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Friday 07.24.2020

Friday 07.24.2020

Tri-Cities campaign encourages mask use

Thursday, the "I Love Our Community Campaign" launched in Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Spring Lake.

The campaign was started by collaborative partners of Grand Haven Main Street DDA, The City of Grand Haven, and North Ottawa Community Health System with the goal of raising awareness of why the community is acting responsibly around COVID-19, wearing masks and social distancing. To do this, the campaign organizers have designed a fun logo that can be customized to represent whatever the wearer is supporting by wearing a mask.

Logos can be downloaded from ForTheLoveOfCommunity.com.

Michigan grant aims to help area businesses

There's good news for area business owners: Small businesses around Michigan can get matching funds of up to ten-thousand dollars to help cut the risk of COVID-19 spread.

It is part of the state's new Michigan COVID-19 Safety Grant Program, which will take initial grant applications from Monday, July 27th until Friday, August 7th. A second round will only be available if the any of the eight-point-five-million dollars is still available.

Governor Whitmer said the grants will make it easier for employers to do their part.

Ottawa County Parks to raise funds with a virtual run

Ottawa County Parks are inviting the public to join the 'Explore Where You Belong' campaign! This year, they're doing something a little different in place of the 231 River Run.

They’re offering a virtual, all-fitness-levels event that will serve as a fundraiser for paved trails. The public is invited to three rivers in Ottawa County to run, walk, or bike on a date of your choosing from August 7 to August 23 on one or all of the trails along their waterways. Participants will receive a shirt, route maps, and love on social media. Maps will be available at shirt pick-up and emailed to participants.

For more information and to sign-up go to RunSignUp.com.

Judge denies wedding suit

A federal judge will not allow a Byron Center couple to have their 170-guest wedding at a Holland venue today as they had hoped.

David Van Solkema and Kiley Stuller as well as event venue Baker Events filed a federal lawsuit against the governor, attorney general, and the head of the Ottawa County health department this week, claiming the state's coronavirus event restrictions violate the couples' religious rights because, as Christians, they consider weddings to be a religious service.

A federal judge yesterday shot down their request for an emergency order that would have allowed the wedding to happen, saying Governor Whitmer's executive orders only restrict the size of the wedding, not the wedding itself. The couple is still planning to have a smaller celebration. The suit is still moving forward in court.

Thursday 07.23.2020

Thursday 07.23.2020

Spring Lake's Anna Kramer wins 2020 GAM Amateur Championship

Anna Kramer from Spring Lake has won the 2020 GAM Women’s Amateur Championship.

The tournament wrapped up Wednesday afternoon at Forest Akers West Golf Course. Spring Lake native Anna Kramer won the tournament in her biggest career win to date. She said that one thing that contributed to her win was her familiarity with the course, where she had won previously.

Kramer was the 2 day stroke metalist and dominated match play. She won the championship by defeating Kerrigan Parks from Flushing.

Grand Haven officials open new site for public opinion on Chinook Pier

Earlier this summer Chinook Pier was demolished due to mold spreading throughout the buildings. Now, Grand Haven officials will be using a new website, BeyondThePierGH.com, to find out what residents want the future of the location to look like.

After taking input from residents via the new website and in person, city leaders plan to make a decision on what to do with the pier later this year.

Holland Hospital launches new touchless temperature screenings

Visitors to Holland Hospital will be greeted at the entrance with new screening technology as staff work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

A little more than a month ago, Holland Hospital reopened its doors so visitors could see patients outside of the COVID-19 treatment area. Now, the hospital has installed touchless thermal sensors at all five entry points to screen patients. Previously, office staff were performing the screenings manually.

The information is sent to the receptionist who will ask visitors several screening questions about potential exposure to the disease and other symptoms. If the visitor has an unsatisfactory temperature, the staff can deny them entry.

The hospital says the touchless thermal sensor is the first of its kind in West Michigan.

Wednesday 07.22.2020

Wednesday 07.22.2020

Job opportunities coming for west Michiganders

West Michganders looking for work have a unique opportunity. The region’s workforce development agency is hosting a two-day hiring event by phone next week to fill positions on behalf of over 30 employers.

Residents of west Michgan can connect with employers at the West Michigan Works! remote job fair July 29 and 30. The event will feature over 150 job openings from more than 30 participating employers in various industries, including health care, manufacturing, food production and retail. Job seekers can register for 15-minute phone calls to learn more about the job opportunities.

Interested job seekers can access preparation resources, view a list of participating employers and register for phone calls on the West Michigan Works! website.

Salmon Run goes virtual

The 6th annual Salmon Run will happen virtually this year.

This years event will include a 5K, 10K and 1 mile family fun walk. This event is associated with the Grand Haven Salmon Festival and organized by the Momentum Center for Social Engagement. Both the 5K and 10K Salmon Run to eRace Stigma courses are challenging with varied terrain, and offer the beautiful scenery of Lake Michigan and the city of Grand Haven.

Participants will be able to complete their run anytime between September 7th and 19th, and they may track their run using any GPS app.

The Right Place distributing funds to small businesses

West Michigan-based The Right Place is among 15 economic development organizations distributing funds to small Michigan businesses that are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has given the organization $9.5 million in funds to distribute in grants of 20-thousand dollars or less as part of the Small Business Restart Program, which started taking applications last week. Lakeshore Advantage is also giving out three-point-five-million dollars in grants, and Southwest Michigan First is giving out over seven-point-five-million.

The MEDC awarded local organizations 100-million dollars in federal CARES Act funding to take part in the program.

Tuesday 07.21.2020

Tuesday 07.21.2020

High water levels cause more home damage

Historically high water levels on Lake Michigan are claiming another home along the lakeshore.

Lisa Hinrichs-Hodgini says her parents' Grand Haven home will have to be demolished due to extensive erosion caused by the lake. She says the sand dune behind the home collapsed last fall, and that demolishing the house and rebuilding it further from the shoreline is now the only option.

High water levels and strong storms last fall severely eroded dunes right up to many homeowners' doors, and at least one home in Muskegon County has already fallen off of its bluff and onto the shore below.

Grand Haven city council approves Harbor Island drive reconstruction

Grand Haven's City Council met last night.

Among the topics discussed was a consideration by City Council to award the Harbor Island Drive Reconstruction Project to a contractor. The project includes the reconstruction of the Harbor Island Drive and US 31 intersection, as well as installing a water main with fire hydrant to a connected property.

Harbor Island has needed to be raised since late 2019, due to high water levels.

Federal aid helps Michigan's budget

Michigan lawmakers will return to session to pass a spending plan to resolve the deficit caused by the coronavirus shutdown. The new plan includes a mix of spending cuts, a drawdown of the state’s savings and a supplement of federal rescue aid.

The basis of the deal was announced weeks ago by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders. Now, negotiators are working towards agreement on specifics in hopes of filling the remaining $2.2 billion budget hole this week before turning their attention to another major shortfall in the fiscal year that starts in October.

Monday 07.20.2020

Monday 07.20.2020

One injured in Grand Haven crash

Saturday evening the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a 1-car personal injury accident on Lake Michigan Dr. in Grand Haven Township.

Investigation at the scene showed a 30 year old West Olive resident was driving a 2002 Audi sedan west bound on Lake Michigan Dr. when he did not stop for the stop sign at Lakeshore Dr. The vehicle went across the intersection and struck a tree and then a brick retaining wall. The driver of the Audi was transported to North Ottawa Community Hospital with non life threatening injuries.

Alcohol does appear to be a factor in this crash which remains under investigation by the Sheriff's office.

MHSAA gives green light to fall sports

Michigan High School Athletic Association member schools will begin the 2020-21 school year playing Fall sports as traditionally scheduled, but with contingency concepts for potential interruptions due to the spread of COVID-19.

The MHSAA Representative Council met virtually with MHSAA staff Wednesday (July 15) to discuss a series of ideas for playing sports beginning in August. The Council will meet again July 29 for further discussion. Currently, high school football practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 10, with all other Fall sports to start practice Aug. 12.

Plans remain reliant on progression by schools and regions across the state according to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Safe Start Plan. Currently two regions are in Phase 5, which allow for limited indoor activity, while the rest are in Phase 4 and unable to host indoor training, practice or competition.

The MHSAA staff is building COVID-related policies for all Fall sports and will make those guidelines and precautions available to member schools as the season approaches.

West Michigan teen missing, presumed dead in Grand Haven

Grand Haven Public Safety Chief Jeff Hawke says a 14-year-old Grand Rapids boy is presumed drowned in Lake Michigan.

His department, along with the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police, spent about five hours searching for the teen and will resume this morning. Hawke says while they have information on his last position, currents in the lake are quite strong and can change that rapidly.

Meanwhile area beaches have been closed as the unusually high water has been deemed too unsafe for public use at this time.

Sunday Morning Forum 07.19.2020

Sunday Morning Forum 07.19.2020

Friday 07.17.2020

Friday 07.17.2020

New COVID-19 testing guidelines at NOCHS

North Ottawa Community Health System is changing it's testing procedures for COVID-19. Due to an influx of cases they are only able to test people who are showing symptoms of the virus.

If you believe you have come in contact with someone who was infected with coronavirus but you are not showing symptoms North Ottawa Community Health System officials advise you to contact the Ottawa County Health Department via phone or email.

Ottawa Area ISD superintendent announces retirement

Pete Haines, superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School Didstrict for the past five years, has announced his plan to retire during the 2020-21 school year after 30  plus years of working in education.

Haines has served at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels with 27 years in K-12 and another 6 plus years in higher education.
Most of his career has been devoted to promoting public education as an instrument for equity and opportunity.

Ottawa Area ISD Board of Education President Carol Slagh said the Board, OAISD staff, and the greater community are going to miss Pete and wish him only the best in his retirement.

New grants available for Michigan small businesses

The $100 million Michigan Small Business Restart Program will leverage federal funding through the CARES Act to help reduce the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic on Michigan small businesses and workers.

Michigan businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer employees will be eligible for the grant funds. Businesses must also demonstrate that they:

  • Are part of an industry or nonprofit that has been impacted by the COVID-19
  • Need working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses
  • Have had an income loss as result of the COVID-19.


The online application process opened today at MichiganBusiness.org/Restart and will close August 5. Eligible businesses may apply for grants of up to $20,000. Awardees will be announced no later than September 30.

Justin Amash declines re-election run

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash isn't running for re-election and also won't be seeking the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination.

Amash represented Michigan's 3rd District as a Republican since 2011 until becoming an independent in 2019. Earlier this year he joined the Libertarian Party amid talk of a third-party run for the White House. Amash confirmed that's not going to happen.

Amash tweeted Thursday that he will miss representing his community in Congress but it was his choice.

MSU scaling back coaches salaries

The Michigan State athletics department is trimming the salaries of the coaches of its top programs as budget cuts are being made across the campus.

Athletic Director Bill Beekman says contract employees will see their salaries cut temporarily on a sliding scale beginning September first. The head men's basketball coach Tom Izzo and head football coach Mel Tucker are among the employees who will receive a seven-percent pay cut this year.

Beekman's salary is being cut by ten-percent.

Thursday 07.16.2020

Thursday 07.16.2020

Grand Haven officials ask residents to conserve water

Grand Haven officials are asking residents to observe odd/even sprinkling days to conserve water during one of the hottest times of the year.

With the increased demand for water, the city is trying to ensure that too much demand isn't placed on city infrastructure by residents using water at once. The solution they've come up with is to ask people who live in houses with even address numbers to only use their sprinklers on even days, and odd house numbers on odd days.

Officials say that voluntary even/odd irrigation schedules will remain until weather patterns change significantly. More information is available at GrandHaven.org.

Local artists to appear in Ottawa County Art Trust Collection

Ottawa County and the Holland Area Arts Council have announced which works have been purchased to become part of the permanent collection of the Ottawa County Art Trust. Ten pieces were chosen for purchase awards from a total of 46 entries by 29 artists who live or work in Ottawa County.

The third annual exhibition is open for public viewing in the Ottawa County Administration Building at 12220 Fillmore in West Olive from 8AM to 5PM. Masks and social distancing are required. The exhibit closes on September 11.

New measures taken to defend against invasive species

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2020.

The act authorizes the construction of a multilayered system to prevent the spread of invasive species at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam. The project, which will be carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers, is intended to prevent invasive Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Congressman Bill Huizenga said that Asian carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes from an ecological as well as an economic standpoint.
In February, Congressman Huizenga testified before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that Congress can take a leading role in protecting the Great Lakes by moving forward and authorizing the Brandon Road project.

As a project of national significance, the legislation also increases the federal cost share for the project to 80%, reducing the burden on cash-strapped state and local communities.

AG Barr to visit west Michigan

The Attorney General of the United States is visiting Grand Rapids today.

Bill Barr will speak at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum at 11AM. He will be joined by U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew Birge and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider.

He will reportedly discuss the country's policy on China.

Wednesday 07.15.2020

Wednesday 07.15.2020

Ottawa Sands looks to residents for input

The Ottawa Sands Park Field Day is coming up.

Ottawa County residents have been invited Saturday to Ottawa Sands County Park for an afternoon of family-friendly activities, tasty food, and an opportunity to weigh-in on future improvements. This event will be free.

The public's input from the community field day will directly inform the Visioning Plan design process. Activities and input areas will be set up for appropriate social distancing.

The Ottawa Sands Park Field Day is happening Saturday, July 18 from 10 am-2 pm.

COIVD-19 vaccine progress could mean Michigan jobs

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are getting the green light to quickly develop two COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given both companies a fast track designation for two vaccines the companies are working on, which Pfizer says are the two most advanced vaccine candidates that are being studied.

The next phase of testing could start as soon as the end of July, and both companies expect to manufacture as many as 100-million doses of the vaccine by the end of the year if current studies allow for it.

Pfizer has previously said it would manufacture and distribute the vaccine out of its facility in Portage if everything works out.

Armed robbery in Park Township

Tuesday Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a residence on Wood Ave in Park Township in reference to a armed robbery.

Investigators say that three male subjects arrived to the residence with firearms and robbed the victim of cash and a phone. The suspects are known to the victim and they have had prior contact with each other.

The Sheriff's Office believes there is no threat to the general public from this incident.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Silent Observer at 1-877-88-SILENT.

Michigan emergency declaration extended

In response to every region in Michigan seeing an uptick in new COVID-19 cases over the past three weeks, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a new executive order that extends the emergency and disaster declaration through August 11.

Daily COVID-19 case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo regions. Positivity rates, which are the number of positive cases out of the people tested, are also increasing.

The increase in cases reflects a national trend: COVID-19 cases are growing in 39 states and in some are surging uncontrollably. Two days ago Florida recorded 15,300 new cases in a single day, the highest one-day total for any state so far during the pandemic.

Tuesday 07.14.2020

Tuesday 07.14.2020

'Sidewalk Sales' to be re-imagined

Grand Haven Main Street will be re-imagining the Sidewalk Sales event for the 2020 year.

While this means they will not have streets closed for a 2-day event, they do have plans for a micro event. This choice was made after consulting with the Ottawa County Health Department, neighboring communities including Holland, and their Promotions Committee. In the end, the City Council will require Health Department approval prior to any special event approvals.

These sales events have an impact on many area businesses, and so organizers say they are committed to making this year’s re-imagined event as successful as possible. Knowing that the Sidewalk Sales news comes as a blow, and they say they want to make sure to offer a re-imagined event rather than just canceling the event as other communities have done.

Grand Haven Area Community Foundation announces new grants

The Board of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and the Youth Advisory Council have announced fifteen grant awards, totaling over $225,000, in support of Northwest Ottawa County and the surrounding communities. This includes $40,000 to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum for their three-part capital improvement project at the Community Archive and Research Center.

