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Current Media Releases

March 20, 2017

Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County Administrator, has been appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to serve on the newly created Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission.

“One of our beliefs in Ottawa County is that this won’t be a great county for any of us until it is a great county for all of us, which is adapted from a Theodore Roosevelt quote. We have a zip-code area in Ottawa County where children have high lead levels. There are other areas in West Michigan where this is true, as well. I believe that it is good government to find and eradicate sources of lead contamination so that West Michigan can be great for all residents, especially children," said Al Vanderberg.

The multi-disciplinary team will focus on implementing strategies to eliminate lead exposure in children and monitoring the state's progress toward that target. Vanderberg will serve a three-year term, expiring December 15, 2019. Al Vanderberg also serves as Chair of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s of public administration from Michigan State University. In the past, he has held posts leading local governments in Greenville, South Haven, and Kent County.

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March 9, 2017

No Body Contact Advisory LIFTED

The No Body Contact Advisory issued on February 27, 2017 (for the Grand River from a point 1 mile east of the US 31 bridge, downstream to the Grand River inlet to Lake Michigan) has been lifted. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health confirmed with the Grand Haven/Spring Lake Sewer Authority that the leak has been repaired and the line has been placed back in service. As a reminder, all natural bodies of water contain microorganisms that can cause illness no matter how clean they appear.

March 7, 2017

Drug Court Recognized Nationally

The 20th Circuit Court has given Ottawa County another reason to boast. Its Adult Drug Treatment Court, a specialty program for non-violent felony offenders with substance use disorders, has been selected as a “mentor court” by the United States Department of Justice and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. This distinction is awarded to high-performing drug courts that demonstrate exemplary practices and operate with fidelity to the drug court model. Only 9 of 3,000 courts in the US were chosen for this award.

An award ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 13 at 11AM in Courtroom 3B of the Ottawa County Grand Haven Courthouse. The ceremony is open to the public.

The Ottawa County Adult Drug Treatment Court is an alternative to traditional incarceration or probation and is eligible for only certain offenders. The method saves money, lowers recidivism and changes lives. A study conducted by Grand Valley State University in 2014 demonstrated the adult drug treatment court significantly reduced new crime and repeated drug and alcohol use among offenders. Drug court participants were 73% less likely to commit a new crime within three years of discharge from the drug court when compared to a similar group of people who were sentenced to traditional probation.

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March 3, 2017

Ottawa & Allegan County, lace up your walking shoes & get ready for a free 6-week walking challenge.

This spring, participants will “virtually walk” 240 miles along regional trails in Michigan. The challenge begins on Monday, April 3! This free, 6-week program is designed to help participants spring into fitness and get moving after a cold winter. Participants of all fitness levels are invited to join - weekly prizes are available.

Optional group walks will be offered for those interested in getting their weekly steps in with a group while checking out Ottawa & Allegan County Parks (schedule below). Each walk will be led by a naturalist guide. Different pace groups will be available.

The county is hoping for another successful year of the Step it Up program. "We were so pleased with the results of Step it Up last year," said Ottawa County Department of Public Health educator, Amy Sheele. "It really motivated participants to get moving and visit more parks. Of the individuals that completed our program surveys, nearly 40% reported an increase in their level of physical activity from the beginning of the Step It Up Challenge to the end! The average participant walked 216 miles over seven weeks."

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February 20, 2017

Ottawa County's Farmland Preservation Program Gains Momentum with its Farms - Food - Forever Fundraising Campaign

The Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board is pleased to announce the results from its recently released Farms - Food - Forever fundraising campaign. To-date, $26,125 has been donated in support of farmland preservation in Ottawa County.

The Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Board is pleased to announce the results from its recently released Farms - Food - Forever fundraising campaign. To-date, $26,125 has been donated in support of farmland preservation in Ottawa County.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the Ottawa County Farmland Preservation Fund, contributions can be made online at The Fund is managed by The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.

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February 13, 2017

2017 County Parks Passes Available!

It's cold today, let's take a break to think about future beach days!

