August 30, 2011
Planes, Automobiles, Ferries, and Horse-Drawn Carriages
Flying into Traverse City, Michigan we seemed to float on one layer of fluffy clouds and were gently protected with a layer above. The setting sun was a cranberry red, sending its rays across the cottony sky, gleaming off Lake Michigan and making it sparkle like rose-colored diamonds. I wondered if this where the angels dance?
Any potential trepidation of driving two hours to Mackinaw City where I was to board a ferry to magical Mackinac Island flew out the window with the cool Michigan country air.
Mackinac Island is a journey back in time. Victorian homes wave to ferry travelers from the hillsides and the unmistakable smell of horses greets visitors at the dock, for no automobiles are on the island. Instead the taxi that greeted me was a horse-drawn carriage. The Grand Hotel crowns the island in graceful splendor since 1887, still pampering its guests in romantic elegant fashion.
The true joy of the trip were the wonderful people of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. Ken Stecker and Marcia Beatty were most gracious hosts, making sure every need (even when I had no needs - I was in heaven) were cared for.
Culminating the visit was a celebration of honorees at the PAAM Conference Banquet. I felt extremely humbled to partner with Mike Prince, Director of Michigan Highway Safety Planning, in presenting the David M. Schieber MADD Michigan Lifesaver Award to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Athina Siringas. She successfully prosecuted a driver who was impaired with a 0.26 BAC while driving over 100 mph. He hit and killed a 24-year-old young woman traveling home from babysitting.
APA Siringas shared that the victim's mother asked her to not let her daughter die in vain. She asked her to simply seek justice. That is what APA Siringas did. She obtained a conviction of second degree murder as well as OWI causing death. For that I applaud Ms. Siringas.
On behalf of drunk driving victims, I offer our gratitude for treating the offense as a serious crime. It is still distressing that today our society too often treats killing someone while driving drunk as an accident instead of the violent and offensive crime it is.
I see the future with advanced technology putting an end to it. If that doesn't work, I like the idea of going back to the horse-drawn carriage days. What a peaceful thought.
MADD National President