The grant will enable the Museum to digitize their collection and migrate all data to an online collections management database; construct an artifact processing room, and relocate and properly house their textile collection at the Community Archives and Research Center.

Museum leaders say that transitioning to a cloud-based data management system will not only create greater efficiencies for the Museum staff, it will also allow the Museum to provide the community, and all school systems, remote access to the Museum’s entire collection.

Which bills Governor Whitmer passed and which were vetoed

Some senators expressed their disappointment Monday with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of bipartisan legislation that would have provided tax relief to individuals and businesses hit hard by the governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Jim Runestad, a Republican from White Lake, sponsored Senate Bill 936. That measure, along with SB 935, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Daley, and SB 937, sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall, would have provided cashflow assistance to businesses affected by COVID-19 by permitting businesses to delay payment of required sales tax, use tax, and income tax withholdings to the state until Nov. 20, 2020.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed one new bill into law. Senate Bill 630 amends the Public Health Code to establish a licensing and regulation structure for wholesale distributor-brokers of pharmaceuticals. The bill was sponsored by Senator John Bizon, R-Battle Creek.

Congressman Huizenga announces NDAA amendment

Congressman Bill Huizenga has announced the introduction of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would block the Iranian Government from accessing the U.S. banking system. The Huizenga amendment expresses the sense of the Congress that U.S. citizens’ bank deposits should not be used to finance the Government of Iran, and prohibits the issuing of licenses that authorize U.S. financial institutions to provide financial services to Tehran.

Congressman Huizenga called Iran 'the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror,' adding that he believes the measure prevents money Americans deposit in their financial institutions from being used to finance the terrorism.

The House is scheduled to begin consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act next week.

Monday 07.13.2020

Monday 07.13.2020

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners to recognize two award recipients

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will be meeting tomorrow via Zoom.

Part of the agenda will include recognizing two Outstanding Customer Service Award Recipients: James Dyer from the Sheriff’s Office and Deanna Allen from Community Mental Health.

That meeting will take place on Tuesday July 14th at 1:30PM. A link to the meeting is available at miOttawa.org.

11 year old struck by car in Park Township

Saturday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to an 11 year old struck by a motor vehicle on Ottawa Beach Road in Park Township.

Investigation on scene showed that a 44 year old Illinois resident in a 2018 Toyota was East Bound on Ottawa Beach Road when several pedestrians were attempting to cross in the marked cross walk. West bound traffic had stopped and they proceeded to the middle of the road. The 11 year old continued into the path of the East bound Toyota and was struck.

The driver stated he did not see her until the last minute due to traffic back ups on both sides of the crosswalk.

The girl was transported to Holland Community Hospital with non life threatening injuries by AMR Ambulance. This crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

Michigan receives PPE from Jordan

If you stay at or visit a loved one in the hospital in the next few weeks some of the equipment you see might have come from an unexpected place: Jordan.

Late last week Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a donation of Personal Protective Equipment from the Kingdom of Jordan had arrived in Michigan. The shipment includes overalls, surgical masks and goggles. A shipment of N95 masks is expected to follow. 

In total, the Kingdom of Jordan is donating 650,000 surgical masks, 10,000 medical overalls and 10,000 sets of eye goggles.

Since 2011, Michigan has been strengthening it's business ties to the Kingdom of Jordan by establishing notable exports in machine tools and equipment as well as defense, medical devices, and hardwoods sectors.

Friday 07.10.2020

Friday 07.10.2020

2020's alternative to the Coast Guard Festival

The Coast Guard Festival may be canceled, but you can still show support during what would have been Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival with the Front Porch Salute from July 25th-August 8th.

Festival Organizaers are inviting Grand Haven neighbors, businesses, apartments, and condos to transform their porch, deck, front door, yard, or window with patriotic colors and decorations.

Decorate anytime between July 25th and August 8th and email pictures of your completed creations to marketing@coastguardfest.org (including your address, which will not be shared). Photos will be posted on the Festival social media pages. All businesses, residential homes, and apartments are encouraged to participate.

Ottawa County Parks and Rec unveils plans for Grand River Greenway

Ottawa County Parks & Recreation has two major restoration projects slated for this summer. The first is an oak savanna restoration project at the newly acquired Stearns Creek Park. The second is a restoration of flood plain forest and bur oak plains at Eastmanville Farm.

The vision of the Grand River Greenway is to create a model ecological and cultural multi-use corridor along the Grand River. The Parks Department says this will preserve significant natural, historical, and cultural features and promote healthier, happier, and more vibrant communities.

It's their hope that the two planned restoration projects will increase ecological diversity and significantly improve habitat for wildlife along the river.

Governor warns against leaving masks at home amid rise in Ottawa COVID cases

As Ottawa County appears to be entering a second wave of COVID-19, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging Michiganders to mask up. The governor reminded Michiganders during a briefing yesterday that masks are still required in enclosed public spaces.

Whitmer said masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70-percent, and warned that if people do not follow the rule, case and death numbers could increase rapidly. She also noted that one in five coronavirus patients are people between the ages of 25 and 34, saying youth "will not protect" people from carrying and spreading the virus.

The number of COVID-19 infections in Michigan is on the rise, but deaths and hospitalizations are currently remaining steady.

Thursday 07.09.2020

Thursday 07.09.2020

Ottawa county earns praise from Census Bureau

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ottawa County is returning census forms at good rate, even while many West Michigan communities are behind other regions of the state.

The state is generally performing well with the third-best return rate in the country at 68.1%. Despite that, only two West Michigan communities are in the top 10 for our state, with Ottawa County at 4th and Kent County at 10th.

East Grand Rapids at 87.5% is the top-ranked city from West Michigan and is fourth-best in Michigan overall.

Grand Haven proposal goes viral

A video of a man proposing to his girlfriend in Grand Haven has gone viral.

Maria Guguliotta posted a video of her boyfriend proposing on the 4th of July. What makes the video stand out so much is that right before the proposal he slips and falls into the water. It's been shared around the world, even making it into the Daily Mail.

People are commending the man for his excellent recovery, seamlessly transitioning the fall into the proposal. In the video, Maria appears to have said 'yes.'

Empty the shelters event begins tomorrow

With the goal of getting as many stray pets adopted as possible, BISSELL Pet Foundation will pay for a portion of adoption fees at participating shelters starting on tomorrow and through Sunday, July 12. Pets can be adopted for $25 or less.

Protential owners are asked to go online to find an adoptable animal at participating shelters and processing procedures. Shelters will work with interested adopters to schedule an in-person appointment while still following COVID-19 guidelines.

Even if you can’t adopt a pet right now you can still help out. For those that want to help the foundation asks that you consider a donation on its website. That's bissellpetfoundation.org.

Wednesday 07.08.2020

Wednesday 07.08.2020

Salmonfest cancels some (but not all!) events

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings the Salmon Festival Board, in cooperation with their partners and local health department officials, made the decision to cancel many of the Salmon Festival events.

Canceled events include the Fish Boil, KidZone, Art Fair, Cook-off/Wine/Beer/Cider Tasting, Grape Stomp and Fishing Contest. There is some good news for fans of the festival though, since The Salmon Run to eRace Stigma will continue. This 5k and 10k with a one mile Family Fun Run is a fundraiser for the Momentum Center for Social Engagement and will be held between Sept., 7-19 as a virtual run.

The public can learn more and register at ghsalmonfest.com.

Officials urge caution as temperatures rise in the Tri-Cities

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health is urging Tri-Cities residents to be proactive about their health while temperatures are high.

They are encouraging the public to take precautions to stay healthy and safe, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic. For heat safety they are asking people to wear appropriate clothing, pace yourself and do not leave children in cars.

In addition to heat safety, they say that people should remain vigilant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following the disease prevention guidelines - wash hands often, clean and disinfect surfaces, avoid close contact with others, wear a face covering when around others and stay home if you are not feeling well.

Nearby, the city of Muskegon just set a record for the most number of days in a row with temperatures above 90 degrees, at nine days.

Lake Michigan at record high water levels

Lake Michigan is setting yet another monthly water level record.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in its monthly report that the lake's average water level for the month of June was five inches higher than the old record set back in 1986.  Last month was the sixth one in a row that Lake Michigan has shattered monthly water level records.

The Army Corps says it doesn't expect the lake's level to start dropping until August.

Tuesday 07.07.2020

Tuesday 07.07.2020

Passenger partially ejected in Crockery Township crash

Monday evening deputies from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a single vehicle crash on I-96 in Crockery Township.

Witnesses to the crash reported that the vehicle involved was driving recklessly and possibly racing another car before the driver lost control and left the roadway. The car struck several trees at a high rate of speed and suffered significant damage.

The driver was temporarily pinned in the vehicle until she was freed by deputies. She was wearing a seatbelt and reported no injuries. The passenger was partially ejected from the vehicle and suffered multiple serious injuries to his leg, arm, abdomen and head. He was transported to a Muskegon area hospital by NOCH EMS.

This crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

Park field day to help design future Ottawa Sands improvements

Ottawa Sands has a unique way of designing it's future plans: a Park Field Day.

Next Saturday Ottawa County residents are invited to Ottawa Sands County Park for an afternoon of family-friendly activities, tasty food, and an opportunity to weigh-in on future improvements. This event will be free.

The public's input from the community field day will directly inform the Visioning Plan design process. Activities and input areas will be set up for appropriate social distancing.

The Ottawa Sands Park Field Day is happening Saturday, July 18 from 10 am-2 pm.

Michigan teacher shortage worsens during pandemic

Schools around Michigan are expecting substitute teachers to be in short supply this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, Lezlie Soda with substitute teacher staffing company Edustaff says a decline in new educators has been going on in Michigan for years.

Edustaff says they have about 17-thousand subs for 400 districts throughout Michigan, and that they are working to hire as many as they can to ensure districts can cover teachers during the pandemic. The company is also offering part-time jobs to future educators who are still in college, and is working with districts to create teaching plans as the virus outbreak continues.
 

Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission seeks new member after tragic loss

The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission lost one of it's members, David VanGinhoven, to cancer in June. Members of the Commission said he gave much of himself for the betterment of the communities of Ottawa County, and that he will be greatly missed.

His passing has created a public vacancy for the duration of his term on the Commission that must now be filled.

Any interested residents of Ottawa County may apply for the Parks and Recreation Commission through the County’s website. Applications are open until July 31. The Board of Commissioners will review and appoint a Commissioner to complete David’s term, which expires December 31, 2020.

That website is miottawa.org.

Monday 07.06.2020

Monday 07.06.2020

Grand Haven city council meeting tonight

The Grand Haven City Council will be meeting tonight. One of the topics on the agenda to be discussed is the approval of a purchase agreement with Michigan Community Capital for City owned vacant property located on Comstock.

The meeting will be held virtually starting at 6:30 PM with a closed session. Beginning at 7:30 PM there will be an open session that the public can participate in via the city's YouTube or Facebook page.

Crash in Robinson Township sends injures two

Saturday the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a one car personal injury accident on North Cedar Dr. near 108th Ave, Robinson Township of Ottawa County. 

Investigation at the scene showed a 55 year old Grand Haven resident was driving a 2011 Mercedes Benz SUV east bound on North Cedar Dr. near 108th Ave, when it failed to negotiate a curve.  The vehicle left the roadway, overturned and struck a tree. The passenger of the vehicle, a 47 year old resident of Texas, was transported to Hackley Hospital by North Ottawa Ambulance with serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle was also transported to Hackley Hospital by Life Ambulance, although their injuries were non life threatening.

Alcohol does appear to be a factor in this accident, and the crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's office.

MI Restaurant Promise established to help fight COVID-19

A group of 86 Michigan restaurant and bar owners centered in west Michigan have announced a new initiative to ensure the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative is called "MI Reastaurant Promise," and it involves both a commitment to follow government set regulations as well as common sense measures that will increase the safety of both staff and guests. The safety precautions include things like daily temperature checks for staff and spacing tables to allow for social distancing.

Organizers say they are disheartened to see some establishments where mandates are not being adhered to and enforced, saying that behavior threatens to undo the many sacrifices the community and the industry have made since March 2020, and undermines the hard work of establishments who have implemented policies to keep the public safe.

A full list of participating restaurants are available at MIRestaurantPromise.com.

Sunday Morning Forum 07.05.2020

Sunday Morning Forum 07.05.2020

Thursday 07.02.2020

Thursday 07.02.2020

Free course for teachers shows how to run online classes

New guidance is available for tri-cities teachers wondering how to navigate COVID-19 precautions in the coming school year.

Davenport University has announced that it is offering Pre-K through 12 teachers a free virtual workshop, based on a graduate-level course, to support the creation of online coursework for their students. The program addresses the challenges teachers face when providing instruction online. It's also designed to help them create a Virtual Learning Map for effective online Pre-K through 12 classes.

The workshop will walk teachers through digital platform options for learning and assessment, and will also help build techniques to assist students in connecting with course content.

Teachers or school administrators interested in participating in the workshop can register at davenport.edu/K12online. Participants must register for the class by July 17.

West Michigan Photo Contest offers prizes for Tri-Cities photos

The West Michigan Tourist Association has announced the launch of their 2020 West Michigan Photo Contest.

The contest is looking for traveler photo submissions from all around West Michigan. This region covers the entire west half of Michigan from the Indiana border to Mackinac Island and into the Upper Peninsula, with the Tri-Cities being on of the major tourist destinations.

All photo entries must be received by July 28th. Judges will be awarding prizes in the categories of "Nature," "Downtown," "People," and "Beach/Lake," with an additional prize awarded via public voting by the Tourist Association’s Facebook audience.

In addition to receiving a West Michigan prize pack, all winning photos will be featured in WMTA’s upcoming West Michigan Carefree Travel Guide, printed in January of 2021.

Ottawa County Road Commission warning for drivers

The Ottawa County Road Commission has a warning for local drivers: Watch out for deer.

While it's commonly thought that late fall or early winter are the prime times for vehicle-deer crashes, a recent study showed that in Michigan in 2019 one of the months with the most deer-involved crashes was June. In fact last year in June Michigan reported more than 4,400 deer-vehicle crashes, and conditions appear to be similar this year in July.

The Road Commission has one simple message that they hope avoids some crashes: Watch for deer all year, and don't veer.

Wednesday 07.01.2020

Wednesday 07.01.2020

Ottawa bracing for COVID spike

Ottawa County may be in for a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Chief Communications Officer Jen VanSkiver from North Ottawa Community Health System says they're inundated with patients who are actively symptomatic at their testing site. The hospital is currently scrambling to get enough staff to extend hours.

As of now, hospitalizations are stable, but officials at North Ottawa Community Health System are urging the public to follow safety guidlines to prevent COVID-19 from speading throughout the community.

MDOT called in after two crashes at Grand Haven intersection

A second crash at US31 and Hayes in Grand Haven had investigators wondering if there could be a problem with the traffic light.

Yesterday deputies were dispatched to a two car injury accident the intersection. A 30 year old woman from west Olive drove through the intersection in a 2006 Kia, saying later that she had a green light. She struck a 2005 Workhorse box truck that was going East on Hayes. Driver of the truck, a 41 year old man from Holland, also stated that his light turned green. The West Olive woman was injured and was taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital and her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

MDOT traveled to the scene to checking the light, due to this being the second injury accident at the location in a day. MDOT has checked the timing of the light, to ensure it is working properly.

