighborhood camaraderie.” Solow was concerned that the neighborhood did not have any public art. With a grant from the city and the Arts and Science Council, they were able to get a three-piece installation at the water tower on Pecan Ave.
DeAndrea is a local Democratic candidate in Mecklenburg County who is running for NC Senate District 39!
Ajmera was born in India and came to the United States when she was 16. She attended Southern High School in Durham. Ajmera earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. Her career experience includes working as a project manager at TIAA and a financial services company. Ajmera has served on the Charlotte Housing Authority board. She was first elected to the Charlotte City Council in 2017.
Nakisa Glover, founder of Sol Nation, is a native of Charlotte, NC. She has a passion for advocacy and contributing positively to the community. Her commitment to the community means that she works to raise awareness about threats as well as key issues and she advocates for real Solutions. She holds a biology degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has built a track record as a community organizer, with years of experience in corporate, community and service-based work.
While on the City Council, Nancy G. Carter, a Democrat, represented District 5. She was first elected in 1999 and served until 2011. While on the City Council, she helped to found its Environement Committee, and chaired the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee for the North Carolina League of Municipalities. She is currently Vice Chair of the Mecklenburg Sil and Water Conservation District – a subdivision of the state of North Carolina.
On May 25, Gaston and Jill Palmer, a longtime leader of Mecklenburg Audubon Society, hosted “The Birds, Nature, and Community Festival” in Gaston’s neighborhood. The idea to create Druid Hills’ first festival is the result of a brainstorming session in Gaston’s living room. Kim Brand, Senior Network Manager at Audubon North Carolina, and Judy Walker, Newsletter Editor at Mecklenburg Audubon, were also present for this pivotal moment.