The Referees Association of Michigan, a special purpose Bar Association consisting of Family Court Attorney Referees, recently honored two outstanding women jurists at its 29th Annual Conference in Petoskey. Newly elected Tuscola County Probate Court Judge, The Honorable Nancy Thane, and retiring Attorney/Referee Kathy Oemke of Livingston County, were presented with special awards for the work each has done towards achieving the organizationís goal of ďCompassionate Justice Helping Children.Ē

Judge Thane, a former Referee and longtime member of The Referees Association, was elected to the bench in November of 2012. A Lansing native, Judge Thane graduated from MSU and Cooley Law School and was hired as an Assistant Prosecutor in Tuscola County in 1987. Recognizing her talent in the area of Family Law, she was quickly appointed as the Friend of the Court Referee in 1988. Judge Thane served as the FOC Referee until her appointment as FOC director in May 2012. A longtime member of RAM, Judge Thane served on the Executive Board from 2005 until 2009 and was the organizationís recording secretary.

Kathy Oemke, a 1980 graduate of the former Detroit College of Law, served as a Livingston County Referee for over 15 years before her recent retirement. Oemke has held leadership positions both in the State Bar and in the Referees Association. She was elected to the State Bar Representative Assembly and served for 7 years. After several years on the Board of Directors, Oemke was elected President of RAM in 2007. In addition to her work in the legal profession, Oemke has been on the boards of directors of organizations such as the Red Cross, the Womenís Resource Center and the Run for Justice.

The Referees Association of Michigan at the 29th Annual Conference bestowed the following additional awards:

           •   Lorie Savin of Oakland County – Presidentís Award for Service to RAM
           •   Kristi Drake of Lenawee County – Service to the Board
           •   Jen Sikora of Oakland, California – Service to RAM
           •   Sahera Housey of Oakland County – Active Member Award
           •   Mark Sherbow of Oakland County – Outstanding Executive Award
           •   Ed Messing of St.Clair County – Active Member Award


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May 22, 2013 - May 24, 2013

Stafford's Perry Hotel in Petoskey, Michigan

Wednesday. May 22, 2013:

12:00 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Conference Registration
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Presentation: Debra Poole, Ph.D. An experimental child psychologist who specializes in child development and social policy, Ms. Poole is a national authority on childrenís memory, children as eyewitnesses and forensic interviewing. She will speak on recent developments in communication, understanding, and interpreting what children say and what they mean.
4:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Presentation: Edward Messing -- Case Law Update
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Hospitality Suite: Meet and greet fellow Referees.
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Group Dinner -- Stafford's Perry Hotel
8:00 p.m. to ??? Hospitality Suite will be open. Come and enjoy some rest and relaxation!

Thursday. May 23, 2013:

7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Presentation: Michael Freytag, MA, LPC, NCC, CBT, TFT, Dx, will be presenting on the nature of childrenís illnesses, including, autism, bi-polar disorder, Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD). He will discuss how they are diagnosed, the various methods of treatment and medications, including when and when not to use. His focus will be on enabling Referees to determine how best to handle children and families with these diagnoses.
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Presentation: Bridget M. McCormack, Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan. Justice McCormack will speak to the Referees on the court and issues facing family court.
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions:

Erin Frisch, Director Operations Division, Department of Human Services. Ms. Frisch will provide information about two new retooling grant programs, the CAROTS program and the Predictive Modeling program. She will address these unique programs being piloted in multiple counties across the state in an effort to improve outcomes in the IV-D child support program.

Christine Piatkowski, Attorney at Law. Ms. Piatkowski, a private practitioner whose practice concentrates on juvenile, school, and disability law, and has worked with courts to improve their juvenile courts will focus on trends in juvenile law throughout the country. Attendees are encouraged to discuss hot topics pertaining to court improvement, legal representation, current case law, and other matters. In-State and Out-of-State pilot programs will be addressed during this interesting and informative presentation.
3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Joint Roundtable Discussion: Topic to be Announced
6:00 p.m. to ??? Dinner (on your own)
5:00 p.m. to ??? Hospitality Suite will be open.

Friday. May 24, 2013:

8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Breakfast Buffet
9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Executive Board Meeting. All are welcome to attend.
10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Presentation: Lannie McRill, MA, LLP -- Mr. McRill will address the use of synthetic marijuana and abuse of prescription medication.
11:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Conclusion of Conference. (Please turn in your evaluation forms.)
Special Guests: Brian Zahra, Justice, Michigan Supreme Court
Erin Frisch, Director Operations Division, Department of Human Services

To download this schedule in .DOC or .PDF formats, please select from the following links:  DOC   |   PDF