MCBA 2017 Law Day program has record attendance

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– LEGAL NEWS PHOTOS BY DIANA L. COLEMAN


By Diana L. Coleman

Legal News

The 2017 annual Law Day program, sponsored by the Muskegon County Bar Association (MCBA), had record attendance with a packed banquet room at the Lake House. 

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.   

The 2017 Law Day theme was “The 14th Amendment—Transforming American Democracy.” Attorneys, students, teachers, parents, former recipients of Liberty Bell and Frank D. Scott awards,  and members of the bar association filled the room in anticipation of the announcement of the 2017 scholarship and other award winners.

The program was opened by attorney Kevin Huss, President of the MCBA.  Huss then turned the program over to attorney Alisha Reidl, who has served as chair of the annual Law Day program for the past three years.  Reidl set the tone of the award presentations with excitement for those winning scholarship and student awards, the Golden Apple award, the Frank D. Scott award, and the Liberty Bell award.

The 2017 Golden Apple award, given to an educator, was presented to Lisa Minerek of Muskegon Covenant Academy. Two of Minerek’s students read the nomination they submitted to MCBA on her behalf.  It was a tearful presentation showing the great respect and affection they have for Minerek.  The students explained to the audience that she has made a huge impact in their lives and they would not have achieved academic success without her encouragement and assistance.

The MCBA presents the Liberty Bell award annually to a non-attorney citizen in the community who has devoted their time and efforts helping others in the Muskegon area and promoting the importance of the rule of law in daily life.

This year the MCBA presented two winners; Riedl said it was just too difficult for the committee to decide on one or the other. The 2017 Liberty Bell award was presented to Dr. Doris Rucks (posthumously) and Mrs. Jean Knudsen (widow of attorney Harry Knudsen).  Barb VanFossen spoke of Dr. Rucks on behalf of the committee from Hackley Public Library who submitted her name.  Attorney Ed Wasiura nominated Mrs. Knudsen and recognized her many years of service to the American Red Cross. She has spent many years of her life doing disaster relief, traveling to many areas of natural disasters such as hurricanes or floods, at locations around our country and outside our borders. Wasiura said that he thought he had really accomplished a great feat by practicing law for thirty years with Harry, but that Jean deserved a huge award for being married to Harry for over sixty years.  That was said in fun, but Wasiura remembered fondly that when Harry and Jean took him and his wife to dinner to discuss going into practice together, after an evening with them, Mrs. Waisura told her husband on the way home that “she wanted to be her,” referring to Mrs. Knudsen.  She is highly intelligent, always full of grace, and devoted to Harry and her family, as well as to those in need.

Attorney David Kortering, with assistance from former Frank D. Scott recipient Jason Carlson, presented the Frank D. Scott award to Sean Woltenburg for his tireless work in the probation department.  “He has built a bridge between the MDOC and the local police,” said Kortering. Woltenburg was humbled by the award and declined to speak at the presentation.

The highlight of the program is always the presentation of awards to the students.  The winners of the 2017 Elementary Art contest were: first place, Sofia Dykstra, 5th grade North Muskegon Elementary ($75); second place, Oliver Chumley-Jarvis, 4th grade North Muskegon Elementary ($50); third place, Analea Wingard, 5th grade North Muskegon Elementary ($25); and fourth place, Khaleeya Marshae Cook, 5th grade Ross Park Elementary ($25).

Middle School Paula Holmes-Greeley essay contest finalists were: first place Hunter Stevens, Montague NBC Middle school ($100); second place Greta Goszkowicz, North Muskegon Middle school ($75); third place Arayah Neste, Whitehall Middle school ($50); and fourth place, Taylor Quick, Mona Shores Middle school ($25).

MCBA President Kevin Huss said it was extremely difficult to select only four essays out of the 116 submitted.  Huss and the entire Law Day Committee served as judges in this category and received more essays for the competition than ever before. 

Huss gave a special thank you to John Noling of Rotary (and Orchard View Adult and Community Education), David Klemm of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, and Rosemary Stellino (former Liberty Bell award recipient) for their support of the Law Day program and encouraging area students to take part.

Award for 9-11 speech contestant finalists went to: first place, Claire McCall, North Muskegon High (Ipad Air); second place Jessica Assaad, Calvary Christian (Ipad Mini); third place, Namratha Nelapudi, North Muskegon High ($100); and fourth place, Emily Wesner, Calvary Christian ($75). The judges for the 9-11 grade speech contests were the Honorable Maria Ladas Hoopes, Patrick Finnegan, and Alisha Riedl.

The Honorable John Ruck, Prosecutor D. J. Hilson, and former Liberty Bell recipient Arn Boezaart served as the judges for the 2017 senior speech contest. This again was very difficult for the committee who were so impressed by all the contestants and their efforts in composing speeches on the very complex theme of the 14th Amendment.  Finalists were: first place Taylor Mikkelson of Whitehall High ($2000 scholarship); second place Rina McClain, Muskegon High ($1000 scholarship); third place Savanna Weglarz, Holton High ($500 scholarship); and Kyleah Sutherland, Calvary Christian ($250 scholarship).

It was an amazing event with smiles on the faces of many students, teachers, and parents.  Articles will follow regarding individual award recipients. 

This year’s Law Day 2017 Committee Members were Alisha Riedl (Law Day Chair and Liberty Bell Award Chair), Jenny McNeill (Speech Chair), Kevin Huss (Golden Apple Award Chair and Middle School Essay Chair), Rachel Terpstra (Treasurer), David Kortering (Frank Scott Award Chair), Jennifer Hylland, Alana Wiaduck (Art Contest Chair), and Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes.

 

 

 

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