2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
35th Annual RAM Training Conference Wrap Up
by Lorie Savin, Oakland County
Sahera Housey, Kate Weaver and their Conference Committee planned a fabulous conference this year at the H Hotel in Midland. While this year’s presentation topics were quite serious in nature, the weather was pleasant during the evenings providing an opportunity to enjoy camaraderie and the fresh air.
The relatedness of the topics combined with presenters that sat in the other speaker’s presentations, served the attendees well. Speakers were able to draw on the information previously presented to further the conversation on their given topics. The conference was kicked off by Zoe Lyons and Jaclyn Caroffino from the Department of Health and Human Services, explaining the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, resiliency, and how to be more effective in working with adults and children that have had adverse childhood experiences.
We then moved on to Kate Thomson’s presentation about everything we might ever need to know about cannabis including its anatomy and components, different delivery methods and resulting effects, and the legal landscape, including regulation (or the lack of it). Ms. Thomson is the COO of The Farm in Boulder, Colorado, but spent her early career in Ann Arbor working for various Zingerman’s entreprises!
Former Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski shared with us her insight into substance use disorder through her own work on and off the bench. Judge Switalski’s practical knowledge about how substance use can dramatically impact a person’s life, factors that contribute to addiction, and solutions that can help those with a substance abuse disorder was timely and necessary information to disseminate to everyone working in the legal system. She also emphasized the connection we often see between substance abuse, mental health, and violence, and dispelled myths about who is really using what substances.
Fellow referees Michelle Letourneau-McAvoy and Dale Murney led a well-received best practices roundtable discussion, which could have gone on for twice as long if we had enough time. And the conference would be incomplete without Ed Messing providing his annual case law update.
We were fortunate to welcome several judges to the group dinner Wednesday night, including Justice Brian Zahra, Judge Mark Switalski, Judge Tracey Yokich, and Judge Mary Ellen Brennan. We wrapped up the conference honoring the following members for their efforts in serving this organization:
In recognition of Lynn Perry, Kent County, for her outstanding leadership and dedicated service to the Referees Association of Michigan, as nominated by President Kristi Drake.
In recognition of Tara Hofmeister, Tuscola County, for her exemplary service to the Membership Committee and the Referees Association of Michigan for her efforts to increase membership.
In recognition of Ilyssa Cimmino, Oakland County, for her exemplary service to the Conference Committee and the Referees Association of Michigan for her continued assistance with conference activities.
In recognition of Zaira Maio, Macomb County for her many years of service to the Referees Association of Michigan.
In recognition of Shelley Spivack, Genesee County, for her many years of dedicated service to the Referees Association of Michigan and the children and families of Genesee County.