Honoring those who work to resolve conflict

By Melanie Deeds
Legal News

One might safely assume that Brenda Lewis never worried about how to fill her days once she retired.

Though the Shelby Township resident had been mediating for The Resolution Center since 1998, she revved that involvement into high gear upon retirement from the U.S. Army’s TACOM division in Warren.

For her efforts, Lewis is being honored during the center’s annual Evening at the Movies” fundraiser on Tuesday, March 26 at the MJR Marketplace Sterling Heights Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights.

She will be presented with the  Lawrence W. Beckett Volunteer of the Year Award.

Craig Pappas, executive director, said Lewis played a crucial role as the center launched its small claims mediation program at the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township.

“Brenda has helped the agency out in other capacities such as fundraising and advanced trainings,” he said.

During 2018, Pappas said Lewis mediated more than 200 cases and volunteered more than 150 hours of mediation time.

The recipient of the Conflict Resolution Advocacy Award is Judge Gregory Ross, who serves on both the Sanilac County Probate Court and 73-A District Court benches.

In 2013, the Resolution Center began providing mediation services in counties in Michigan’s Thumb area as part of its contract with the State Court Administrative Office, Pappas said.

Ross was the first judge in the area to reach out and develop a collaborative partnership with the center, according to Pappas.

“We handle approximately 150 case referrals annually from Judge Ross,”?Pappas said. “He continues to be an advocate for alternative dispute resolution and we appreciate the support he has demonstrated.”

Barbara Johannessen of Rochester Hills will be honored with the Laurence Harwood Distinguished Mediator Award.

Johannessen has been a volunteer mediator at the center for more than 20 years. Additionally, she is a certified mediation trainer through the Michigan State Court Administrative Office.

Johannessen, the past chair of the State Bar of Michigan’s ADR Section, has trained hundreds of mediators throughout Michigan, Pappas added.

She was chosen for the award because she mediated more than 200 cases at the center, the highest number last year, he said.

Overall, the center processed 3,100 cases during 2018, of which 2,377 were mediated to settlement and 392 were mediated without settlement. Pappas said $1.2 million exchanged hands as result of
mediation settlements, an average of $3,500 per case.

Just over 6,000 people took part in a mediation through the Resolution Center office during 2018, he said. Meanwhile, 1,100 cases were court ordered and 1,950 were referrals from programs the center operations in connection with area schools.

Tickets for the March 26 event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., are $50 per person. Proceeds go toward strengthening the center’s Peer Initiatives and Restorative Justice Initiatives.

The cost covers beer, wine and food samplings along with the choice of any movie shown from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For additional information, contact The Resolution Center at 586. 469.4714 or visit http://www.theresolutioncenter.com.

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