July 22 2010

Court battle ends with Supreme Court denial

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

A long fight to keep a full service courthouse in Rockford has ended with a denial to hear the case by the Michigan Supreme Court. With one justice, Elizabeth Weaver dissenting, the seven member court denied considering the case, citing “We are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.” The denial was issued July 16. “This has taught me one thing for sure, and maybe I’m naive, but justice isn’t blind, it’s political,” said City Manager Michael Young. Rockford initiated a lawsuit against Judge Sara Smolenski which was joined by Kent County. Many northern communities passed resolutions against removing the northern office of the 63rd District from Rockford to a consolidated location on Knapp Street off the East Beltline. A court presence, as required by law, remains in the former court building but is now limited to only four hours a month of service. Rockford, and Judge Steven Servaas, the judge who served his whole career from the Rockford court, believe legally Kent County is required to offer more service, if not a complete court, to the northern communities from the Rockford court location. They hoped an appeal to the Supreme Court could bring the complete court—judge and all—back to Rockford. “We fought it, we litigated it and we did not prevail,” Young said. “This is a huge loss of services for not just Rockford, but all of the northern communities.” Young said the end of the fight means that all the judges of the district, now just Servaas and Smolenski, are located in a facility that is in the southern half of the district. As cases are divided up, Smolenski is presiding over cases from the northern communities and Servaas is presiding over cases originating in the southern half of the district. “You can’t even vote to remove a judge if you don’t like what they are doing,” Young explains of the significance of this situation. “I find it incredibly ironic that they can say that Servaas has to live in the northern half of the district, but he can’t work here,” Young noted. “Tell me how that makes any sense at all.” Kent County Commissioner Roger Morgan said there are no hard feelings over the court issue and […]

Five lane plan for Ten Mile examined

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

by Cliff and Nancy Hill Tuesday evening, July 13, the Kent County Road Commission held a public meeting on proposed improvements to 10 Mile Road between the County landfill entrance east to Childsdale Avenue. The purpose of the meeting was to provide information on proposed improvements along this portion of County roadway. In 2011 the heavily trafficked and oftentimes-dangerous 1.4-mile stretch of road will be widened to five lanes, two lanes in each direction and a center turn lane, under a plan proposed by the Kent County Road Commission. The improvements will be very similar to those that in recent years were undertaken by the County on Northland Drive between Twelve Mile and Fourteen Mile Roads (M-57). Compared to this year’s Road Commission held meetings in Plainfield Township on proposed improvements to Belmont Road, this initial Ten Mile Road improvement meeting was civil. Readers may recall that a contentious group of Plainfield Township residents doomed the Belmont Road project to failure. The meeting was held in the spacious sanctuary of Resurrection Life Church, conveniently located adjacent to the stretch of roadway much in need of necessary improvements to handle ever-increasing daily volumes of traffic. An appreciative murmur rippled through the 100+ area residents in attendance when Wayne Harrall, Director of Engineering for the County Road Commission announced that, “A stoplight traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Wolven Avenue and Ten Mile Road.” Acknowledging the now difficult and oftentimes dangerous task of turning east or westbound off of Wolven onto Ten Mile Rd. Harrall also added, “The sightlines to the east would be greatly improved by raising the grade of a deep dip in the roadway by five to six feet thus eliminating a dangerous blind spot.” It was also noted that, at Highlander, the five new lanes would begin to transition and taper into the existing three-lane configuration of Ten Mile Road at Childsdale Avenue. No businesses will be affected because none front the particular corridor of road. Needing access, however, during construction is Resurrection Life Church and numerous driveways of private residences. Those concerned about having access to their homes or attending Resurrection Life Church services or its day care center were reassured that they would have free access during the […]

The Squire travels to Colorado

July 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

CELEBRATE—The Squire traveled with Jorge and Wendy Rodriguez on their honeymoon. It is shown here with them on July 4. While on their honeymoon they stayed at the Redstone Inn (historic landmark) in Redstone, CO. They also visited Aspen, Vail , and enjoyed the hot springs of Glenwood Springs