Of the 38 parks and open spaces in the Ottawa County Parks system, only five require a parking fee during the summer season and a sixth requires a boat launch fee. Parking fees are collected at North Beach Park, Kirk Park, Tunnel Park, Olive Shores and Rosy Mound Natural Area from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. A boat launch fee is collected at Riverside Park from May 1 through Labor Day.

An annual motor vehicle permit is an economical choice for frequent visitors or launch users. Annual permits may be purchased at park entrance gates when fees are in effect (limited annual permit sales available at Rosy Mound and Olive Shores trail heads when park attendant present; day passes always available), at the Nature Education Center or from the county parks office. Boat launch permits can be purchased at the Oaklea Store, near Riverside Park.

Park users are invited to attend a free open house before the summer season at the newly renovated Kirk Park Lodge on May 6 from 2-5 pm. The lodge is available to rent for events in the summer and for organized groups to rent for overnights in the off-season. Park passes will be available for pre-sale at the open house. "We encourage park users to buy their passes early, so the lines move quicker on nice summer days," said Parks spokesperson Jessica VanGinhoven.

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February 9, 2017

2017 Boater & Hunter Safety Classes

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office has new classes available for Hunter Safety and Boater Safety. Classes and safety programs will be added in other communities soon. Click the link below for more details and event dates.

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February 9, 2017

Weekend Plans Start With A Walk - For Warmth

It's nearly time for the 29th annual Walk For Warmth at City On A Hill - 100 Pine Street, in Zeeland. Free registration is at 8:30 AM and the Walk itself will be close to 9:00 AM. The Walk is a 2-mile well marked route around downtown Zeeland. The Walk begins and ends at City On A Hill.

Our special guest speaker this year is Tabitha Wolters, working wife and mom and CAA program recipient. Learn how working households can use help sometimes.

Get your walking teams together now! Get your neighbors, friends, co-workers and fellow worshipers to pledge some money and come Walk the Walk on the 11th!

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February 6, 2017

Ottawa County Deputy Administrator to Lead Statewide Association

Keith Van Beek, Ottawa County’s deputy county administrator, is the new president of the statewide association representing Michigan’s municipal managers.

Van Beek was selected as the 2017 president of the Michigan Municipal Executives (MME), formerly called the Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA), during the organization’s annual Winter Institute in Kalamazoo Jan. 31-Feb. 3. Van Beek succeeds Dale Kerbyson, Lapeer city manager. Van Beek served the past year as the organization’s president-elect.

MME is a nonprofit, professional organization representing the managers of Michigan’s cities, counties, townships and villages. Its purpose is to foster and encourage the personal and professional development of its members so that they can better serve their communities and to promote, encourage and preserve high ethical standards for municipal administrators.

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February 3, 2017

What steps can be taken to strengthen public trust and confidence in the police in your community?

That is the question the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office and its law enforcement partners on the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards are asking. Answers will be used to create formal recommendations to improve police-community relationships, training and recruiting across the state. Complete the survey online until March 20.

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) is a state commission whose members represent law enforcement, prosecution, defense, labor and the public. The 19 commissioners set standards for the law enforcement profession in Michigan, including police selection, training, recruitment and professional licensing.

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January 30, 2017

Mobile dental unit participates in “Give Kids a Smile!” day this Friday

Dr. Karel Vandervelden will be the dentist on the Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit this Friday, Feb. 3 for Give Kids a Smile Day. He will provide comprehensive dental care for Medicaid insured and financially qualifying uninsured children at Holland West School. Every child will receive a gift bag complete with a toothbrush, floss, prize and an activity.

ttawa County Department of Public Health Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit provides dental services for Medicaid insured and financially qualifying uninsured children in Ottawa County. Partners include dental society involvement, dentist and hygienist volunteerism, school administration dedication, community support, funder’s generosity, Ottawa County Administration support and Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s commitment to help improve the health of children.