Ottawa County businesses affected by rain granted loan eligibility

Michigan businesses and residents affected by severe storms and flooding on May 18, 2020 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, according to an annoucnement by Administrator Jovita Carranza.

Administrator Carranza made the loans available in response to a letter from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on June 26, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Muskegon County and the adjacent counties, including Ottawa county.

In accordance with health precautions for the Coronavirus, the SBA will not establish a field presence to assist survivors. However, they will continue to provide customer service and conduct outreach virtually with webinars, skype calls, phone assistance and step-by-step application assistance.
To this end SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help survivors apply online.

There are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application.

Nominees sought for 2020 Excellence in Equity Awards

Ottawa County is seeking nominations for the Excellence in Equity Award now through August 31.

The award was established in 2019 to recognize individuals who impact the public sector field in Ottawa County and focus on the importance of equity through their practices, programs, policies and decision making.

The award is presented at the annual Diversity Forum. In 2019, Reyna Masko was honored with the very first Equity In Excellence Award. More information is available at miOttawa.org.

Tuesday 06.30.20

Tuesday 06.30.20

Robinson Township crash victim identified

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deceased from the single motorcycle crash that occurred Sunday on M231 & Lake Michigan Dr in Robinson Township of Ottawa County.

56-year-old Frank Tiles from West Olive MI was killed when the motorcycle he was riding left the roadway for an unknown reason and crashed into a large ditch, ejecting Mr. Tiles from the cycle. 

Mr. Tiles was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and alcohol appears to be a factor however, the investigation continues by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

What's next for Chinook Pier?

The City of Grand Haven is turning to the people to decide what’s next for Chinook Pier.

Late in 2019 a mold issue caused the city to notify store owners that they would need to leave the pier. Initially the plan was to fix the pier, but closer inspection revealed that it would instead have to be demolished.

Some of the shops were relocated to the Grand Trunk Historic Depot, which the city had originally planned to renovate and use as a public space.

Mayor Bob Monetza says that the city plans to take input from residents on what the next steps for the pier should be.  In addition to allowing time at city council meetings, the city says it will launch a website to collect data and ideas from the community.

Gov. Whitmer asks for loans for Muskegon, Ottawa and other counties

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the federal Small Business Administration to help Muskegon County residents whose homes were damaged by flooding caused by heavy rains in mid-May.

The governor wants the SBA to set out an administrative declaration for Muskegon County that would give those homeowners access to long-term low-interest loans to pay for repairs. The SBA found during an assessment that at least 35 homes suffered major damage due to the flooding.

Whitmer is also asking that the declaration be extended to Kent, Ottawa, Newaygo, and Oceana counties.

Monday 06.29.20

Monday 06.29.20

Motorcyclist killed in Robinson Township crash

Sunday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office along with Robinson Township Fire responded to a motorcycle traffic crash on Lake Michigan Dr. and M231 in Robinson Township.

Responding units located a 2009 Black Honda Motorcycle on the South side of the intersection 25 yards off the roadway. The 56 year old operator of the motorcycle was thrown from their vehicle and received fatal injuries. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

According to police the motorcycle was southbound on M231, went through the intersection at Lake Michigan Dr and drove off the south side of the roadway. The crash appears to have occurred during the early morning hours of June 28th. The crash scene is not visible from the roadway. The driver was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The identity of the driver is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, and the crash remains under investigation.

New insurance rates in Michigan begin this week

Beginning this Thursday, motorists in Michigan have new choices available to them after the state's no-fault insurance law passed last year.

Right now, Michigan has the highest auto premiums in the country. Personal injury protection makes up half the cost, but beginning Thursday, the annual Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fee drops from 220-dollars to 100-dollars.

Motorists are advised to check with their agents before making changes.

Holland business burns over the weekend

Over the weekend a fire burned through a Holland business.

Saturday a passerby called 911 to report seeing flames coming from a building belonging to Deleeuw Lumber located at 79 James Street in Holland Township. Ottawa County Deputies responded to assist Holland Township and Park Township Fire Departments who extinguished the fire.

According to fire personnel on scene, the structure involved in the fire is owned by Deleeuw Lumber and is used for wood finishing. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

A complete damage estimate is unknown at this time, but the building was said to be mostly empty prior to the fire and the majority of the loss will be the cement block building itself. The exact cause of the fire is unknown at this point, but fire department personnel on scene reported nothing suspicious that would lead to an immediate criminal investigation into the causation of the fire.

Friday 06.26.2020

Friday 06.26.2020

Heavy rainfall heading for west Michigan

A line of storms, possibly bringing with it damaging winds, is expected to roll across western Michigan today. The greatest risks are for severe wind damage and power outages. Hail and an isolated tornado are also a possibility. Rainfall amounts will range from a half-inch for most of West Michigan up to three inches in some areas. 

3 injured in Crockery Township crash

Thursday the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a 2-car personal injury accident on M231 near Leonard St in Crockery Township.

A 49 year old Detroit resident was driving a SUV northbound on M231 and was passing several northbound vehicles when it struck a southbound vehicle head on. The south bound vehicle was a Cadillac sedan driven by a 49 year old Grand Haven resident with a 15 year old passenger.

The occupants of the Cadillac had minor injuries and sought their own treatment. The driver of the SUV was transported to Butterworth hospital with serious injuries.

Alcohol does appear to be a factor in this accident, and the crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's office.

Representative Huizenga introduces bipartisan mental health bill

Representatives Bill Huizenga and Paul D. Tonko have introduced the Medical Mental Health Inpatient Equity Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to improve mental health care across the nation by permanently repealing the Medicare 190-day lifetime limit for inpatient psychiatric care.

Huizenga's office said that by removing the limit they will increase access for the seriously ill and improve continuity of care for many of America’s seniors. In 2018, Congressman Huizenga worked with Pine Rest to introduce legislation that would address access and affordability of mental health services in underserved communities.

Momentum Center to host virtual town hall

Monday, June 29th the Momentum Center for Social Engagement will host a virtual town hall on Public Health & Racial Justice. One of the key topics of discussion will be on how racial justice has an affect on public health.

The virtual town hall is on 6:30 on Monday. Those interested in attending must register at MomentumCenterGH.org.

Thursday 06.25.2020

Thursday 06.25.2020

NORA millage on August ballot

The North Ottawa Recreation Authority, or NORA, is posing a question on an upcoming ballot. They're requesting a .25 millage in order to adjust their existing programs and expand what they're offering.

According to officials the millage would allow NORA to remove local government contributions, reduce league fees, add outdoor and educational classes, add more summer school sites, update equipment for parks.

A .25 millage would equate to $25 a year for someone who owned a $200,000 home.

The issue will be up for vote on August 4th.

One injured in Grand Haven crash

Wednesday afternoon the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office was called to a one car crash involving a 89 year old driver that had struck a tree. This crash occurred in the 15000 block of Robbins Rd in Grand Haven Township.

The driver was attempting to back out of a driveway when she pushed the accelerator instead of the brake. She backed her vehicle across Robbins Rd and entered private property across the street where she struck a tree with the back end of her 2005 Mercury Montego.

The driver suffered injuries that are thought to be non-life threatening and she was transported to an area hospital by LIFE ambulance.

The crash remains under investigation by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office.

Grand Haven High School to host drive-in commencement

Today Grand Haven High School is going to celebrate the class of 2020 in a unique way: a Drive-In Commencement. Administrators will be reading the graduating students names in front of 4 big screens while attendees will be parked in the Grand Haven High School parking lot. The parking lots opens at 5PM, and the event begins at 6PM.

That ceremony will be carried on WGHN. You can listen on the radio on 92.1 fm and online at WGHN.com.

Pigeon Lake boaters asked to slow down

Boaters on Pigeon Lake in Ottawa County are being told to slow down. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has enacted a slow, no wake rule for the lake at the request of Port Sheldon Township. Township leaders requested the rules to prevent more shoreline erosion, as water levels are currently high.

The regulation will expire on December 18th, and boaters could face a 115-dollar fine for violating the rule.

Wednesday 06.24.2020

Wednesday 06.24.2020

When you can use 4th of July fireworks

July 4th is right around the corner, which means the sight and sounds of fireworks are eagerly anticipated by some, and dreaded by others. Grand Haven mayor Bob Monetza recently reminded those looking to celebrate with fireworks that they are permitted between 11AM and 11:45PM in the days surrounding the holiday.

The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year, which should give local residents all day to celebrate.

Off road vehicle crash injures three

Tuesday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office along with rescue personnel were dispatched to an injury accident involving an Off Road Vehicle in a yard at Robinson Township.

Investigation into the crash showed that the ORV (a golf cart) was being driven by a seven year old girl. It was occupied by a total of five children. The ORV was being driven in the front yard of the residence when the driver lost control which caused it to overturn onto its side. Two of the passengers were pinned underneath the until is was removed by an adult.

Three of the five childeren were transported to the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other two were checked on scene by medical personnel and released to their parents.

Good Samaritans prevent drowning at Holland State Park

A drowning at Holland State Park was avoided thanks to the quick work of good samaritans.

Two children, ages 15 and 9, were playing in the water along the shoreline, when a reported rip current pulled them out into the lake. Their aunt, who was on the beach with them, went into the water to rescue them and also began to struggle.

Good Samaritans on the beach and pier then entered the water and threw life rings to the subjects. The cildren and their aunt were safely helped out of the water and back to the beach.
 

Man who drowned in Georgetown identified

The basketball coach and father of two who drowned in an Ottawa County pond this week has been identified.

Family members say 29 year old Steve Lucas Junior drowned Monday while trying to retrieve a ball he and his kids accidentally knocked into a pond at Eighth Avenue Community Park in Georgetown Township. His family says they aren't sure what happened because he was known to be a strong swimmer.

An autopsy is being conducted to see if he suffered from any medical issues.

Tuesday 06.23.2020

Tuesday 06.23.2020

Public input will help shape Ottawa Sands

Ottawa Sands has a unique way of designing it's future plans: a Park Field Day in July.

Ottawa County residents are invited to swing by Ottawa Sands County Park for an afternoon of family-friendly activities*, tasty food, and an opportunity to weigh-in on future improvements. This event will be free. The public's input from the community field day will directly inform the Visioning Plan design process. Activities and input areas will be set up for appropriate social distancing.

The Ottawa Sands Park Field Day is happening Saturday, July 18 from 10 am-2 pm.

Grand Valley raises tuition

Grand Valley State University's tuition is going up.

The board of trustees approved a three-percent tuition increase yesterday, which means students will pay about $192 more each semester. The board also approved a 13% increase in financial aid and decided to allow administrators to wait until November to finalize the next budget.

Administrators wanted more time to see how much state funding the school would get as they anticipate cutting the budget by 10%.

Another drowning in west Michigan park

Monday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office along with Georgetown Fire/Rescue and Life EMS responded to a call at a Georgetown township park for an unresponsive male which had been pulled from the water by bystanders.

Investigation on scene shows that a 29 year old Kentwood man was attempting to retrieve a football which had drifted out about 25 yards into the lake. While swimming out to the ball witnesses observed him begin to struggle and go under the water. Witnesses then took rafts out to his location and were able to pull him from the water, back to shore and begin CPR.

Emergency personnel arrived on scene and began life saving measures but were unsuccessful.

This incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

Monday 06.22.2020

Monday 06.22.2020

New legal dispute resolution service launches in Ottawa County

The Michigan Supreme Court Office of Dispute Resolution today announced the availability of its MI-Resolve online dispute resolution tool in Ottawa, Allegan, and Barry counties. MI-Resolve provides an efficient and accessible way of resolving disputes that are typically filed as small claims, general civil, or landlord-tenant cases in the district court.

Michigan Supreme court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says that the tool is designed to make the process of dispute resolution easier for people who cannot afford lawyers, and is also likely to lighten the load put on courts throughout the state.

MI Resolve is now available in 47 counties, and is scheduled to be expanded to all 83 counties by the end of June, making Michigan the first state to have an online dispute resolution system for every citizen in the state.

The resolution tool can be accessed HERE.

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners to discuss 62 acre land purchase

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will be meet this week to cover a variety of issues.

Among the topics to be discusses is the Bend Area Purchase Agreement, which would authorize the Board Chairperson and Clerk/Register to sign the Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate with the Boynton Land Company for the purchase of 62 acres in Georgetown Township at a price of $447,670. The purchase would be part of the Bend Area Acquisition with funding provided by a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant and the Parks and Recreation budget.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners are meeting Tuesday at 1:30PM via Zoom.

Two injured in car on bike crash

Over the weekend deputies from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to a personal injury crash in Holland involving a single vehicle and two bicycles.

Investigation at the scene showed that two Holland area residents, a 14 year old and an 18 year old, were riding their bicycles in the travel lanes of Butternut Drive prior to the crash. The bicyclists did not have lights on their bicycles and were attempting to cross five lanes of traffic on Butternut Drive in the dark. The bicyclists ran into the side of  a northbound car being driven by a Holland Township resident.

The younger bicyclist was transported to Holland Hospital with minor injuries, while the 18 year old was treated and released on scene. The driver of the car was not injured.

Judges rules Michigan gyms can reopen Thursday

A federal judge in west Michigan is allowing indoor gyms across the state to reopen starting Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney issued a preliminary injunction against the part of Governor Whitmer's order keeping gyms closed in response to a lawsuit filed by 20 gym companies and the League of Independent Fitness Facilities and Trainers, Incorporated. Maloney says the state failed to provide enough evidence that gyms are high-risk when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

Gyms must still follow workplace safety guidelines issued by the state. Whitmer's office says she plans to appeal the ruling.

Friday 06.19.2020

Friday 06.19.2020

Police searching for witnesses to Spring Lake hit and run crash

Late Thursday deputies from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to a two vehicle hit and run personal injury crash that occurred near the intersection of Fruitport Road and Willows Drive in Spring Lake Township.

Investigation at the scene showed that a Chevrolet pickup truck being driven by a 22 year old male from Grand Haven Township crashed into a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by a 50 year old male from Spring Lake Township.

Following the collision, the driver of the Chevrolet truck fled the scene in his vehicle until he lost control and stopped in the front yard of a residence. The driver then fled on foot a short distance until he was stopped by area residents who kept him on scene until police arrived.

Both drivers were transported to area hospitals for treatment of their injuries and both are in stable condition.

The exact circumstances of the crash remain under investigation and any witnesses are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 1-800-249-0911.

Congressman Huizenga cosponsors JUSTICE Act

Congressman Bill Huizenga has announced his support and cosponsorship of police reform legislation known as the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere, or "JUSTICE" Act.

This legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Pete Stauber and is the companion bill to legislation introduced Wednesday by Senator Tim Scott in the United States Senate. 

The JUSTICE Act strengthens the training methods and tactics throughout law enforcement jurisdictions, especially regarding de-escalation of force and the duty to intervene, providing law enforcement with new funding to do so, and will also end the practice of utilizing chokeholds. JUSTICE also requires a report establishing best practices for the hiring, firing, suspension, and discipline of law enforcement officers.

The JUSTICE Act will finally make lynching a federal crime. It also creates two commissions to study and offer solutions to a broader range of challenges facing black men and boys, and the criminal justice system as a whole.

Michigan State of Emergency extended

Michigan's state of emergency due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is being extended.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said yesterday the extension of the state of emergency to July 16th will allow her to keep intact restrictions and orders that remain after she lifted a stay-at-home order. The state of emergency also clears the way for people to be eligible for unemployment an additional six weeks.

It puts a hold on evictions and requires masks and social distancing during the outbreak. 

Thursday 06.18.2020

Thursday 06.18.2020

Police ask for help in finding a missing man

Ottawa County Sheriff's deputies are searching for a 92-year-old man reported missing.

