The Police Officers Association of Michigan is proud to announce Judge Steven R. Servaas, 63rd District Court Judge, as their 2012 Jurist of the Year. Judge Servaas is a graduate of Grand Rapids Union High School, a 1967 graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a 1969 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. Judge Servaas was a very active athlete while in school. At Union High School he was a three-time Class A singles tennis champion and a two-time letter winner in football and wrestling. At Trinity University he was a three-year letterman and a member of the 1964 No. 1 nationally ranked collegiate tennis team. In 1969 while at Michigan Law School he was voted the most valuable intramural athlete for the graduate school and won third place in the first-ever all-campus power-lifting contest. The judge still today is an athlete. He plays tennis, racquetball and golf on a regular basis. After law school, Judge Servaas served as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University, teaching criminal law and business law in undergraduate school and administrative law in the graduate school. He was also on faculty at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) in Chicago. Judge Servaas spent two years working as an assistant Kent County prosecuting attorney. In 1972 at the age of 27 he was elected District Court Judge in the 63rd District Court and at that time he was the youngest ever elected district court judge in the state of Michigan and may still hold that record today. Judge Servaas has just completed his 40th year as a district court judge. During his 40 years on the bench, he has mentored many attorneys and police officers who have passed through his courtroom. His community gathers around him for support and he is the longest serving judge in Michigan history.
June 14 2012
The Rockford Area Historical Society has successfully taken the first step toward its goal of moving the current Rockford Museum to its new site in the courthouse building that was vacated by the 63rd District Court in November 2009. Funds donated and pledged by area businesses and residents now total over $200,000, enabling the Society and the City of Rockford to enter into a lease agreement for the building. Over $100,000 is still needed to finish paying for renovations to the building and the creation of the exhibits that are planned for the new museum. In its new location the new museum will serve the community by offering expanded hours, more parking, better accessibility, and exciting interactive exhibits that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Additional fundraising activity will include an auction that will include online, silent and live auction events. The auction is being planned for late August or early September. The exact date will be set as soon as it can be determined when renovations will be completed to the point that the old courthouse will be ready for “visitors” This will be an exciting event. Current plans are to combine the online auction that will run for a period of time, a silent auction with items available for viewing for several days prior to a Saturday finale, and a live auction on that Saturday afternoon. The museum auction committee needs your help. Auction items ranging from vintage furniture, household goods, cars, boats, and power lawn equipment, to electronics, appliances, airfare, and vacation rentals such as condos and cottages, are being sought. Look around—if you don’t need it, maybe we do! Businesses are encouraged to also consider donating office equipment, services, or gift cards and certificates. Flyers with all the details will be available from area merchants soon, or you can call (616) 485-4144 any time to make donation arrangements or to get additional information. Historical Society members and volunteers are also now giving area residents an opportunity to have a little fun while making a small cash donation in a very unusual manner. This is a true win-win situation with a little mystery through the use of “scratch-off cards.” Anyone wanting to make a small donation can scratch off a spot […]
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by TERRY KONKLE President, Rockford Area Historical Society The bears of Clayton Cahill will be the focus of the column for this week. Several readers called me with questions about what happened to them. With lots of help and a bit of research, some interesting parts of Rockford’s caged bear history were revealed. Jim Eadie got things started by telling me that one of the bears was shot and killed. It seems that the bear got loose and wandered out to Wolven Street and into the yard of Howard “Red” Wolven. “Red shot the bear” said Eadie. My next step was to see if the circumstances of the shooting could be found. Howard Wolven is deceased, but a phone call to his son Mike proved to be very profitable. “My mother and father and Les Paepke and his wife had been to a pancake supper, and my dad took the Paepkes home,” said Mike. “My mother glanced out of a window and saw a bear. She got the dog inside and when my father returned she told him, and he went out and saw the tracks. Then he decided to go get Les to help and the two of them, armed with a 32 Winchester and a 20 gauge shotgun, went out to track the bear.” Mike continued, “My dad was in front and Les was the backup. Suddenly the tracks ended by a tree. My father looked up and the bear was sitting on a limb. When he raised his gun to shoot, all he got was a ‘click’ but his second try was successful. The bear fell out of the tree dead. Les, the backup, then found that he did not have a shell in the chamber of his gun.” Neither knew that the bear belonged to Mr. Cahill. My thanks to Jim and Mike for the history of one bear. Ken Ploeg, whose father owned Morton Motor Sales, knew the story of the second bear. It died in the cage on Jericho Street. Ken, who often drove the firm’s wrecker truck, got a call to see if somehow the bear could be removed from the cage and transported to another location using the wrecker. “I went there and was able to hook […]
Paper or plastic? We’re faced with this question 28 billion times a year in the U.S. It started in 1883 when Charles Stilwell invented a machine to make the “SOS” (Self Opening Sack) bag. Before that they were made by hand with v-shapes. The SOS was successful but boomed with the birth of supermarkets in the early ‘30s. We’re talking paper; no choice yet. Plastic was invented in 1868 as “celluloid,” an imitation of ivory. It had drawbacks by today’s plastic standards, but was popular for shirt collars and other little products. Celluloid morphed into Bakelite, which had multiple uses. More playing around with chemicals resulted in the plastic products that surround us today. Just think, even 50 years ago plastic bags didn’t litter the roads and clog the garbage dumps. Divorce joke No. 1 A couple had problems even though they’d been married only a short time. After a brief attempt to reconcile, they went to court to finalize their break-up. “What has brought you to this point,” the judge asked the husband, “where you can’t keep this marriage going?” The husband answered, “In the six weeks we’ve been together, we haven’t been able to agree on one thing.” The wife said, “Seven weeks.” Divorce joke No. 2 Sam: You know what, it’s really easy to get a divorce in the Middle East. A man is just required to say, “I divorce you” to his wife three times and it’s done. Jack: It’s even easier here. All a man has to say once is, “Yeah, that dress makes you look fat.” Education joke A mother mouse and a baby mouse are walking along when, all of a sudden, a cat attacks them. The mother mouse goes, “BARK!” and the cat runs away. “See?” says the mother mouse to her baby. “Now do you see why it’s important to learn a foreign language?” Old joke One day at the rest home an old man and woman are talking. Out of nowhere the woman says, “I can guess your age.” The man doesn’t believe her, but tells her to go ahead and try. “Open your bathrobe,” she says. He doesn’t understand but does it anyway. She inspects his undergarments for a few minutes and then says, […]