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January 27, 2017

Ottawa Pathways To Better Health- Community Kick-Off - Monday, Feb 20, 3-4pm

Join us to learn about the new Ottawa Pathways to Better Health (OPBH) program; developed as a result of the 2015 Ottawa County Community Health Improvement Plan ( OPBH was designed to assist adults with health and social service needs. Community Health Workers help clients navigate the health and human service system to connect them with resources to improve their health and well-being. The goal is to improve health outcomes and decrease unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency department visits. There is no fee for qualifying individuals.

This meeting will cover important program details, including eligibility requirements and the process for referring individuals to the program. Community Health Workers and other program staff members will be on hand to answer questions.

Click to Register

January 26, 2017

Illnesses are on the rise - How to prevent sickness

Schools, childcare and healthcare providers are reporting the flu and viral gastroenteritis ("stomach flu") are circulating in the community and increasing.

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands if you've been vomiting and/or have diarrhea. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
  4. Clean your hands often. It will help protect you from germs. Hand sanitizer is not effective at preventing transmission of some of the most common viral causes of gastroenteritis.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches a surface or object that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
  6. Stop the spread of germs. When you are sick, avoid preparing food for others. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects that may be contaminated with germs.

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January 25, 2017

New Facebook Presence For Walk For Warmth Campaign, and CAA

Check out our new page! Ottawa County has created a new Facebook presence for its Community Action Agency, and the ongoing campaign, Walk For Warmth.

This new Facebook page serves as a better engagement tool for CAA clients and Walk For Warmth participants and supporters. You can already find videos and see who's sponsoring the Walk!

Walk For Warmth is an annual event taking place this year Saturday, February 11, 8:30 AM at City On A Hill, 100 Pine Street in Zeeland.

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January 24, 2017

Kuiper Appointed Ottawa County Commissioner

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners appointed Ms. Kelly Kuiper to the Ottawa County Board today, January 24. Commissioner Kuiper will serve District 6, representing Georgetown Charter Township Precincts 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 & 16.

"Dennis left some large shoes to fill and I'm very honored to be appointed to this seat," said Kuiper. "I am truly looking forward to serving the community and offering a fresh perspective on the board."

Kuiper earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. An experienced public servant, Kuiper worked for Georgetown Township from 2010 to 2013 and served as Caledonia Township Trustee from 2012 to 2016. In 2016, Kuiper relocated to Hudsonville. She is currently employed as a project manager at Nederveld, Inc.

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January 23, 2017

Ottawa County’s Top Dog Names for 2016

Rin Tin Tin blazed a trail on television in the late 1950’s as a heroic figure in children’s programming and became a household name. Rin Tin Tin, however, was not a popular name among licensed dogs in Ottawa County. “Bella” and “Max” were the most common names on licenses purchased in 2016. The top names of 2016 were:

  1. Bella
  2. Max
  3. Lucy
  4. Charlie
  5. Sadie
  6. Buddy
  7. Molly
  8. Bailey
  9. Sophie
  10. Maggie & Daisy (tied)

In addition to compiling the list of top dog names, Slagh’s office also compiled a list of the more creative names licensed in 2016. “We have a number of dogs licensed in Ottawa County with names that are a bit more out of the ordinary,” said Brad Slagh, Ottawa County Treasurer. Some of those names were Tuna, Pavlov, Worf, Hawkeye, Miracle, and Astrid Fransworth.

Michigan Law requires that all dogs have a current county license with the tag displayed, yet the Ottawa County Treasurer’s office estimates that less than half of all dogs in the county are licensed.

Dog licenses can be purchased quickly and easily from the online miOttawa Service Center, by mail, or in person at the Ottawa County Treasurer’s office, many township and city offices or at participating veterinarian offices. Online, you can also change the information associated with your dog’s tag or look up owner information if you find a lost dog wearing a license.

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January 17, 2017

Key piece of property added to North Ottawa Dunes

On Thursday, January 12 Ottawa County Parks closed on an 80-acre parcel expanding North Ottawa Dunes in Spring Lake, increasing the total acreage of the park to 593 acres.