Robert Locke left his Beldon Township home in a 2004 silver Toyota Sienna minivan Wednesday and never came back, which his family says is unusual for him. He is described as a 5'8", 175lb man with blue eyes and gray hair.

Anyone with information about his location is urged to call Ottawa County Central Dispatch or Silent Observer.

West Michigan student wins major art prize

Congressman Bill Huizenga announced this week that Jody Brown, a student at Zeeland East High School, was the winner of the 2020 Second Congressional District Art Competition.

Jody’s work, “Inaccurate Portrayal of a Pencil Witch: Volume One,” will now be placed on display in the U.S. Capitol for the next year with the work of winning artists from around the country. The second and third place pieces of art will be displayed in Congressman Huizenga’s Grandville office. In total, 52 submissions from schools across West Michigan were entered into the 2020 Congressional Art Competition.

The top 12 pieces of art submitted by students across West Michigan are posted on Congressman Huizenga’s Facebook page.

Juneteenth celebrations begin tomorrow

Juneteenth events are being planned around west Michigan this year.  Denavvia Mojet created a Facebook page where members of the community can find a list of Juneteenth events happening around the state, and she hopes this year's holiday will give the black community time to heal after the recent weeks of unrest across the country.

Juneteenth is held on June 19th, which is the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the news of the Emancipation Proclamation had spread throughout the country and the last slaves were granted their freedom.

Two festivals at Martin Luther King Park and a drive-by parade at the Great Giant Supermarket will be happening tomorrow in Grand Rapids, and more celebrations will be held at Dickinson and Garfield parks on Saturday. The times of some of the events overlap due to social distancing orders that bar gatherings of over 100 people, and organizers say masks are being required.

Michigan earns praise from COVID tracking site

Michiganders have earned a point of pride when it comes to fighting the coronavirus.

The website Covid Act Now says Michigan and New York are the only two states on track to contain COVID-19. The site says it's working to provide disease intelligence and data analysis on the virus in the U.S.

Covid Act Now said Wednesday that coronavirus cases are decreasing steadily in Michigan, and the state's preparedness meets or exceeds international standards in many areas.

Wednesday 06.17.2020

Wednesday 06.17.2020

Grand Haven leadership asks for public input on future of Chinook Pier

Chinook Pier in Grand Haven has been demolished due to a mold problem that could not be remedied. Now, city leaders are looking at waterfront redevelopment plans for what will replace it.

City manager Pat McGinnis said that leaders will be asking the public for their input during the coming months before a decision is made. Opportunities for public input will be provided at city council meetings, and city leaders are going to be conducting informal polls during the summer.

To aid in the waterfront redevelopment, Grand Haven has recieved a grant from the state for $50,000.

B.C. Cobb Generating Plant to be converted after sale to Ferrysburg company

The former B.C. Cobb Generating Plant in Muskegon now belongs to a west Michigan company that plans to transform the site into something new.

Forsite Development Incorporated has sold the property to Ferrysburg-based Verplank Dock Company, but the exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Verplank plans to use the site to consolidate its commercial dock operations along Muskegon Lake, which means it will be transformed into a port that will service maritime freight operations.

The plant was shut down in 2016.

West Michigan Lighthouse guide offers free adventure for Michiganders

The West Michigan Tourist Association has announced the release of the 2020 Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour. This is a free poster-sized publication which details all of the lighthouses located on the shores of Lake Michigan, as well as the Circle Tour driving route to guide motorists around the lake.

The full circle tour driving route around Lake Michigan is available online, and website visitors may also download a PDF of this year’s Lighthouse Map, or request that a free copy be mailed to them at WMTA.org.

Governor Whitmer extends order allowing easier prescription refills during pandemic

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-124 extending her previous order which gives pharmacists increased operational capacity and expands access to prescriptions for Michiganders who need them.

What this means for tri-cities residents is that pharmacists will be allowed to continue to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients. The order also requires insurers to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, under the order pharmacists will be allowed to dispense COVID-19 treatments as they become available.

Tuesday 06.16.2020

Tuesday 06.16.2020

Grand Haven Main Street to launch passport program

Grand Haven Main Street is beginning a new promotion to help bring more people downtown to help support small businesses.

It's called the small business passport, and it begins this Friday. Small Business Passports will be given out at participating businesses during the promotion. These passportports will give holders access to exclusive offers at Grand Haven businesses.

The promotion is going on from Friday, June 19 through July 19.

Michigan now requiring nursing homes test residents and staff

Michigan is requiring coronavirus testing of all nursing home residents and staff. This will include local facilities like MediLodge at the Shore, which recently had more than 20 confirmed cases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement yesterday. Officials also reported there have been over 7,100 cases and close to 2,000 deaths among patients in nursing facilities. Nearly 34% of the state's COVID-19-related deaths and 12% of the cases statewide came from nursing homes.

West Michigan man charged with parents' murders

A 25-year-old man is has been charged for allegedly killing his adoptive parents near Muskegon last week.

Gregory Scholtens was arraigned on two counts of open murder yesterday after Maureen and Randy Scholtens died at their home in the Egelcraft Mobile Home Park in Egelston Township on Thursday. Gregory has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The victims' exact cause of death has not been released, but authorities earlier said they had been beaten and stabbed.

Michigan AG on landmark SCOTUS ruling

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that phohibits job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, she is still calling for similar changes to the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which is Michigan's civil rights law.

Yesterday's ruling expands the federal Civil Rights Law's meaning of sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation. Nessel called the decision "relatively narrow," noting that the expansion only provides workplace protections for the LGBTQ community and that decisions regarding housing, education, and other protections have not been made.

She says she hopes that state judges will follow in the Supreme Court's footsteps when similar cases move through state courts.

Monday 06.15.2020

Monday 06.15.2020

Where to return cans, now that you can

Following Governor Whitmer’s safety protocols, phased reopening recommendations and CDC guidelines, SpartanNash has announced it will reopen bottle return areas in it's stores throughout Michigan today.

This includes the D&W Fresh Market in Grand Haven.

In compliance with the State of Michigan’s Phase 1 reopening plan, the bottle return areas that will be reopening are limited to those located at the front of the SpartanNash-owned store.

Bottle return areas will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and bottle returns will be limited to $25 per person per day. If the bottle return bins reach capacity, the bottle return area will close for the day.

Motorcycle crash in Park Township injures one

Sunday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to a car vs motorcycle personal injury accident on Ottawa Beach Rd near Chippewa Dr in Park Township.

Investigation showed that a Holland male was heading west on Ottawa Beach Rd driving a Honda Odyssey. When he slowed for a vehicle in front of him that was turning left, another Holland man operating a BMW R12 motorcycle behind the Odyssey was unable to slow in time and struck the rear of the Honda.

The operator of the BMW was wearing a helmet, though he did sustain injuries and was transported to Holland Community Hospital. The driver of the Honda was not injured. 

Oxford study says Michigan's COVID response likely saved lives

An Oxford study indicates Michigan's aggressive approach to preventing the spread of COVID-19 may have saved tens of thousands of lives.

The study comes from Imperial College London and Oxford University. It looked at non-pharmaceutical approaches to managing the pandemic, such as stay-at-home orders and social distancing. The researchers learned that states with more aggressive restrictions saw greater success in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Friday 06.12.2020

Friday 06.12.2020

Grand Haven leadership to discuss new vehicle purchases

Monday the Grand Haven City Council will have a special meeting. Among the topics to be discussed is the possiblity of buying two new vehicles to add to the city's lineup.

The vehicles are a 5 ton dump truck, which costs $157,000, and a Sewer-vac truck, which costs $445,000. City Manager Pat McGinnis says that the purchased would come out of a motor pool fund, which draws from other funds of various organizations such as police and sewage maintainence.

The meeting will be held electronically on Monday at 6:30PM, although it will be a closed session.

Government offices in Ottawa County to reopen Monday

Beginning June 15, Ottawa County offices are reopening to the public. Officials continue to encourage the public to visit their online service center to determine if a service can be fulfilled remotely. They are waiving convenience fees for online services at this time.

Officials are asking the public to adhere to safety procedures when entering County facilities. They ask that visitors stay home if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, wear a mask if medically able, sanitize hands upon entering the building, and maintain a 6-foot physical distance. If a lobby becomes full, they may ask visitors to wait in their vehicle until called inside for service.

Offices that will be open include the Clerk, Sheriff's Office, Community Mental Health, Public Health, the 58th district court and the 20th district court.

Grand Haven D&W offers vaccinations with safety measures in place

SpartanNash has announced additional safety measures at each of its 88 company-owned pharmacies in seven states. The additional safety measures will allow store guests to more safely receive CDC recommended vaccinations, administered by a SpartanNash pharmacist.

Participating pharmacies are include the D&W Fresh Market in Grand Haven.

To ensure the safety of both store guests and pharmacists, customers will first need to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and immunization screening form. The pharmacist will then administer a contact-free temperature reading, and both the pharmacist and the customer will be required to wear a medical grade face mask, provided by SpartanNash.

Customers can request the immunizations on a walk-up basis or by calling their local SpartanNash pharmacy to schedule an appointment, provided they meet the screening protocol.

Thursday 06.11.2020

Thursday 06.11.2020

Ottawa County leadership takes steps to ensure residents can vote safely

Although residents in hundreds of communities throughout Michigan are receiving applications to vote from the Michigan Secretary of State, registered voters in Ottawa County can expect to receive a mailing from the County instead.

This postcard mailing, set to arrive in mailboxes in the next week, informs voters of their right to participate in the elections process by absentee ballot, and includes an application for their ballot that can be mailed back to their local jurisdiction clerk. Also included is a link to Ottawa County’s new Elections Security webpage, miottawa.org/securingthevote, that highlights a number of common questions and concerns from voters.

Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg cited concern for access to a fundamental right and the health of the community as driving factors in the decision to conduct a countywide mailing. 

Cleanup in west Michigan begins after storms

Cleanup is underway after the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal tore through west Michigan Tuesday and Wednesday. Roger Morgenstern, with Consumers Energy, says crews are working around the clock to restore power for the thousands of customers who lost it during the storms.

The recent storms caused over 235,000 Consumers Energy customers across the state to lose power, with large concentrations of outages reported in the Battle Creek and mid-Michigan areas and in Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties. The utility says the wave of storms that moved over Michigan yesterday brought down four-thousand wires and created 2,500 tree hazards within its service territory.

Tree-related damage has been reported around the region and strong winds caused a semi-truck to tip over in Zeeland Township, but no injuries have been reported.

Police search for deadly hit and run suspect

Police are searching for a suspect in a deadly Muskegon Heights hit-and-run.

The Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office has issued a warrant for the arrest of Anthony Spann in connection to a June 4th crash at Hackley Avenue and Getty Street that killed 48-year-old Yvette Hurt. Investigators say Spann was driving north on Getty when he hit Hurt's car as she was turning onto that street, and that he fled the scene afterward. He's facing the charges of failing to stop at the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license.

Police are urging Spann to turn himself in.

Wednesday 06.10.2020

Wednesday 06.10.2020

Memorial held for local child

An area school is remembering a young boy who drowned over the weekend at Holland State Park.

Six-year-old Iain Rowe went missing in Lake Michigan on Saturday, and his body was found the next day. He had just finished kindergarten at Grand Haven Christian School where family and friends gathered in his memory Monday night.

A 17-year-old also drowned in the same area this weekend, but the two incidents aren't connected.

Two missing west Michigan children found safe

Police have announced a missing 16-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister have been found unharmed after they ran away from their foster home in Holland.

Police say Juan and Emelyn Garcia-Yax ran away from their foster home on East 25th Street in Holland in the early morning of June 1. The two children entered the United States in March as unaccompanied minors seeking asylum from Guatemala. Police say Juan left a note for the foster parents thanking them for everything but said they needed to take care of “personal matters.”

Holland officers say the Office of Refugee Resettlement is once again working with the children. 

After heavy rain weather service warns strong storms, hail, and tornadoes are still possible

The threat of strong storms and damaging winds is lingering in west Michigan today following an evening of storms that knocked out the power to thousands.

Multiple severe thunderstorm warnings were issued last night as the remnants of tropical storm Cristobal moved through the region. Gusts higher than 60 miles per hour were felt in Ottawa County. Consumers Energy reported that at least 26,000 of its customers lost power at one point, with the more widespread outages located in Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and St. Joseph counties.

The National Weather Service says strong storms, hail, and even a tornado are possible today, with the highest threat looming over areas east of US-131.

Michigan Attorney General sues owner of Midland dams

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is suing the owner of two Midland County dams that failed last month. Nessel argues Boyce Hydro should have to foot the bill for cleanup efforts in mid-Michigan.

About eleven-thousand people along the Tittabawassee River had to be evacuated last month after the Sanford and Edenville dams failed following heavy rains, and about 2,500 homes and businesses were damaged in the resulting floods.

Nessel claims Boyce Hydro ignored regulators' calls that the dams be maintained and argues the company should also pay for homes that were lost to the floodwaters. She is also demanding that the remainder of the Edenville dam be repaired, as it is still holding back water and has become a public safety hazard.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Monday she is requesting a major disaster declaration to unlock more federal assistance for restoration efforts.

Tuesday 06.09.2020

Tuesday 06.09.2020

Body of missing teen recovered from lake Michigan

The body of Christian Ngabo, a 17 year old Grand Rapids teen who went missing while in the water at Holland State Park, has been recovered.

Monday, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Dive Team recovered the body of Christian Ngabo in Lake Michigan. Units from the Sheriff's Office were assisted in the search by the Michigan State Police and the Allegan County Sheriff's Office.

Delays expected for Norton Shores traffic

Drivers should expect some delays in Norton Shores starting today and continuing through Friday.

Cleaning and sealing of the Lake Harbor Road Bridge over the Mona Lake Channel has been scheduled to start this morning. Work will involve single lane closures controlled by flagging operations, and as a result delays should be expected in the area.

This work is scheduled to be completed by the end of the week.

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meets today

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners has a meeting scheduled for today.
Among the topics to be discussed are a public hearing on the Proposed 2020 Millage Rates for County Operations, E 911, Parks, Community Mental Health, and the Road Commission.
The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will meet this afternoon at 1:30 via Zoom.

Monday 06.08.2020

Monday 06.08.2020

Grand Haven home catches on fire

Early this afternoon a home caught fire on Elliott Ave. in Grand Haven. Maxine Ruiter says the fire started when she was cleaning a grill, which caught ablaze.

The Grand Haven Fire Department was able to contain the fire, although not before multiple homes were damaged.

Two boys drown in dual tragedies at Holland State Park

Over the weekend Ottawa County police were called to find two missing boys in unrelated incidents, both last seen in the water at Holland State Park.

On Saturday afternoon the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to the Holland State Park in reference to a missing 17 year old. Witnesses said two brothers from Grand Rapids, ages 17 and 19, were swimming off the beach and began to struggle in the water. The the 19 year old began to swim back to shore and was thrown a lifering by witnesses. With the aid of the lifering he was safely assisted to shore. The 17 year old, Christian Ngabo was last seen struggling in the water 40-50 yards off shore.

While on scene investigating the Sheriff's Deputies were also advised of a missing 6 year old boy. The boy, Ferrysburg resident Iain Isaiah Rowe, was reported last seen in Lake Michigan in waist deep water.

Sunday evening Sheriff's Office Dive Team located the body of 6 year old Iain Rowe in Lake Michigan along the rocks just north of the Holland channel. The body has been taken to Holland Hospital for autopsy, although foul play is not suspected at this time.

