Muskegon County Bar Association Law Day 2016


By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

Muskegon County Bar Association (MCBA) held its annual Law Day program on April 29, presenting many awards, scholarships, and monetary gifts to the recipients.

In 1957, Charles S. Rhyne, American Bar Association President, envisioned a special day to celebrate our legal system. A year later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established Law Day USA to strengthen our great heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law.  Subsequently, in 1961, Congress designated May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day USA. Law Day programs are held nationwide on or around that date.

In Muskegon, the well-attended event was opened by 2015-16 Bar Association President Cavan Berry.  Attor-ney Alisha Riedl served as Chairperson of Law Day 2016.  This is the second year Riedl has chaired the Law Day program and has done such a good job that she may end up with the position permanently.

The Liberty Bell Award, presented to a local citizen (non-attorney) for service in the community and observance of the rule of law, was presented to Barb Wenk for her untiring service in the Nelson Neighborhood.  Wenk was nominated by the City of Muskegon Director of Public Safety, Jeff Lewis. Serving on the Liberty Bell committee was Alisha Riedl, Chair, and Rosemary Stellino, former recipient.

The Golden Apple Award, presented to a teacher for outstanding instruction in the importance the law and justice system plays in our lives, was presented to Mike Dunnuck of Ravenna Middle School.  Dunnuck teaches fifth and eighth grade social studies.  He was presented with a $500 gift to be used in his classroom.  Kevin Huss was chair of this committee.

The Frank D. Scott Award, presented to an individual who works in the law enforcement area of probation and corrections, was presented to Scott Collins, State of Michigan Probation Officer with 30 years’ experience. He was nominated by his supervisor, Anthony Cottner. The award is named after Frank D. Scott who worked his entire career as a Probation Officer for the Department of Corrections and, upon retirement, worked bringing the annual law education program to area schools. Attor-ney David Kortering served as chair of this committee and was assisted by DJ Hilson and Jennifer Hylland.

The Elementary Art Contest winners were Braden Gustin,  Muskegon Catholic Central; Melissa Beck, North Muskegon;  Maya Corbin, North Muskegon; and Elliott Schneider, Reeths-Puffer.  They were given $75, $50, $25 and $25 gift cards, respectively. Attorney Rachel Terpstra was the art contest judge.

The Middle School Essay Contest winners were Alaina Eilers, Montague N.B.C. Mid-dle School;  Laniya Wright, Muskegon Middle School; Aubrey Woodwyk, Ravenna Middle School; and Malakai Carr, Mona Shores Middle School.  The first place award in the essay contest is named the Paula Holmes-Greeley Award honoring Muskegon Chronicle reporter and community supporter Paula Holmes-Greeley (deceased). Students were given gift cards for $100, $75, $50 and $25, respectively.  Attorney Kevin Huss was chair and had to read 132 essay submissions this year.  He had a tough job to narrow it down to four winners.

The High School Speech Contest for students in grades 9-11 winners were Kyleah Suther-land of Calvary Christian; Chris Byers, Calvary Christian; Sam-antha Blakeman, Mona Shores; and Julia Maquire, North Mus-kegon. The winners were presented an Ipad Air, Ipad Mini, $100 and $75 respectively.  Attorney Jenny McNeill was chair of this committee.
The High School Speech Contest for seniors took an unusual turn this year and the judges could not make a distinction between two of the contestants, so they decided to declare them co-winners and both Megan Mitchell of Calvary Christian and TyJuan Thirdgill of Mona Shores High School were awarded the first place $2,000 scholarship. Mitchell and Thirdgill presented their speeches to the audience and it was apparent why the judges had difficulty selecting between the two students. Their speeches were outstanding. The other two senior speech contest winners were Devon Kitchen of Mus-kegon Heights High School and Victoria Darnell of Muskegon High School. They were presented scholarships of $500 and $250 respectively. The judges were also joined by John Noling, of Orchard View Adult and Community Education, and David Klemm of MAISD.  

MCBA and its hard-working Law Day program committee should be proud of its efforts in bringing Muskegon County students into the Law Day event each year and providing the winners with scholarships and gifts for their efforts and participation. The bar association annually recognizes not just students and teachers, but those who give of their time in the community to serve and uphold the Rule of Law.

Congratulations, MCBA, on another successful Law Day.