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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 Road Commission - Alex Doty (616) 850-7221
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.
Current Media Releases
May 20, 2020
Ottawa County, Michigan Community Mental Health Press Releases May is Mental Health Month
May is Mental Health Month. This national time of observation raises awareness of mental health needs, reduces stigma about mental illness, and educates people on mental health resources in their community. In the United States one in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime and almost everyone will face challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The good news is there are many resources available to improve mental health and increase resiliency - and there are ways you can be supportive of friends, family, and co-workers who are struggling with life's challenges or their mental health.
May 18, 2020
Residents at Christian Haven Home in Grand Haven test positive for COVID-19
Christian Haven Home assisted living, like so many other long-term care facilities across the country, has felt the effects of COVID-19. Several residents have just tested positive; one employee had tested positive 3½ weeks ago, another was tested earlier yesterday and is awaiting results. The employee who had tested positive notified us immediately when feeling symptoms. The employee was not working when symptomatic and has not yet returned to work.
May 14, 2020
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation: Bringing Nature to You
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation offers nature programs and outdoor recreation opportunities for all ages, in every season. Due to concerns related to COVID-19, spring programs and some summer camps have been cancelled. With the Nature Center closed and group programs on-hold, the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission has shifted gears to continue to offer nature programs to citizens online.
May 12, 2020
EPA awards $300,000 for brownfield redevelopment
In a win for local economic revitalization, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on May 6 awarded Ottawa County $300,000 for environmental site assessment and cleanup planning for brownfield properties. This grant is part of $65 million worth of brownfield site assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants awarded to 155 communities by the USEPA.
May 7, 2020
Judge Jonas honored by the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals
On May 5, 2020, Judge Susan Jonas was presented with The Honorable William G. Schma Award by the Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals. The Schma Award is the association’s most prestigious award and is presented to persons who have made outstanding contributions to treatment courts in Michigan.
April 20, 2020
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Survey and Long Range Parks Plan
Citizen Feedback Requested
The Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission is preparing its five-year Parks, Recreation, & Open Space Plan that will be released in 2021.
"Our five-year plan is crucial to the success of our parks system," said Jason Shamblin, Ottawa County Parks Director. "It not only ensures that we are eligible for state grant funds, like the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that has helped fund some of our biggest projects, it also provides a road map for park and trail development and accessibility improvements."
April 16, 2020
There is still time to apply to preserve your farmland.
Farmland Preservation Application Deadline
If you have been thinking about applying to preserve your farmland through the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program, now is the time as the April 30 deadline is fast approaching. This program allows interested parties to preserve their eligible, agriculturally zoned property by selling its development rights. Creating easements through the sale of development rights guarantees the land is used for agricultural purposes or remains in a natural state in perpetuity. Landowners are compensated for lost development potential, yet still own the land and retain all other rights associated with it.
April 15, 2020
The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Ottawa County Parks Foundation reached an important milestone toward completing the Bend Area and expanding the Grand River Greenway
An agreement has been reached with landowners to sell 87 acres of former gravel-mining land in Georgetown Township. This acquisition is key to a long-term plan to develop a major regional park – the Bend Area - in the County’s most populous local unit and adds vital natural and recreational land to the Grand River Greenway.
March 27, 2020
Prevent COVID-19 with the #OttawaStaysHome challenge
Announcing the #OttawaStaysHome Challenge
For the next several weeks, residents remain under the state's ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Staying home is difficult, so the Ottawa County Department of Public Health is inviting residents to participate in the #OttawaStaysHome challenge. The challenge asks the community to share on social media why they stay home or show what they are doing to occupy the time. Use the hashtag #OttawaStaysHome across platforms. The County will share its favorite posts, images and videos. Be creative! Do a distance dance on Tik Tok. Share a picture of a health care hero on Instagram. Boast about a latest diy project on Facebook. The County's hope is that collectively, these messages will show our community that everyone has to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.
March 24, 2020
Essential Human Services & Nonprofits Open During Michigan Shutdown
On Monday, March 23, Governor Whitmer issued an executive order suspending activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. The order mandated that residents remain home, leaving only for essential functions. At this time, most vital human services organizations in Ottawa County will remain open and accessible to those seeking assistance. These agencies will continue to ensure vulnerable citizens are housed, fed and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 20, 2020
Public Health Limited Operations Update
As of Thursday, March 19, 2020, The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) office on James Street in Holland has been closed to the public for all non-scheduled, in-person visits until further notice. Visits for essential services are available by appointment through calling the main phone number at 616-396-5266. See more information by program for the services offered and unique ways to stay in touch with each program. The OCDPH offices in Grand Haven and Hudsonville closed for all services on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, until further notice.