Earlieer this morning the Ottawa County Sheriff's dive team found the body of Christian Ngabo. Ottawa County Sheriff's Office deputies were assisted by Michigan State Police and the Allegan County Sheriff's Office.

At this point it is believed the incidents are unrelated.

Boat crash causes serious injury at Lake Macatawa

Saturday Ottawa Co. Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to an address on South Shore Dr. in Ottawa County's Park Township for a subject that had been injured in a boating accident on Lake Macatawa.

Investigation showed that a 12' hard bottom inflatable boat was being driven by a 37 year old Holland resident. The driver lost control of the outboard motor and the boat turned sharply causing subjects to be thrown from the boat. One of the passengers, was thrown from the boat sustained a leg injury from the motor's prop. All subjects were able to climb back in the boat and return to shore.

The passenger with a serious leg injury was flown by Aero Med to Butterworth Hospital.

Dogs welcomed back to Kirk Park Dog Beach

Some good news for dog owners: The Kirk Park Dog Beach has been re-opened, although with limited hours.

Dogs are now allowed at Kirk Park daily from 7 to 10AM and 7 to 10PM. Officials are reminding the public that if dogs are not at the dog beach, they are required to be leashed and under control at all times. This includes walking to and from the beach.

Michigan Supreme Court rules in favor of barber who broke quarantine

The Supreme Court in Michigan has ruled in favor of a barber who defied Governor Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus non essential business shutdown order.

In a unanimous decision late Friday, the state's high court ruled in favor of Owosso barber Karl Manke. The decision overrules the Governor's attempt to fine him and take away his business license.

Manke had said he would keep working until they cut off his hands.

Sunday Morning Forum 06.07.2020

Sunday Morning Forum 06.07.2020

Friday 06.05.2020

Friday 06.05.2020

Governor Whitmer announces a "phase 5" start date

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has announced that many services, including salons and barbers, will be able to reopen on June 15th. The move comes as the infection rate for COVID-19 seems to have stabilized in most areas throughout the state.

Some regions in Michigan, including the upper pennisula, are being moved into "phase 5" earlier due to lower COVID-19 infection rate.

2020 Ottawa County Fair cancelled

At a special meeting earlier this week the Ottawa County Fair Association Board of Directors voted to cancel the 2020 Ottawa County Fair. They say the decision was not made in haste, and that they included input from many vendors, grandstand events, and the carnival, along with many discussions with the Health Department.

The Ottawa County fair was founded in 1959 and has a rich history in the area. 

Officials say they have been busy planning this event for all to enjoy and are already looking forward to organizing the 2021 fair. The public can follow them on their website, ottawacountyfair.com and Facebook for possible upcoming events later this fall and their 1st  Fair Food Drive-in Weekend, June 5, 6, and 7.

Michigan Sheriff's Association issues official statement on George Floyd's death

The Michigan Sheriff's Association, a group that represents all 83 of the state's elected sheriffs including the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, has released a statement on the death of George Floyd. In it, the sheriff's association condems the actions of the Mineapolis Police Department which lead to the death of Floyd. They say that the officers invoved have degraded, disparagd, and discredited the profession, and that they want Michiganders to know that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated here.

West Michigan landlord accused of sexually harassing female tenants

A Muskegon landlord who manages 25 rental properties is being accused of sexually harassing female tenants.

A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice alleges Darrell Jones is in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The suit claims that between 2008 and 2018, Jones touched women renting his properties without consent, made unwelcome sexual comments, offered free or reduced rent in exchange for sexual favors, and retaliated against women who refused to accept his offers.

Co-owners Fatima Jones and Jones Investing LLC are also named in the suit, which seeks monetary damages for victims as well as civil penalties.

Michigan Board of Education requests federal aid

The Michigan Board of Education is asking for federal aid to address school funding cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Superintendent Michael Rice said yesterday students should not have to suffer because of a pandemic they have no control over.

Rice said during a virtual press briefing Thursday that leaders expect the school aid fund to face a $3 billion deficit over the next two years due to Michigan's COVID-19-related school closures, which would be one of the largest school-related budget cuts the state has ever seen. That means districts would see a loss of about 685 dollars per pupil.

Most districts currently receive about $8,000 per-pupil, which is the minimum amount of funding. Rice says federal aid could also help students who are unable to take part in remote learning due to a lack of access to technology.

Thursday 06.04.2020

Thursday 06.04.2020

GHAPS superintendent gives start date for 20/21 school year

As the school year wraps up this week for Grand Haven Public Schools, Superintendent Andy Ingall released a video on the school's Facebook Page. He thanked the school community for their patience, resilience and grace.

Moving forward Ingall says the school year for 2020/2021 will start on Wednesday, August 26.

Ingall says they will continue to plan for Fall and will be ready for whatever the eventuality will be when they get to the start of the school year. The video can be found on the school's Facebook page where they will also post updates throughout the Summer. 

Car crash in Robinson township injures two

Wednesday evening the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to car crash at the intersection of 144th Ave and Lincoln St in Robinson township. The Sheriff's Office was assisted by Grand Haven Township Fire / Rescue and North Ottawa Community Hospital Ambulance.

Investigation into the crash showed that a 33 year old female from Muskegon was driving a Ford Expedition eastbound Lincoln St approaching the four way stop at 144th Ave. The driver explained to Deputies that she was unable to stop due to a possible mechanical issue with her vehicle. The Ford Expedition entered into the intersection causing a collision with a Chrysler Town & County which was driven by a 73 year old male from Grand Haven.

The 73 yr old suffered non life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. One of the passengers in the Town & Country, a 48 year old male from Grand Haven suffered minor injuries and was not transported to the hospital.

The driver of the Expedition was cited for disregarding the stop sign.

Free COVID-19 tests available this weekend

Free COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available this weekend from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Testing will take place in the West Ottawa High School South Campus in Holland.

This free diagnostic testing (which is not antibody testing) is for anyone who wants a test even if they have no symptoms. No screening or doctor’s order is needed.

There will be drive-through and walk-up lanes. An express lane will be available to those who filled out and printed the testing consent forms.
Officials are asking those who want to be tested to bring a form of ID.

Testing times are Saturday, June 6 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, and Sunday, June 7 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Unemployment in Ottawa County highest ever recorded

The preliminary unemployment rates for April 2020 were released last week by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

The data shows a significant increase in unemployment rates in every county due to the impacts of COVID-19. Ottawa County’s unemployment rate jumped from 2.4% in March to 21.2% in April, with April’s rate being the highest since data was first reported in 1976.

Throughout Michigan, county unemployment rates ranged from 14.5% to 41.2% in April.

Wednesday 06.03.2020

Wednesday 06.03.2020

Chinook Pier businesses relocated

As the date of the demolition of Chinook Pier draws near, many tenants have relocated and opened their businesses.

Temptations, Dairy Creme, Peace Frogs and Grand Haven Beach Company are in the newly remodeled Depot at 1 N. Harbor, while Surf Shop and Barefoot Dave's moved to locations downtown. Temptations and Surf Shop are the 2 remaining original tenants.

Most of the stores were on track to open May 1, but openings were also delayed because of Covid-19.

Grand Haven City Council discusses racial justice

Nationwide unrest has been sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis last week after a police officer knelt on his neck.

Michigan has been no expection, and earlier this week Grand Haven's city council discussed what the lakeshore community can do about the situation. Part of the discussion was the suggestion that the situation should be looked into by the city's Human Relations Commission.

Meanwhile state officials have said they will be announcing some police reforms that could be pursued at the executive and local levels to help reduce police violence and improve accountability and transparency in police departments.

The Getty Drive-In returns

The Getty Drive-In in Muskegon will open for the season this week with new rules in place to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The theater will open at 50% capacity on Friday. Cash will not be accepted, and convenience fees are being waved for online ticket sales through July to encourage people to buy their tickets in advance. Concession stands will only allow people to wait in line outdoors.

This year's opening movies are "Trolls World Tour," "The Invisible Man" and the 1978 version of "Superman."

MHSAA updates guidelines for reopening school sports

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is updating its guidelines for reopening school sports.

The MHSAA announced the update yesterday after Governor Gretchen Whitmer said on Monday that her stay-home order is being lifted.  MHSAA says two conditions must be met for member schools to begin summer activities at school facilities.

First, school administrators must announce school facilities are open to students and staff, and the academic school year has to have ended.

Tuesday 06.02.2020

Tuesday 06.02.2020

New website for informing local voters

A new website has launched that provides citizens in Ottawa County with information on how their votes are counted and details the security steps that go into the elections process. The website is miottawa.org/securingthevote.

The project, called “Securing the Vote”, highlights the timeline of the elections process: before, during and after Election Day. The most common questions received by the Clerk’s Office are listed, along with detailed answers, links to further information and informative infographics. 

Peaceful protests in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids police chief Eric Payne says GRPD has heard the concerns of protesters who peacefully gathered downtown yesterday.  The chief briefly addressed the small crowd yesterday, where he asked them to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement to help keep everyone in the community safe.

Local law enforcement officers and the Michigan National Guard had a large presence in downtown Grand Rapids yesterday after receiving word of plans for another protest.

Those who gathered at Fulton Street and Ionia Avenue to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis held signs and asked Payne to join them, but he says he refused because the event was not a permitted gathering. Protesters also asked for other officers and National Guard members to kneel or walk with them as a sign of solidarity, but they did not respond.

Authorities moved in a line down Fulton Street and used what they called "Safe Smoke" to clear the scene once the city's curfew set in at seven p.m. At least five people who stuck around after seven were arrested.

Governor Whitmer lifts stay-at-home order

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is lifting Michigan's stay-at-home order and moving Michigan into phase four of her reopening plan. She made the announcement during a press briefing yesterday following months of quarantine and protests.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are now allowed as long as social distancing requirements can be followed, and retail businesses can start letting in customers without appointments and with capacity limits starting Thursday. Restaurants can reopen at 50-percent capacity starting next Monday. Gyms, casinos, and hair salons must still remain closed, but outdoor fitness classes and athletic practices can take place.

She says she hopes to move forward with phase five of the reopening plan by July 4th.

Monday 06.01.2020

Monday 06.01.2020

Protests in west Michigan

Over the weekend west Michigan saw multiple protests in support of racial equality, including protests in Muskegon and Grand Rapids. Some of the protests turned into rioting.

After Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss put in place a 48-hour curfew, the streets were quiet. During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Bliss said they saw a peaceful protest turn into violence, chaos and destruction Saturday night.

The organizers of the protests Saturday night said riots are the last thing they ever wanted to happen. Sunday morning, they were there to help pitch in and clean up.  Miesha Perry and Asja Saintard, the co-organizers of the protests Saturday in Grand Rapids, said they were leading non-violent protests and to see how it turned out is unbearable.

Road work may slow traffic in Ottawa County

The Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) is working on several road projects today that may hinder traffic in the coming days.

A temporary lane closure is planned starting today on 68th Avenue over the Grand River, south of Leonard Rd in Eastmanville. Farther off in Jamestown the commission will be replacing cross tiles on Riley Street between 8th Avenue and 16th. As a result, the road will be closed to through traffic.

The OCRC has contracted with Strawser Construction to do cape seal treatment on roads in Polkton, Tallmadge and Wright townships throughout June.

Spring Lake crash sends one to hospital

Over the weekend the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to a car versus bike personal injury traffic crash in Spring Lake on N. Fruitport Rd at Central Ave.

Investigation showed that a bicyclist was w/b on the bike path and stopped at N. Fruitport Rd.  He proceeded to cross the road and peddled in front of the path of a vehicle, which could not avoid the collision and struck the bicyclist.

The 65 year old bicyclist, a Spring Lake resident, was transported to North Ottawa Community Hospital with non life threatening injuries.  
The vehicle operator was not injured in the crash.

Michigan governor encourages peaceful protest

Saturday Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II issued the a statement encouraging communities across Michigan to designate areas for peaceful demonstrations.

In their statement they said that this is one of the most challenging periods in our lifetimes, and that people in communities of color across the nation and in Michigan are feeling a sense of exhaustion and desperation.

They said that their administration is working closely with local elected officials, public safety, and faith, and youth leaders to encourage communities across the state to designate areas for peaceful demonstrations where people can make their voices heard.

Friday 05.29.2020

Friday 05.29.2020

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners ask Governor Whitmer not to extend stay-at-home-order

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners has sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requesting that no more extensions be made to the stay at home order.

The order is currently set to expire on June 12, but it has already been extended several times in order to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19.
In their letter, the Board argues that Ottawa County residents will take to heart the safety measures that have been put forth by health experts such as physical distancing, hand washing, wearing face masks, and staying home if at high risk.

Board chair Roger Bergman went on to ask the governor to let local governments and businesses reopen, but also noted that he understands some restrictions would have to remain in place to protect vulnerable populations.

Phone troubles cause a car crash in Olive Township

Deputies from the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a 1 car injury accident in Olive Township Thursday.

Investigation shows that a Cadillac was being driven Eastbound on Port Sheldon by a 46 year old Holland resident. The driver said he reached for his phone that had fallen to the floor, and ran off the south side of the road. Although he was able to correct, he then ran off the North side of the road and into a ditch.
The driver was injured, and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries are not life threatening.

The driver was cited for driving on a suspended license.

Michigan sets a reopen date for the Secretary of State

All 131 Michigan Secretary of State branch offices will be open on June 1 for the first time in months. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says they'll be ready, but there will be big changes.

The changes include all business being done by appointment only and only for essential transactions that can't be done online. Those include title transfers, license testing, license and ID transactions that have to be done in person, and seasonal commercial vehicle renewals.

Customers will be asked to come alone, stay in their vehicle until their appointment time, and wear a mask.

Thursday 05.28.2020

Thursday 05.28.2020

Bridge maintenance may slow traffic in Grand Haven

Drivers may have problems navigating in the Grand Haven area today.

From 9AM to 3PM M-DOT will be doing work on the lighting along the Grand Haven drawbridge. This will mean lane closures on northbound US-31 between Jackson street and M-104 in Spring Lake.

Dancing on the Grand: June events cancelled

Dancing on the Grand, an open air music and dancing event held at the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, has cancelled some of their upcoming schedule.

Officials say they are cancelling the June concert schedule due to concerns over COVID-19. They add that they are still optimistic about the July and August concerts, but say that decision will be made at a later date.

Updates and band schedule revisions are available on the Dancing on the Grand Facebook page.

A new program in Ottawa County designed to feed hungry and boost economy

Both families and farmers in West Michigan are facing economic challenges of historic scale as the impact of COVID-19 has washed over the region. Now, "Ottawa Food" is working with four local food pantries to purchase produce directly from local farmers to feed local families.

This is a pilot program being introduced in the Holland/Zeeland area, and with the intent to replicate it in other areas within Ottawa County. Beginning July 1, the Lakeshore Food Rescue - Farm Relief Effort will purchase food from local farmers to feed local families. The program will run through October 31, 2020.

Local food purchases help to keep small farm families financially solvent while also providing fresh, healthy produce to food-insecure families of local communities. These purchases also keep dollars in west Michigan, with the goal of creating multiple positive economic ripple effects.

Huizenga files suit against remote voting for congress

Congressman Bill Huizenga has joined in filing a lawsuit in the D.C. Federal District Court challenging the constitutionality of proxy voting for congress.
This action is a direct response to the House enacting H. RES 965 which authorized proxy voting on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Huizenga argued that proxy voting in Congress would allow laws to be passed with as little as 20 members physically present for the vote, a situation which has not occurred even during previous pandemics.

Although the new rule allows laws to pass with less members of congress physically present, the rule does not change how many votes are necessary to make a law.