The additional land is located on the eastern edge of the park and surrounded on three sides by park property. Because of its geography and natural features, it has been considered an integral piece to add to the park by both Ottawa County Parks and Spring Lake Township for a decade.

The land was acquired by way of a property exchange between Spring Lake Township and David C. Bos Homes, a negotiation spearheaded by Spring Lake Township. Ottawa County Parks contributed $400,000 from their millage for the property.

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January 5, 2017

Step it Up Fall Colors Program Success

The Step it Up Fall Colors program challenged participants to walk 225 miles over a seven week period. Every step participants took throughout the challenge counted toward their end goal. The 225-mile challenge represented a virtual hike along a Michigan segment of the North Country Trail. As participants recorded their weekly activity, they could also track their progress along the trail by using an interactive map that the county's IT/GIS department created.

A Healthy Catalyst Grant Award was awarded to Ottawa County Parks through mParks and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, allowing the fall program to continue to be offered to participants free-of-charge. Grant funding covered the cost of walking guides, route signage, Fitbits for weekly incentives, water bottles for participants, and a celebration at the end of the challenge.

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January 4, 2017

Thank you Ottawa County restaurants and retailers for working to keep alcohol & tobacco from minors!

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health, Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Haven Police Department, Holland Police Department and members of the ROADD Coalition recruit and train underage youth to go into establishments that sell alcohol and/or tobacco to attempt to make a purchase.

These compliance checks, partially funded by the Lakeshore Regional Partners, are an ongoing effort in Ottawa County to prevent the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors. They help law enforcement and partnering agencies identify areas within the county that may need additional support, education and monitoring. The checks also serve as a tool for establishments to identify needs for additional staff training.

Sixty-six compliance checks were conducted countywide, during the last round. Twenty of the 29 checks in Holland passed and 35 of the 37 checks in Grand Haven passed. The locations that did not pass the alcohol check received a fine, and so did the staff member(s) who sold the alcohol. In addition, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) was also notified of the alcohol sale. For the locations that did not pass the tobacco check, the clerk was fined and the MLCC was notified if the establishment also sells alcohol.

January 3, 2017

More Elected Officials Sworn In for 2017

The first Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting for 2017 was held this afternoon, beginning with the Oath of Office for all of the Commissioners, including the newly elected Frank Garcia representing District 1. The Board then elected Greg DeJong of District 8 as the new Board Chairperson and Roger Bergman of District 10 as the new Vice-Chairperson.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meets at 1:30 pm on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. Meetings are held at the Ottawa County Administration Building located at 12220 Fillmore Street in West Olive. Agendas and information packets are posted on the Meeting Calendar. The public is invited to attend Board Meetings.

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Recent Headlines

Our goal is to be receptive, responsive and transparent.  Members of the media seeking interviews or information are encouraged to contact the Communications Manager, Shannon Felgner.

A handful of County Offices respond to media inquiries directly including:
Ottawa County Department of Public Health - Kristina Wieghmink (616) 494-5597
Ottawa County Community Mental Health - Anna Bednarek (616) 494-5545
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation - Jessica VanGinhoven (616) 994-4716
Ottawa County Sheriff's Office - (616) 738-4000
If you are having trouble determining to whom you should direct your inquiry, the Communications Manager is a great place to start. 

Do you feel like you are the last to know about an Ottawa County Press Release? We are happy to add you to our media contact list. Email or call Shannon Felgner at (616) 738-4672.

Freedom of Information Act Requests

All requests made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the act. Requests for public information should be made to the department which is responsible for the custody of the records.

FOIA Freedom of Information Act Policy


Shannon Felgner

  • Shannon Felgner,
    Communications Manager

Main Office

  • 12220 Fillmore Street
    Room 210
    West Olive, MI 49460
  • Phone: (616) 738-4672
    FAX: (616) 738-4888
  • Monday - Friday:
    8:00am - 5:00pm

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