March 20, 2020
COVID-19: Second positive case in Ottawa County
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) was notified later today of another resident who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The case is an adult female with no other information, at this time. OCDPH officials are working on the investigation and identifying contacts.
March 20, 2020
Ottawa Courts Closed Except for Essential Health and Safety and Constitutional Rights
The 20th Circuit, 58th District and Ottawa County Probate Courts today announced that access to courtrooms and other spaces is now limited to no more than 10 persons, including staff, effective immediately. The court is closed to the general public except for essential functions involving health and safety and Constitutional rights.
March 19, 2020
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Information
Ottawa County Parks will be implementing the following plans immediately. The purpose of these decisions are to ensure we're doing all we can to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following recommendations made by the CDC, Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH), and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
March 19, 2020
Community Mental Health of Ottawa County (CMHOC)
COVID-19 Emergency Operations Guidance
The CMHOC offices in Holland and Grand Haven will remain open for emergent needs and critical care. CMHOC is the safety net provider and will continue to provide behavioral health services to our consumers and people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.
March 18, 2020
Ottawa County Suspends In-Person Services
Ottawa County has been balancing its responsibility of providing public services alongside its obligations of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community and protecting the health of its 1,100 employees, including its emergency responders. Effective 5PM today (March 18, 2020), Ottawa County will close its government buildings to the public until further notice to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite this, the County will continue to fulfill as many of its obligations to provide government services as possible. 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.
March 16, 2020
OTTAWA AREA SCHOOLS PROVIDE FREE MEALS TO ALL STUDENTS ACROSS REGION DURING SCHOOL CLOSING PERIOD
K-12 school districts throughout the Ottawa area are working to ensure that all students throughout the OAISD service region are included in meal distribution plans during the school closure period amid the COVID-19 emergency.
March 16, 2020
Ottawa County COVID-19 Response
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is hosting a joint press conference on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 4:15 pm. Daily briefings will be held at 4:15 pm until further notice.
March 15, 2020
COVID-19: First positive case in Ottawa County for Coronavirus Disease 2020
The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) was notified today of a resident who tested presumptive positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Specimen will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing. The case is an adult female with no known travel and is in isolation. OCDPH health officials are working to identify contacts and apprise their level of risk. We will keep the public informed as more information becomes available and of any potential threat to the public.
March 14, 2020
Community groups rally to help during COVID-19
New website, careOttawaCounty.com, connects residents with volunteer needs during COVID-19 outbreak
As individuals, we are all taking steps to prevent spread of COVID-19: washing our hands, avoiding close contact with others, and staying home when we are sick. During this time, we also have an impulse to help our neighbors. To make helping easy, Ottawa County community groups have mobilized to create a website: www.careottawacounty.com. Those wishing to assist will be connected to a variety of opportunities to make an impact: volunteering, donating goods or making a financial gift. The hub was developed by a community coalition including the Greater Ottawa County United Way, The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Community Spoke and The Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area.
March 13, 2020
58th District Court Takes COVID-19 Prevention Measures
In response to the emergency declarations made by President Trump and Governor Whitmer, the 58th District Court will be curtailing its operations to eliminate non-essential activities in order to avoid unnecessary in-person contact between court users and court staff. These measures are being taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
March 13, 2020
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Information
Ottawa County Parks will be implementing the following plans immediately. The purpose of these decisions are to ensure we're doing all we can to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 by following recommendations made by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Click here to sign up for OCDPH alerts related to COVID-19.
March 12, 2020
COVID-19: Community mitigation guidance from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health
With Governor Whitmer's announcement of two positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan on March 10, 2020 and with the state's community mitigation guidance on March 11, 2020, we understand there are many questions about what this may mean for your organization. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is working closely with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), county officials, healthcare providers, long-term care facilities, businesses, schools and so many more community organizations and members.
March 6, 2020
Hot Dog Names of 2019 🐶
Roll over Molly and Cooper. You're off the list of Ottawa County's hot dog names for the year 2019. That's right. The Ottawa County Treasurer's Office has the top ten list you've been waiting fur all year: the top dog names of 2019 based upon the licenses issued.
February 28, 2020
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - What you need to know
There is an expanding global outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease it causes is called Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19. It was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. While most COVID-19 cases outside of China have been associated with travel to or from China, community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries. For the general American public, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa County or in Michigan.
February 26, 2020
Ottawa County awarded $438,750 grant for farmland preservation
More than 168 acres of Ottawa County agricultural heritage is poised for protection thanks to a $438,750 Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) Local Farmland Preservation Program grant. Through a competitive application process, this program awards funds to local Purchase of Development Rights programs for permanent agricultural conservation easements. Out of 13 agricultural parcels submitted by nine farmland preservation programs, only five were picked. This is the first time an Ottawa County property has made the cut.