Details available here: https://www.c-span.org/congress/bills/bill/?116/hres965

Wednesday 05.27.2020

Wednesday 05.27.2020

How to salvage some of Chinook Pier before it's demolition

Chinook Pier is slated for demolition beginning June 1st.

On Thursday May 28th  from 10am-3pm, the City is hosting a salvage day onsite for existing downtown businesses to have an opportunity to see if there are any materials or fixtures that could be reused. These salvaged materials and items are not intended to be for resale. 

To sign up for salvage day you must contact Ashley Latsch at alatsch@grandhaven.org or call 231-719-5675 ahead of time in order to schedule a time to go through the buildings.

Ottawa County officially the fastest growing county in Michigan

Ottawa is now Michigan's fastest growing county.

The 2019 population estimates for townships, cities, and villages were released by the U.S. Census Bureau last week. The greatest growth was seen in Allendale (29%), Jamestown (26.5%), Spring Lake (26.1%), and Blendon (17.8%) townships. Between 2018 and 2019, Jamestown Township experienced the greatest population growth (3.5%).

The County population estimates, which were released in March, showed Ottawa County as the fastest growing in the State and the 8th most populous.

Local man sentenced to 20 years for death of infant

A 21-year-old Grand Haven Township man will spend at least two decades in prison for the 2018 death of his girlfriend's baby.

A judge handed down two concurrent 20-year sentences for Cameron Toppen this week after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. Officials say eight-month-old Scarlett Burroughs died in the hospital in November 2018, two days after Toppen violently shook her.

The little girl was healthy before the incident, and Toppen admitted to shaking her.

More COVID-19 testing is available

Another change is in place to expand who can get a test for coronavirus in Michigan.

The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, explained some of the relaxed regulations during yesterday's COVID-19 briefing with Governor Whitmer. Doctors orders are no longer necessary to recieve a test, and nurses, pharmacists and physician's assistants may now administer tests without a doctor's order.

Testing is also now available for anyone who has to leave home for work. Tuesday's move is the latest bid to expand COVID-19 testing, which is seen as critical to slowing the virus.

Tuesday 05.26.2020

Tuesday 05.26.2020

Produce recall from local farmer's market

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health has a warning for shoppers: If you purchased flat-leaf parsley on Saturday from "Future Days Farm" at the Holland Farmers Market, don't eat it!

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health has been notified by the Holland Farmers Market that another plant was mixed into the farm's flat-leaf parsley crop and it is not safe to eat. If you purchased flat-leaf parsley from them within the first hour and a half of the market (8:00 - 9:30 am), please contact the market immediately at info@hollandfarmersmarket.com.

Future Days Farm was located on the south side of the Eighth Street Market Place, close to Maple Avenue near the Civic Center Building.

Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting today

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners provides leadership and policy direction for all County activities. Today, they'll meet at 1:30 PM for the regular May meeting of the Board via Zoom. Among the items on the agenda: Authorizing the Board Chairperson and Clerk to sign a Resolution of Intent to increase the 2020 Millage Rate for several county necessities.

Golf cart crash in Zeeland sends teen to hospital

A golf cart crash on Saturday has a 19-year-old woman fighting for her life at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

She was airlifted from Zeeland Township Saturday night after she was thrown from the cart she was riding in. The teen is currently in critical condition, and the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department has not released any information about the driver.

Retail stores reopen in Michigan

All retail businesses in Michigan are allowed to reopen today, so long as their employees are trained on COVID-19 health guidelines. The retailers now allowed to open up will have to limit the number of people in their stores to ten customers at a time, in order to help prevent restarting the spread of the disease.

Auto dealerships are also allowed to be open by appointment only as part of the rolling back of the stay-home order by Governor Whitmer. It was announced last week prior to her extension of it through June 12th late Friday afternoon. More medical, dental, and veterinary procedures will be allowed starting Friday.

Whitmer recall petition denied due to unclear language, factual errors

Recall petitions against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel won't be going out for signature collections.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers rejected the petitions filed by Chad Baase of Albion, saying the language wasn't clear and noting factual errors.

Baase wanted to recall the governor over her COVID-19 executive orders and her refusal to remove Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand from the job, despite Jackson officials asking her to do so. He also sought to recall Nessel over the criminal cases linked to the Flint water crisis, which she is not handling.

Friday 05.22.2020

Friday 05.22.2020

A look at local Memorial Day celebrations

Grand Haven's Memorial Day events will start with lowering of the flags at sunrise on Monday. Then at 11 am, church bells will ring throughout the city. Chris Streng is with the Grand Haven Memorial Day Association.

The Waterfront Ceremony will start at 11:30 am Monday and will be closed to the public, but streamed live on Facebook with the City of Grand Haven.

West Michigan health care organization offers antibody testing

West Michigan's Spectrum Health is now offering coronavirus antibody tests to the public.  Adam Caulfield, Spectrum Health's technical director of microbiology, cautions it's still not known if having antibodies means someone is immune to getting COVID-19 again.

The healthcare system says it is hoping the tests shed more light on how the virus has spread around the region. The test uses two different mechanisms to confirm the presence of antibodies, which Spectrum says improves accuracy.

Most insurance plans should cover the 45-dollar cost of the procedure, but anyone hoping to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies must get an order from a doctor or advanced practice provider.
 

FEMA approves Michigan state of emergency

FEMA has approved Governor Whitmer’s request for a federal emergency declaration that will provide additional resources to Midland County to respond to the extreme flooding. This initial approval is limited to certain direct assistance from federal agencies to deal with immediate challenges, but could be expanded as the state and FEMA completes the damage assessment.

Beginning on May 16 a storm system moved through the State of Michigan, resulting in six to eight inches of rain over a 48-hour period. Due to the heavy rainfall, the Edenville Dam and subsequently the Sanford Dam were breached on May 19 which required over 10,000 Midland County residents to evacuate their homes due to the imminent danger from the flood event.

On May 19, Governor Whitmer declared a State of Emergency in Midland County. The following day, Governor Whitmer sent a letter to President Trump requesting federal aid in responding to the catastrophic flooding in Midland County.

Court rules extending stay-at-home order within Governor's rights

A Michigan court is upholding Governor Gretchen Whitmer's power to extend COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

A ruling Thursday by Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stevens said Whitmer does have the authority to extend the state of emergency. The ruling rejects a Republican lawsuit that claimed Whitmer doesn't have the authority to extend without approval from lawmakers.

Following the ruling, the governor's office released a statement saying the decision "recognizes that the governor's actions to save lives are lawful and her orders remain in place."

Thursday 05.21.2020

Thursday 05.21.2020

Governor Whitmer lifts some COVID-19 restrictions

During a live address earlier today Governor Whitmer announced major changes to the restrictions that had been put in place to fight COVID-19.

Some changes that are being made include a repeal of the rule requiring non-essential medical and dental services to be temporarily delayed, the state-wide opening of auto showrooms will be permitted by appointment only, and allowing retail state wide, but by appointment only and limiting stores to 10 customers at any given time. Governor Whitmer said that the requirement that these businesses open by appointment was to ensure that stores do not become crowded.

The orders also allow gatherings of 10 people or less, so long as they are still following social distancing.

The Governor did say that the stay at home order is likely to be extended further, but clarified that it will continue to be phased out in stages.

Ottawa County limiting beach parking

Parking will be deliberately limited at all Ottawa County lakeshore parks due to smaller-than-usual beaches.

Visitors will be ticketed for parking in an area that is not a designated parking spot or in any area marked No Parking. This includes roadside and parallel parking.  Some "open" spots have also been blocked off to not overcrowd the beaches.

Authorities stress that the limited parking is temporary.

Beaches are smaller this year than they have been in the last two decades. Authorities are asking the public to prepare for less room on the beach to spread out. With COVID being a concern in the community, smaller beaches have the potential to become more problematic.

Peak beach times are 11 am-1 pm every day, but especially on the weekends. To avoid the park during busier times, officials are asking beach goers to consider an early morning visit or an evening visit.

Emergency Human Needs Fund closes

The community coalition created to respond to the COVID-19 crisis is shifting their priorities from the emergency human needs in Ottawa County to the longer-term efforts of stabilization and recovery.

The collective Emergency Human Needs Fund has closed. All future donations will go to the individual community recovery funds held at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland area, and Greater Ottawa County United Way. Details about the new funds will be announced in the coming weeks by their respective organizations.

Donations to these individual funds are strongly encouraged by their leadership, as the need in our community has risen exponentially since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Governor Whitmer requests federal emergency declaration to deal with Midland flooding

Governor Whitmer is asking President Trump for a federal emergency declaration to help the response to this week's catastrophic flooding in Midland County. The area was flooded by six to eight-inches of rain over 48 hours, causing two dams to fail on the Tittabawassee River and empty Wixom Lake.

The President is coming to Ypsilanti today to tour a Ford factory that has been making respirators to help with the COVID-19 response efforts.

President Trump has previously stated that he will withhold federal emergency aid to Michigan over his disapproval of the state's vote-by-mail policy, but has since backed off that threat as he prepares to appear in person at the Ford plant today.

Wednesday 05.20.2020

Wednesday 05.20.2020

Ottawa County flood warning remains in effect

A Flood Warning remains in effect for Ottawa County along the Grand River with an expected crest occurring late Thursday into Friday of this week. Ottawa County declared a local state of emergency on Sunday, May 17th in response to flooding impacts from a large rain event.

The county currently has 280 structures that have been added to the damage assessment system. The first round of damage assessment was conducted with jurisdictional representatives in the City of Grand Haven, Grand Haven Township, the City of Ferrysburg, Spring Lake Township, the Village of Spring Lake, and Crockery Township on Tuesday. Another round of damage assessment is expected to occur on Saturday to assess the impacts from river flooding.

Ottawa County Emergency Management has worked closely with the Ottawa County Water Resources Office to conduct emergency pumping efforts for inland flooding, the Red Cross for emergency sheltering assistance, and Ottawa County Emergency Management Volunteers for sandbagging efforts.
With the Grand River forecasted for the moderate flood stage near 16ft at the Robinson Township Gauge, we continue to urge residents to take measures to limit any damages to their property from flooding.

COVID-19 outbreak in Grand Haven nursing home

Christian Haven Home, an assisted living facility in Grand Haven, has recently felt the effects of COVID-19.

Several residents have recently tested positive; one employee had tested positive in April, another was tested early Monday and is awaiting results. The employee who had tested positive notified management immediately when feeling symptoms, was not working when symptomatic and has not yet returned to work.

The facility has been in close contact with the Ottawa Department of Public Health and has worked to follow their guidance on prevention and treatment since the arrival of COVID-19 in west Michigan. To prevent further spread of the disease, the facility has begun the process of having all residents and staff tested.

Repeat tests for those testing negative will be conducted next week.

West Michigan not yet ready to reopen, data says

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the data coming from west Michigan counties is indicating the area isn't yet ready to have all businesses reopen like what will be happening at the end of the week up north. Restaurants and bars can reopen at 50-percent capacity on Friday in the Upper Peninsula and in much of the northern Lower Peninsula, including Traverse City, Alpena, and Mackinaw City.

Whitmer is expecting to extend the state's stay home order before it expires on May 28th, but also hopes to relax some parts of it.

Michigan being given another option to vote in November

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is encouraging as many people as possible to vote by mail in August and November. Her office will be sending out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter for the two elections, saying it will protect public health and provide equal access for all voters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benson says even if conditions improve by late summer or fall, she doesn't want anyone to have to choose between their health and the right to vote. In the May 5th elections held in 33 counties, 99% of the ballots were cast by mail or put in a drop box and turnout was double the normal level.

Tuesday 05.19.2020

Tuesday 05.19.2020

Grand Haven Sewer Authority providing some relief to city budget

In some good financial news for local government, Grand Haven's sewer authority requested a net zero change in expenitures during Monday's city council meeting.

Superintendent Ryan Vredeveld did make some budget amendment requests but the total expenditures, even as the community is dealing with rising water levels, was zero.

The budget ammendments for the sewer authority were approved by the city council.

 

Ottawa County charities get a big boost

The community coalition created to respond to the COVID-19 crisis has granted an additional $22,000 from the Emergency Human Needs Fund to five area nonprofit organizations that are helping the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonprofit agencies in Ottawa County have committed to keeping people fed, housed, and healthy as best as they can. But these organizations face challenges as they balance their missions with the additional workload of managing the threat of COVID-19. This latest grant round brings the total granted from the fund to $873,310. Funding is provided on behalf of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, and the Greater Ottawa County United Way.

The community coalition has created a website to help with the rising need for volunteers, donations of both goods and funds, and ongoing updates: CareOttawaCounty.com.

More shoreline communities declare a state of emergency

Earlier this week Ottawa County declared a local state of emergency due to heavy rainfall. Now another shoreline community, Muskegon county, has followed suit.

A local state of emergency is being declared in Muskegon County due to flooding caused by the weekend's rainfall.  County officials made the declaration yesterday due to serious flooding in Muskegon, Norton Shores, and other cities on Sunday.  Multiple roads have had to be closed due to pooled water or broken culverts, and some homes were said to be completely surrounded by water in Lake Township.

Michigan takes the first steps towards lifting quarantine

Retail businesses and restaurants will be allowed to open on Friday in all of the Upper Peninsula and much of the northern Lower Peninsula.

Governor Whitmer says offices can also reopen in those regions, but all businesses must provide COVID-19 training to employees, and restaurants and bars will be limited to 50% capacity.  Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association president and CEO Justin Winslow was among several who joined the governor for the announcement, and told the northern Michigan establishments the rest of the state was counting on them to get it right.

Monday 05.18.2020

Monday 05.18.2020

Local state of emergency declared for Ottawa County

Heavy rainfall over the weekend has put a flood warning in effect for Ottawa County, and Ottawa County Emergency Management has declared a local State of Emergency to assist in coordination of additional resources.

The area is currently experiencing inland flooding caused by the rain. Several homes in Ferrysburg have already experienced flooding, and a Flood Warning has been issued in the area of Robinson Township until Sunday, May 24. The Grand River is expected to crest around 14 feet later this week.

The office of Emergency Management is urging residents to take measures to limit any damages to their property from flooding. For more information on this weather event, visit their FaceBook page at Facebook.com/OttawaEM.

Grand Haven State Park to reopen parking lot for Memorial Day

Looking ahead to the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced it plans to reopen Grand Haven State Park’s Channel parking lot (also known as Fisherman’s parking lot) to public parking starting at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 22.

Those using the parking lots or visiting the park are reminded to follow COVID-19 guidelines at all times, for their own safety and the safety of others. Both the Channel parking lot and campground area at Grand Haven State Park were temporarily closed to vehicle traffic May 3 due to public health and safety concerns after large groups congregated and failed to practice proper social distancing over the busy weekend.

When the Channel parking lot is at capacity, visitors are encouraged to seek alternative, legal parking locations throughout the city and enter on foot. Visitors are asked to be mindful of local city parking requirements.

Grand Rapids ballet offers virtual performances

Michigan’s only professional ballet company, Grand Rapids Ballet, will release two “new” virtual program performances online, one of which will include a world premiere piece from Choreographer-in-Residence Penny Saunders.

This exclusive content (which will also showcase video from past performances) will be made available to those who make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to the organization between now and June 11. Donations can be made online at GRBallet.com/donate.

Michigan seeking applicants for new panel on education

A new panel of students, parents, teachers, public health officials, and school administrators will be formed by Governor Whitmer to formalize the process for determining how schools might be able to reopen this fall.

