Muskegon County jail topping-off ceremony

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– LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY DIANA L. COLEMAN


Last steel beam on jail placed

By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

Approximately 70 people gathered in the parking lot of the Hall of Justice August 7, 2014, for the Topping-Off ceremony of the final steel beam in the new county jail currently under construction. The beam was painted and all presented were invited to sign it.

Commissioners, judges, law enforcement officers, court officials, and on-lookers signed the beam. Very prominent in large, bold letters was the signature of retired Muskegon County Sheriff, Bob Carter. Just below Carter’s signature was printed the name of deceased Muskegon County Circuit Judge Michael E.
Kobza. Both Carter and Kobza are/were strong supporters for the need for a new jail and juvenile transition center in Muskegon County.

In addition to Carter, the Muskegon County jail and juvenile transition center committee consists of Sheriff Dean Roesler, Commissioner Charles Nash, Commissioner (Chair) Kenneth Mahoney, Commissioner Rillastine Wilkins, Commissioner Terry Sabo, Prosecutor D. J. Hilson, District Court Administrator Kathryn Howard, Public Health Muskegon County Director Kenneth Kraus, Youth Services Director Vernon Oard, Mental Health Director Julia Rupp, and Public Works Director John Warner.  The jail and juvenile transition center citizens review committee consists of Dorothy Scott, Chair, Maria Cisneros, Joel Engel, Andrew Heykoop, Michael Johnson, Peggy Selmon, Marsha Stewart, and Gloria White-Gardner.

William “Bill” Cariano, Missions Director Coordinator for the forgotten Man Ministry, gave the invocation. Many other members of the ministry were also present, including Rocky Heiss, Chaplain for the Muskegon and Newaygo county jail facilities.

The chairman of the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners, Kenneth Mahoney, led the assembled group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mahoney also made introductions.

Remarks were brought by Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler. He praised the progress from nine months ago on the construction, and thanked all who were strongly behind this project for Muskegon County law enforcement and the citizens of the county.

The Honorable William C. Marietti, circuit court judge, brought comments about the jail and juvenile transition center construction project.  Judge Marietti also spoke at the initial groundbreaking ceremony for the project.  His comments made note that there are those in the community who would say that we do not need a new facility and that prisoners do not need anything so grand — and let them rot. However, there is more at stake than prisoner comfort. There is the safety of law enforcement and workers at the jail, and the need for updated security and technology. Marietti mentioned the new juvenile transition center which will be located on the other side of Pine Street and hoped that more can be done to help our young people to keep them out of the prison system. He mentioned the Fresh Start Program and how young people who had had encounters with the court system where currently working at the Craig School building, cleaning the area around the former elementary school. It is his belief that if people are taught, mentored, and supported to take the right path in life, the need for incarceration will greatly decrease.

Granger Construction, the general contractor for the new jail facility, raised the beam as the crowd watched.

Afterwards, refreshments were served to all present.