February 24, 2020
Ottawa Court Nationally Recognized for Exemplary Practices
The 20th Circuit Court is pleased to announce that the Ottawa County Recovery Court (drug court), a specialty program for non-violent felony offenders with acute substance use disorders, has been selected as one of eight “mentor courts” in the United States by the United States Department of Justice and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) for 2020-2022.
February 11, 2020
February is National Condom Month - Wear One!
The American Sexual Health Association recognizes each February as National #CondomMonth. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health provides free condoms at various locations throughout the county and state (click for a list of locations). Residents of Ottawa or Allegan County can also order condoms by mail here. Not having sex is the best way to keep from getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you choose to be sexually active, correct and consistent use of condoms is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of STIs.
February 7, 2020
Special Event: Piece Together Parks
Please join the Ottawa County Parks Foundation and Grand Haven Eagles to raise funds and build jigsaw puzzles to support Ottawa County Parks.
February 7, 2020
Mobile dental unit participates in “Give Kids a Smile!” TODAY
Dr. Jack McIntyre Jr. DDS will be the dentist on the Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s Miles of Smiles mobile dental unit TODAY for Give Kids a Smile Day. He will provide comprehensive dental care for Medicaid insured and financially qualifying uninsured children at Woodside Elementary. Every child will receive a gift bag complete with a toothbrush, toothpaste, prize and oral health education.
January 30, 2020
Ottawa County Road Commission statement on state road bonding plan
The Board of County Road Commissioners, County of Ottawa, has released the following statement regarding Gov. Whitmer's bonding proposal for road improvements. While we appreciate the effort by the Governor and state leaders to find a funding solution to fix the state’s roads and bridges, we are disappointed that funding for county roads seems to be left out of the most-recent proposal.
January 29, 2020
Protecting the farm: applications to preserve land now being accepted
In the past five years, Ottawa County has lost more than 14,000 acres of farmland. This contraction is no coincidence considering Ottawa is the fastest growing county in the state. Add in the fact that roughly 30% of the nearly 2,000 Ottawa County producers are of retirement age, and less than 10% are under 35, and it’s easy to see why valuable agriculture acreage is disappearing.
January 14, 2020
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission welcomes new members
Greg DeJong, a member of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners, replaced Matt Fenske on the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission. Jane Longstreet and Linda McAffrey filled two vacant public positions on the commission.
January 14, 2020
Ottawa County officials approve adding vaping to proposed revisions to the Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public
On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners regular session, officials approved the Ottawa County Health and Human Services Committee's proposed revisions to the County Operations Ordinances (Article 4, Section 400.1.1 Smoking Regulations) to include vaping regulations on or within county property AND proposed revisions to the Ottawa County Regulation Eliminating Smoking in Public and Private Worksites and Public Places to also regulate vaping. Any individuals found in violation of the ordinance shall be guilty of an infraction, leading to a warning and fines.
January 14, 2020
Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, Ottawa County partner on first-ever Nonprofit Community Assessment
With hundreds of nonprofits operating in the Ottawa County area, there’s no shortage of organizations seeking to give back. To help these organizations fulfill their mission, a group of local executive directors founded the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance (LNA) in 2006. Since then, LNA has strived to provide area nonprofits with the tools and knowledge needed to make an impact in the communities they serve.
January 9, 2020
Fifth judgeship recommended for Ottawa County
The Michigan Supreme Court, through the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), released the 2019 Judicial Resources Recommendations for the State of Michigan. The report concluded that an additional circuit judgeship be added to the 20th Circuit Court in Ottawa County. These recommendations were based on SCAO’s most recent biennial review of the judicial needs of Michigan courts, and have been forwarded to the legislature. New judgeships must be created by legislation and then approved by the County Board of Commissioners before a new judge can be elected.
January 6, 2020
Proactive Strategies Index tackles Ottawa County's groundwater crisis
It started with phone calls. It was the mid-2000s, and something was amiss with the water wells in Allendale Township’s Highland Trails subdivision. Homeowners were complaining of low water pressure or even dry faucets. Then, area farmers chimed in – soybean leaves had been ‘burned’ because their irrigation water was salty. These reports were concerning, especially since Ottawa County is the fastest growing county in the state and one of the most agriculturally diverse. As groundwater complaints mounted, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners requested a water study be conducted to understand the long-term sustainability of the County’s aquifer system.
Freedom of Information Act Requests
When it comes to your Ottawa County government, we are receptive, responsive and transparent. At the same time, we have a process to standardize operations, keep things timely and streamline the costs. To submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, visit our convenient online FIOC Center. Remember that some materials may be exempt from disclosure by state or federal law, such as information of a personal nature about individuals. For this reason, some records may be unavailable or information will be blocked out, or redacted. It can take up to ten days to receive a response to your request, although we exceed this standard by responding within five days. Occasionally, we will ask for an extension to research your request further.