Whitmer says the "Return To Learn Advisory Council" will send its recommendations to the COVID-19 Task Force on Education, which is part of the State Emergency Operations Center and was formed a few months ago. The new panel will have up to 25 members, and applications to serve on it can be sent in now at Michigan.gov/Appointments.

Friday 05.15.2020

Friday 05.15.2020

COVID-19 infections in Grand Haven nursing home

MediLodge at the Shore, a nursing home in Grand Haven, has more than 20 positive cases of COVID-19 according to virus collection data released by the state. As of Thursday morning the state says the nursing home has 21 confirmed cases.

Officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services say that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are now required to send daily reports to the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nursing homes have been asked to restrict visitors with few exceptions.

The CDC also recommends canceling group activities, social distancing, and using face coverings.

Some west Michigan leaders speak up in support of HEROES act

Some west Michigan city officials have called on Michigan’s members of Congress to support the pending HEROES Act, which would allocate $375 billion to cities around the nation.

Mayors, council members and other west Michigan leaders joined Michigan Municipal League CEO & Executive Dan Gilmartin in a media call to highlight the plight of communities that are on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, providing emergency medical and other essential services as revenues decline. The National League of Cities projects Michigan cities will lose 37 percent of revenues, which puts the Great Lakes State as fourth highest in the nation in projected revenue losses.

Initial action by Congress, the CARES Act, only provided relief to governments in Michigan having populations above 500,000 and all communities under that population threshold were excluded.

Man accused of killing mother in law in Ottawa County

A man has been accused of killing his mother-in-law in Ottawa County.

Authorities were called to perform a wellness check on a woman at the StayBridge Suites in Holland Township early Thursday and found the 52-year-old victim dead. The suspect fled the scene, but was later arrested in South Bend, Indiana.

The investigation is ongoing.

Meijer extends store hours

Meijer is extending its store hours after having to reduce them because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting today, Meijer stores will open at six a.m. and close at midnight, while Meijer Express locations will open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m.

Dedicated shopping times are also being lengthened from six a.m. to eight a.m. for essential workers and Meijer employees on  Mondays and Wednesdays, and for shoppers over 60 and people with chronic conditions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Meijer is normally open 24/7, but the Walker-based retailer started limiting hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in March to free up more time for cleaning and restocking overnight.

Thursday 05.14.2020

Thursday 05.14.2020

Davenport University offers new scholarship

Davenport University is offering a new opportunity for those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Grand Rapids-based school has created the Launch Scholarship for workers who became unemployed or were furloughed on or after March 1st. The scholarship will provide up to eight-thousand dollars a year for up to four years for students who enroll in bachelor's degree, graduate degree, or professional development programs this summer and fall, and the deadline to apply for it is September 8th.

This is the second round for the opportunity, as the school first offered it to almost 65-hundred businesses earlier this month.

Numbers show the impact of 'Safer at Home' order

After weeks of dealing with COVID-19 and the accompanying preventative measures, estimates are coming in that may paint a clearer picture of what an unchecked infection might look like in Michigan.

During a press conference Wednesday, Governor Whitmer shared estimates of what the situation would look like without the order in place. She said "Without the 'Stay Home, Stay Safe' order the median estimate is that we would have had 32,000 more cases today, and at least 3,480 more deaths."

Even with a quarantine in place, Michigan has the highest death rate from coronavirus in the nation. The state has also conducted among the fewest tests per capita of states hit hardest by the pandemic.

Michigan officials take steps to offset budget deficit

Michigan officials have announced that the state will participate in the federal Unemployment Insurance Agency Work Share program to help offset budget implications as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of this program, impacted state employees will take two temporary layoff days per pay period beginning Sunday, May 17th until July 25th resulting in up to $80 million in decreased wage costs.

This federal program allows the state to keep employees working with reduced hours, while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up a portion of the lost wages. Over 31,000 state employees will be impacted. Impacted employees will retain their health insurance and other benefits and will be automatically enrolled into the unemployment process to help ensure they have the support they need.

Last month, Governor Whitmer announced she was taking a 10 percent pay cut and directed her executive team and cabinet appointees to take a 5 percent pay cut for the remainder of the fiscal year. Additionally, the Executive Office of the Governor will participate in the Work Share program.

Ferrysburg cancels 4th of July parade

The Ferrysburg 4th of July parade has been cancelled for this year.

The event usually involved activities like pancakes with the Mayor at Ferrysburg City Hall and a party in the park at William Ferry Park for music, food, games and prizes following the flag raising ceremony. For more information, click here!

Therese Buck, one of the parade organizers, says the cancellation is due to concerns relating to COVID-19. Her message for the tri-cities: plan on a great 4th of July comeback next year!

Wednesday 05.13.2020

Wednesday 05.13.2020

Community coalition gives to local nonprofits

The community coalition created to respond to the COVID-19 crisis has granted an additional $115,000 from the Emergency Human Needs Fund to nine area nonprofit organizations that are helping the community during the coronavirus pandemic. The majority of this round of emergency funding went to organizations that support housing and shelter.

Nonprofit agencies in Ottawa County have committed to keeping people fed, housed, and healthy as best as they can. But these organizations face challenges as they balance their missions with the additional workload of managing the threat of COVID-19. This latest grant round brings the total granted from the fund to $851,310. Funding is provided on behalf of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, and the Greater Ottawa County United Way.

The community coalition has created a website to help with the rising need for volunteers, donations of both goods and funds, and ongoing updates: CareOttawaCounty.com.

West Michigan company has solution for a major COVID-19 problem

A ventilator shortage has been a major problem in fighting the coronavirus. Now, a west Michigan company has invented a device which may provide some relief.

Kentwood-based Autocam Medical partnered with researchers at the University of Michigan and a 3D printing company to develop a device that allows ventilators to safely treat two patients at once. The partners developed VentMI from prototype to market in under a month.

Previous splitters could deliver only one pre-set pressure to patients, which was problematic because each COVID-19 patient requires a unique pressure tailored to their lung size and degree of disease, according to Autocam Medical. The company said excessive volume or pressure can cause lung trauma, thereby limiting the ability to share a ventilator.

Lawmaker says 2021 school funding may be reduced

A Republican state lawmaker says Michigan schools could be facing a major cut in state funding.

Senator Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City said Tuesday that there's no way to avoid cuts to the amount of money the state provides to K-through-12 schools per student. Michigan currently provides over eight-thousand dollars per student, but with less revenue coming in due to the coronavirus, Schmidt said it's time to prepare for the worst in the next fiscal year.

Tuesday 05.12.2020

Tuesday 05.12.2020

Ottawa County survey helps fight COVID-19

Ottawa County is implementing a new strategy to slow COVID-19: A survey.

County health officials say they've created an automated text message survey system designed for people exposed to positive cases of COVID-19. Starting with a phone call, the automated contact tracing system then asks potential coronavirus carriers to share their health status through text. The survey asks about symptoms and whether or not respondents are isolating. If the respondent is not isolating, they are asked why.

The Ottawa County Health Department has sent over 6,000 surveys since it began using the software for COVID-19.

West Michigan doctors are struggle to diagnose children

Three children in west Michigan have been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition that may be related to COVID-19.

Doctors in the region say three children under the age of ten either have Kawasaki disease or a coronavirus complication known as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Illness. The exact location of where the children are being treated has not been disclosed, but doctors are still trying to figure out whether or not their conditions are linked to COVID-19.

Doctors at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids say the complication can become severe and even deadly if it is not treated.

Fatality in Holland crash

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a two vehicle fatal traffic crash that occurred Monday in Holland Township.

Investigation revealed that a Dodge Grand Caravan, being operated by a 76 year old man from Leroy, was entering onto Butternut Drive from a private driveway when he collided with a Ford pick-up truck, being operated by a 47 year old man from Hudsonville. The Ford had the right of way.

The driver of the Dodge died as a result of his injuries and the female passenger in the vehicle suffered injuries that aren't considered to be life threatening. She was transported to Holland Hospital by ambulance.

The driver of the Ford suffered minor injuries and declined transport to the hospital.

Holland website may set the bar for west Michigan e-commerce

In a move to encourage west Michigan commerce, Downtown Holland has launched two new websites to make it easier for customers to shop online and order take-out from their favorite Holland businesses while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

The new “Shop Downtown Holland” and “Dine Downtown Holland” websites are a one-stop destination to easily connect customers with locally-owned businesses in Downtown Holland.

On the “Shop Downtown Holland” website, customers can decide which category of merchandise they are shopping for, select a particular retailer and then be immediately linked to that retailer’s online store or Facebook page for information on placing an order for curbside pick-up, shipping or local delivery. Similarly, the “Dine Downtown Holland” website allows customers to see which Downtown Holland cafes and restaurants are currently open for takeout services, with direct links to information for placing takeout orders online or over the phone.

Most Downtown Holland retailers offer online shopping on their store websites or via their Facebook or Instagram pages. Customers can shop directly online, comment on social media or contact the store via phone or email to place an order for curbside pick-up, shipping or local delivery.

Monday 05.11.2020

Monday 05.11.2020

Lilley Cares of Spring Lake pledges a major donation

In an effort to offset the loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the owners of Spring Lake's Seven Steps up, Gary and Michelle Hanks, set up a GoFundMe page. Now, the Lilley Cares Board of Directors have announced all funds donated to the Seven Steps Up page will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $10,000, through June 28th.

Matching funds are provided by donations given to Lilley Cares through their members and members of the general public. Lilley Cares considers Seven Steps Up to be a cultural cornerstone of The Village, and believes losing it would be detrimental to the overall economic and social atmosphere of Spring Lake.

Michigan AG's opinion on guns in the capital building

The state attorney general is planning on issuing a formal opinion that the Michigan Capitol Commission can ban guns from Capitol grounds.

Dana Nessel made the announcement Sunday, underlining the letter she sent to the commission Friday.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing to have weapons banned after demonstrators, many of whom were armed, protested the governor's state of emergency extension request April 30th.

In an interview Nessel called the armed protesters occupying the capital a "scary scene."

Lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in weeks

Michigan has seen its lowest number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in more than a month.

Michigan saw just 25 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total to 4,551. As per new data, there were 382 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the state, pushing the total north of 47,000.

Kent County has just fewer than 2,300 total cases, while Ottawa County has 450.

COVID-19 fighting anti-viral drug arrives in Michigan

Michigan is in possession of a shipment of Remdesivir.

The anti-viral drug has shown to help coronavirus patients recover faster in preliminary trials. Overall, Michigan is expecting to get about 1,600 vials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state Health and Human Services Department is now working on a strategy for distributing the drug.

Friday 05.08.2020

Friday 05.08.2020

Mental health: Momentum Center to host virtual town hall

The Momentum Center in Grand Haven is hosting a virtual town hall to explore the impact of COVID-19 on mental illness.

The town hall will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, May 11, via Zoom. Panelists will discuss mental health issues, including Brett VanTol from Pine Rest, Jody Sprauge from Spectrum Health, and Lynne Doyle from Ottawa County Community Mental Health. Momentum Center has hosted town halls related to mental health issues in the past, but this will be the first one held virtually.

The event is free, but registration is required in order to receive the link and password for the meeting. Downloading the Zoom app is necessary to participate in the full town hall.

To register, visit momentumcentergh.org/covid-town-hall.

Grand Haven man critically injured in motorcycle crash

Thursday the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office responded to a personal injury traffic crash in Georgetown involving a Ford Taurus and a Harley Davidson Motorcycle.

The Harley Davidson was driven by a man from Grand Haven and the Ford was driven by a woman from Hudsonville.

Investigation has shown that the Harley Davidson was traveling e/b on Vanburen St. The Ford Taurus was w/b on Vanburen St. and turned into the path of the Harley. The Harley struck the front passenger quarter panel of the Ford causing no injuries to the driver of the Ford, but the driver of the Harley was taken to Metro hospital with critical injuries.

There has been no indication from police as to whether or not the Grand Haven man was wearing a helmet, and the names of those involved are not being released at this time.

Local company selling UV light based disinfecting system

GHSP, a Grand Haven based global technology supplier, has announced the launch of a new line of UV-C treatment products for use in emergency services vehicles.

These are the first products to be launched under the company’s Grēnlite brand and are also industry firsts for mobile UV-C treatment and safety. The new Grēnlite units can be installed into emergency service vehicles and provide disinfecting through the use of UV-C light. The lights are designed to help disinfect vehicles throughout shifts through a continual cleaning approach, even while in-service.

GHSP is working on multiple new Grēnlite products with several additional product launches planned for this year.

Goodwill once again taking donations

Goodwill locations in west Michigan are once again accepting donations after shutting down the donation system due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids spokeswoman Jill Wallace says they will start accepting donations via a touchless drive-thru system starting today. The organization previously said that not all of the drive-thrus will open at once, so people should call their local Goodwill before leaving their homes.

Thursday 05.07.2020

Thursday 05.07.2020

Harbor Island to benefit from EPA Brownfields Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that Ottawa, St. Joseph and Calhoun counties in western Michigan will receive a total of $1.7 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program.

A brownfield is a property where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.

Ottawa County will use community-wide grant funds to conduct 13 environmental site assessments. Grant funds will also be used to update a brownfields inventory, prepare two cleanup plans, and conduct community involvement activities. Priority sites include the 10-acre Board of Light and Power property on Harbor Island in the City of Grand Haven and a 1.15-acre site containing former auto sales and service properties in the primary commercial corridor of the City of Hudsonville.

Local egg farm accused of endangering workers

Sunrise Acres, a producer of eggs located in Ottawa county, has been accused of endagering their workers by not providing proper protection from COVID-19.

Migrant Legal Aid senior attorney and director Teresa Hendricks says they've taken multiple employee complaints, including  reports that many were offered an additional three-dollars an hour to keep working without masks or social distancing. Sunrise Acres has had seven of its 170 employees test positive last week for COVID-19.

The firm argues that while there is a financial incentive for employees to continue working they have told employees if they're not comfortable, they don't have to come in.

Officials from the Ottawa County Health Department have been in contact with Sunrise Acres about the complaints, and are monitoring the situation.

New guidelines in place for The Taste of Muskegon

The Taste of Muskegon will have new guidelines in place this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Officials say the event will now be held virtually, and participating restaurants and food trucks will provide takeout service only. The festival runs from June 19th until the 28th.

Founded in 2006, The Taste of Muskegon is an outdoor food festival featuring local restaurants and local food trucks in Hackley Park in downtown Muskegon. Over 20 food vendors serve up their specialties in sample sizes.

You can find a list of eateries taking part at tasteofmuskegon.org.

Republican legislative leaders file suit over emergency powers

Republican legislative leaders argue in a new lawsuit that Governor Whitmer's interpretation of a 1945 emergency powers law is unconstitutional.

This week House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey announced the lawsuit challenging the state of emergency declaration of April 30th. Whitmer says she has the authority to continue to issue executive orders because of the need to respond quickly to the threat presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chatfield said he believes several of her executive orders are "legally questionable," but added he's not encouraging any civil disobedience or mass chaos.

Wednesday 05.06.2020

Wednesday 05.06.2020

Lori's Voice delays one of their biggest fundraisers

Lori's Voice, a non-profit organization run by Lori and Dave Hastings that helps children with special needs get medical equipment, has announced that they are delaying one of their biggest annual fundraisers.

Lori's Voice Walk for the Challenged has been postponed from June until sometime this summer. No date has been set yet for the event to resume.

For more information on Lori’s Voice or to donate go to lorisvoice.org.

Ottawa County Road Commission wins award for innovation

The Ottawa County Road Commission (OCRC) won the Michigan LTAP 2019 Great Ideas Challenge, which seeks to promote and celebrate innovation in the state of Michigan by asking transportation agencies to submit unique innovations used by their agencies.

