Ingham County Sobriety Court Foundation holds second breakfast

Roberta M. Gubbins Legal News
The Ingham County Sobriety Court Foundation, formed in 2007, held its second annual breakfast early on October 25th at the Country Club of Lansing, Lansing Mi. 
President of the Foundation, John Nicolucci, a member of the Foundation Board since 2007, welcomed and thanked everyone for “attending and supporting our Ingham County Sobriety Courts.” 
Sobriety Court is comprised of three courts, Nicolucci explained. They are 54A Sobriety Court, City of Lansing, Hon. Louise Alderson presiding, 55th Sobriety court, Hon. Donald Allen presiding and the Family Dependency Court, Hon. Janelle Lawless presiding. 
“I am assuming that everyone here knows someone who has had a serious alcohol or drug problem,” he said. “Our courts address those problems and help these people get their lives back together.” 
Sheri Jones, WLNSTV 6 anchor and master of ceremonies for the breakfast, introduced Tom Anastos, Michigan State University Hockey Coach who is working to bring “Michigan State’s Hockey program back to glory.” 
Anastos spoke of coming to Michigan State Hockey when the program was not strong. 
“Coming to Michigan State was a life changing decision for me,” said Anastos. “I know you folks (in Sobriety Court) deal with the harsh reality of second chances. And I don’t want to pretend for a minute that my second chance” in coming back to Michigan State to coach hockey is anything like the second chances offered to the participants of Sobriety Court. 
Anastos played on the team while a student and coached “here in the ‘90’s with Ron Mason.” When he was offered the job as Hockey Coach, he was “stunned. One thing led to another and my family and I were offered a second chance to come back to Michigan State and be part of the community. And to try to resurrect the hockey program.”
Now entering year three of the program, Anastos is pleased to say the team is now part of Big Ten Hockey and his second chance is working. As did the Sobriety Court program for Alisha, the graduate speaker for the program. 
“In the program, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), we talk about where we came from and where we are now,” Alisha said. She explained that she is now 34 years old, the youngest of three, she was a latch key kid and her mother emotionally abused her. She admitted she began drinking at a very early age. By age 16, she was an alcoholic. For the next several years, she drank and used drugs. 
When Alisha was arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), “I opted for Sobriety Court to get out of jail. I finally took responsibility for myself.” This was her second chance. 
Although it was very difficult, she is “grateful for the experience.” Alisha credits the program for turning her life around. She is now a graduate of Cosmetology school and is a practicing cosmetologist. 
“Life,” she said, “is so much better without drugs and alcohol.”
Hon. Rosemarie Aquilina, then 55th District Court judge and now 30th Circuit Court judge, established the Foundation to support the local sobriety courts in meeting the needs of their participants. 
Jones closed the event urging all to contribute to the Foundation to “encourage and expand the court’s effectiveness, to make it sustainable, to generate local support and to enhance our sobriety courts.”
Sponsors for the breakfast included A.D.A.M., Hon. Donald Allen, Jr., Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, Robert Davis, Jr., LAFCU, Prevention & Training Services, Inc., Public Affairs Associates, Smart Start, and Richard Snider. 
For more information or to contribute to the Sobriety Court Foundation, please contact: Sherrie Blankenship at Maner Costerisan Business & Technology Advisors, 517-323-7500.  
Photo by Roberta M. Gubbins 
Left to right, Judge Donald Allen, 55th District Court Sobriety Court, Judge Janelle Lawless, 30th Circuit Court Family Dependency Treatment Court and Judge Louise Alderson, 54A District Court Sobriety Court.

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