The mechanics at the OCRC designed a box tailgate extension to solve a problem frequently faced by local road agencies when using dump trucks to transport materials. Material can often get caught in the chains of a tailgate, making unloading difficult or even causing the tailgate to fall off. The OCRC had the idea to attach a solid side plate to the tailgate pins to extend the wall of the tailgate, preventing material from being caught in the chains and allowing the material to slide out of the truck bed smoothly.

Emergency Human Needs Fund grants additional help to local nonprofits

The community coalition created to respond to the COVID-19 crisis has granted an additional $84,250 from the Emergency Human Needs Fund to eleven west Michigan nonprofit organizations that are helping the community.

The majority of this round of emergency funding went to organizations focused on helping the migrant and immigrant members of the community. Despite the fact that migrant workers pay taxes, many are choosing to forgo the federal stimulus resources that come through unemployment insurance so as not to risk their chance at citizenship or renewed visas.

Nonprofit agencies in Ottawa County have committed to keeping people fed, housed, and healthy as best as they can. But these organizations face challenges as they balance their missions with the additional workload of managing the threat of COVID-19.

Republican leader considering banning guns in state capital

The Michigan Capital Commission, including Republican leadership, is considering a ban on guns inside the Capitol following last week's armed protest of Governor Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order.

Commission vice chairman John Truscott says while they do have jurisdiction over the building, the Legislature would still have to pass a law to ban guns there. He wants to see that happen, even as a Second Amendment advocate, a Republican, and having been press secretary for former Governor John Engler.

Truscott says the protesters who carried weapons into the Capital and into the Senate gallery had no need to do so.

Tuesday 05.05.2020

Tuesday 05.05.2020

Ottawa County adds drop box for offline customers

Ottawa County has installed a drop box for customers who cannot do business online.

The box is outside the Fillmore Administration Building at 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive. Payments or correspondence for any County office in the Fillmore Administration building may be deposited in the box, but the public is discouraged from leaving cash in the drop box. Last month, Ottawa County closed most public buildings and suspended many in person services to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the community and to protect the health of its employees. Like other businesses, the County awaits direction from Michigan on a reopening timeline.

Residents should visit the website at miOttawa.org/closures to access services online, and to learn how they can do business by phone, email or other means.

West Michigan prepared for voting despite COVID-19

The first elections in Michigan since the state's first recorded COVID-19 cases will be held today.

Officials say the state is doing everything possible to hold the elections safely, and most ballots will be cast through absentee voting. Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck said west Michigan was already preparing to count more absentee ballots than previous years due to the 2018 law that allows no reason absentee voting.

One polling location will be open in every precinct in the 33 counties where there are elections on Tuesday for those who are unable to vote by mail.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says as of Monday, voter turnout through the mail was around 20-percent, far above the 12-percent that is normal for a May election.

For more on today's election from Justin Roebuck, listen to last week's Sunday Morning Forum.

West Michigan superintendents make fall coronavirus plans.

Summer has not started and yet west Michigan school superintendents are making plans for what classes might look like in the fall, focusing on contingencies for COVID-19.

Jenison Public Schools superintendent Tom TenBrink says many of the administrators are part of a committee considering options such as staggering class times and alternating days in the classroom. Other ideas include taking the temperatures of students and staff members upon entering school in a way similar to South Korea's early efforts.

When asked last week during one of her briefings what was under consideration from the state level for the fall, Governor Whitmer said it's too early to tell.

Senator Victory introduces MiHEROES act

Sen. Roger Victory has introduced legislation to provide a four-month state income tax holiday for medical professionals and first responders protecting the public during the COVID-19 emergency. The MiHEROES Act of 2020 is modeled after federal legislation introduced by Congressman Bill Huizenga.

The act would allow eligible first responders who provide services to a county with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19 to deduct wages earned between Feb. 15 and June 15 from their 2020 state income taxes. Eligible first responders would include firefighters, doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement and corrections officers, pharmacists, and members of the Michigan National Guard activated during the coronavirus outbreak.

The MiHEROES act does not address other people working essential jobs, such as truck drivers, grocery store workers, or sanitation workers.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Possible COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon

Pfizer Inc. has announced that the first participants have been dosed in the U.S. in a clinical trial for the BNT162 vaccine program to prevent COVID-19 infection. While the vaccine would not help those already infected, it would mean the end of a need for quarantine measures.

The company also announced that initial manufacturing for the COVID-19 vaccine will be conducted in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Pfizer is making additional at-risk investment to actively scale up their manufacturing capacity and distribution infrastructure to bring a promising vaccine candidate to the world. The company’s clinical trial supply will be made at sites in Andover, Massachusetts and Chesterfield, Missouri, and the initial manufacturing will be conducted in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The trial is part of a global development program, and the dosing of the first cohort in Germany was completed last week.

Monday 05.04.2020

Monday 05.04.2020

Grand Haven State Park closes

The city of Grand Haven has asked people to stop going to public spaces in large numbers.

The parking lot of Grand Haven State Park had to be closed for the first time in history on Sunday because of big crowds for two straight weekends. Mayor Bob Monetza says they're asking people to stay away until COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

Monetza says the city has been supportive of and following the executive orders from Governor Whitmer to try to halt the spread of COVID-19. Currently, there is no indication of when the parking lot at the state park will reopen.

Ottawa County man has murder conviction affirmed

The murder conviction of an Ottawa County man who told police that he killed a woman because she was a nuisance has been affirmed by the Michigan appeals court.

Crockery Township resident Sheila Bonge was shot while snowblowing the day after Christmas in 2017. Wendell Popejoy did not dispute whether or not he killed her, but argued in his appeal that jurors should have been allowed to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.

The appeals court did not agree, saying Bonge's death was not an instant crime of passion.

Governor Whitmer criticizes protesters

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she'll continue doing her job in spite of protests targeting her stay-at-home order. The comments came only days after armed protesters entered Michigan's state house.

On CNN's State of the Union, Whitmer said she's working to protect the lives of Michiganders. She was critical of protesters at the Michigan Capitol last week, especially those who had swastikas and Confederate flags.

The first-term governor advocated for listening to what public health officials have to say as America's fight against coronavirus goes on.

Friday 05.01.2020

Friday 05.01.2020

Governor Whitmer's stay at home update

Today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a briefing giving updates on the state's efforts to fight the coronavirus and addressing her decision to extend the emergency declaration.

Thursday Gov. Whitmer extended the State of Emergency through May 28 by executive order. The Republican-led Legislature had refused to extend the declaration, but were overidden by the executive order. Whitmer used the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 to extend the order. She also extended the State of Disaster through May 28. Some business is being allowed to resume with extra safety precautions, such as doctors offering elective surgery and work that is done primarily outside.

She called Thursday's armed protest at the Capitol "disturbing," and stressed that the decision of when and how to reopen would not be political.
Michigan’s stay-home order remains in effect through May 15.

Tribute to essential workers lit on Dewy Hill

The city of Grand Haven has worked with local lighting officianato Brad Boyink to light up the Dewy Hill anchor in recognition of the thousands of essential workers who have perservered throught the COVD-19 lockdown.

According to Grand Haven city manager Pat McGinnis the anchor represents an outpouring of community respect, appreciation, and admiration for those who have continued to work through this historic struggle. It's also a statement of confidence in the public to finish this fight and support each other.

The Dewy Hill anchor will stay lit up through the month of May as a reminder of community support.

Flooding in Spring Lake warns of need for infrastructure repair

Spring Lake residences and businesses are dealing with flooding after two days of rainfall.

The rain had some roads inaccessible Thursday and has forced some businesses to close their parking lots, including the Holiday Inn. Village President Mark Powers said that part of the problem is that the nearly century old drainage system under the village is in need of update and repair.

Exaserbating the issue is Lake Michigan, which tied its 1986 record for highest measured water levels last year, and is set to surpass that this year.

Ferrysburg bridge one of many in Michigan with problems

Smith's bridge in Ferrysburg is not the only Michigan bridge in need of attention.

Michigan's 2019 Roads and Bridges Annual Report shows nearly four percent of the state's bridges fall into the "severe category." Published by the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, the report shows Michigan also has the highest volume of Severe bridges among Great Lakes states.

The report says the bridge life cycle reflects that deteriorating bridges outpaces the ability to repair and replace them.

In late 2019, Ferrysburg leadership reopened Smith's bridge after deeming it safe to drive on with a reduced weight limit.

Thursday 04.30.2020

Thursday 04.30.2020

Streets closed in Spring Lake

Spring Lake has several streets closed due to an accumulation of water.

The recent rains coupled with already high water levels have overtaxed Spring Lake's drainage system, which village president Mark Powers says is nearly a century old. As a result, the intersetction of School street and Exchange street is closed due to water over the road. Lake and Beach street are also inacessible due to water.

Officials are asking the public to avoid these areas for the time being.

North Ottawa Community Health to resume treating cases delayed by COVID-19

North Ottawa Community Hospital is evaluating the cases that were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Communications Officer Jen VanSkiver says they have the ability to keep patients safe and to address their time sensitive cases in the hospital. Hospitals throughout Michigan are now facing a similar situation, as some cases that have gone untreated have worsened during the wait.

VanSkiver says if you have a condition that has developed or worsened to please contact your physician.

Federal charges filed for alleged PPE scam

A 24-year-old Muskegon man is facing federal charges for an alleged scam related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California has charged Rodney Stevenson the Second with wire fraud for allegedly selling N95 masks online and never actually sending customers their products. The complaint alleges Stevenson's company, EM General, made $140,000 in sales, but that at least four people never received the masks or the mask filters they ordered.

The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan says it has received over 180 complaints about EM General since March 9th.

Essential Workers in Michigan to receive GI bill equivalent

A new program to create a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate for essential workers without a college degree is coming to Michigan.

Governor Whitmer says "Futures for Frontliners" will be able to be used by healthcare, grocery, childcare, manufacturing, public safety, delivery workers and others. The program is modeled after the federal G.I. Bill, developed to help those returning from World War Two earn a college education.

During Wednesday's briefing, Whitmer said "Futures for Frontliners" is being paid for by the federal government.

Michigan independent launches presidential bid

Congressman Justin Amash says he's serious about his chances to both secure the Libertarian Party nomination for President and beat both President Trump and Joe Biden in November.

The Grand Rapids-area independent, who was elected to the U.S. House five times as a Republican, says he stopped his campaign for the U.S. House in February. He announced the creation of an exploratory committee on Tuesday.

Trump became the first Republican candidate to win Michigan since 1988 when he edged out Democrat Hillary Clinton by roughly ten-thousand votes in 2016. 

Wednesday 04.29.2020

Wednesday 04.29.2020

No Tulip Time this year

Officials in Holland have a message for anyone thinking of coming to see the city's famous tulips: Please don't.

The annual Tulip Time festival set for Saturday has been canceled for the first time in 91 years because of the coronavirus crisis. Mayor Nathan Bocks is worried that people will head to Holland this weekend anyway, straining the city's infrastructure.

In a news release, Bocks reminded everyone that "...the tulips will bloom again next year."

Motorcycle crash in Tallmadge injures two

Tuesday afternoon the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to Fennessy Dr west of 2nd Avenue in Tallmadge township to a two motorcycle personal injury traffic crash.

A group of motorcycles were westbound on Fennessy Dr. when one of the motorcycles in attempted to turn around in the roadway. Another motorcycle in the group collided with the vehicle attempting to turn around.

One driver was transported to Spectrum downtown with non-life threatening injuries. The other had minor injuries but decided to seek his own treatment.

Both operators were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

Car insurance may be cheaper this summer

Michigan drivers are likely going to be saving more money on their auto insurance rates than initially projected when lawmakers overhauled the state's unique no-fault insurance system.

The changes will take effect on July 1, and the first six companies to have their rate filings approved by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services have slashed rates by at least 16.5% for drivers who keep the current unlimited medical coverage. For those who drop their coverage to $50,000, the insurance rate savings will be just over 54% compared to current prices.

Those first six filings cover around 25% of the market.

Good news at the gas pump

The bottom could be near for gas prices in Michigan.

GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHaan says while prices nationally will keep falling for a little longer, the Great Lakes region is likely to stop its decline soon and start adding a few cents to the per-gallon price. There are stations in suburban Detroit down to 93 cents a gallon and in South Haven in southwest Michigan that were at 95 cents per gallon late Tuesday afternoon, while GasBuddy puts the state average at a dollar 39.

DeHaan says Wisconsin's rock-bottom Great Lakes region prices are starting to turn higher, and he's advising anyone who might need to fill up and has prices around a dollar or lower per gallon nearby to do so now.

Michigan politician considering a presidential run

Congressman Justin Amash could be getting ready to join the race for the White House.

The Michigan Independent announced on Twitter his launch of an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination. Amash argued "Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people."

Amash has been a harsh critic of President Trump and even left the Republican Party last year.

Tuesday 04.28.2020

Tuesday 04.28.20

Local Post Office hosts food drive

The employees of the Grand Haven and Spring Lake Post Offices will be conducting their own 1-day food drive today.

The Post Office's national food drive has been postponed, so leaders at the local offices made the decision to have one to help local food pantries during the coronavirus pandemic. Their slogan is "Just Leave 1," as they're are asking customers leave just one nonperishable food item in, on or near your mailbox today.

There will also be a hamper located in the lobby at the Post Office at Washington st for anyone that would like to donate.

Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority expands capabilities

The Ottawa County Central Dispatch Authority has announced the completion of Ottawa County’s 800MHz public safety radio system. The system is now being utilized for Police, Fire, EMS and Emergency Management communications within Ottawa County.

The 800MHz construction project was initiated in January of 2016 and includes new central dispatch radio consoles, 11 tower sites located within the county and approximately 2,000 new mobile and portable radios for first responders. The system allows for improved coverage, better quality radio transmissions, durability and redundancy. The 14.2 million dollar project is being financed through Motorola Solutions.

The cost of the project will be paid for utilizing the existing Ottawa County 911 Millage funds from the 20-year 911 millage passed in 2008.

Personal protection orders expanded due to COVID-19

Active personal protection orders in Michigan will last until at least mid-July.

This week Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending the PPOs through July 21st. Holly Jasinski is the Spaces Coordinator for Resilience Advocates for Ending Violence (formerly the Center for Women in Transition). She says isolation can make a victim feel more fearful. The organization is based in Holland with a satellite office in Grand Haven. Their hotline is 1-800-848-5991.

Governor Whitmer says the move allows victims of domestic violence to remain safe in their homes, even after their orders were set to expire. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the orders should be extended to 90 days after the state of emergency in Michigan is lifted.

Whitmer requests an extension on Michigan's state of emergency

A request is being made of the state Legislature by Governor Whitmer to extend Michigan's state of emergency due to COVID-19 by 28 days.

The current state of emergency expires on Thursday, and is different than the executive orders that Whitmer has issued, including the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order that runs through May 15. In her briefing Monday afternoon, she noted the Flint water emergency was extended twice for over 122 days and the current one has only been extended by 23 days.

Whitmer added protections for healthcare workers that are included in the state of emergency are dependent on legislative action.

Plans to restart Michigan's economy

Re-engaging Michigan's economy will be slow and measured.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced the MI Safe Start Plan and says she will be looking at several factors in reopening business sectors. Up first will be outdoor businesses, including construction. Whitmer says there is no on-off switch, and the process should be looked as a dial with the ability to ramp up re-openings or pull back based on the spread of COVID-19.

She said she is cautiously optimistic based on a decline in the number of new cases of coronavirus over the past several days, with Monday's new cases coming in under 500.