Ottawa County

Lake Michigan photo
3bylunch via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 /

A western Michigan pier is set to undergo repairs that will close it for nearly a year.

A $2.1 million repair project for a pier in Grand Haven is scheduled to be started in August by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. reports the project is the pier's first major overhaul since the mid-1950s.

There are efforts ongoing to raise another $1.5 million to repair the structure's catwalk.

A 19-year-old western Michigan man who called 911 on himself after another man was stabbed during an attempted robbery at a gas station has been found incompetent for trial.

The Holland Sentinel reports Thursday that an examination by forensic experts did determine that competency for Bret Williams could be achieved through treatment.

Williams of Hudsonville is charged with assault with intent to murder and attempted armed robbery.

WEST OLIVE, Mich. (AP) - A fire has gutted a church in western Michigan, collapsing the steeple as well as most of the roof of the building.

No injuries were reported during the Friday morning fire at Faith United Reformed Church near West Olive in Ottawa County.

The Holland Sentinel reports multiple departments were on the scene and traffic in the area was blocked off as crews responded.

The Grand Rapids Press says Pastor Matthew Nuiver saw the fire from the church's parking lot and reported the steeple was on fire.

All Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon school district proposals received voter approval on Tuesday.

Most district measures passed by comfortable margins, including sinking funds for Grandville, Muskegon and North Muskegon public schools.

Other approvals included operating levies for Fruitport, Hudsonville, West Ottawa, Grand Haven and Zeeland public school districts, as well as bond proposals for Kenowa Hill and Jenison public schools, among others.

A $58.6 million bond proposal for Sparta Area Schools was one of the closest races.

pothole in road
Uncl3dad via Wikimedia | Public Domain image /

State highway officials say concrete is crumbling on a three-mile stretch of the M-6 freeway south of Grand Rapids years before it should've started deteriorating.

Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman John Richard tells WOOD-TV that transportation officials are blaming the failure on a shortage in the natural resin used in highway concrete when the freeway was built about a dozen years ago.

He says crews were forced to use synthetic resin on the project.

Authorities say three young people are suspected of vandalizing two churches in western Michigan.

The Ottawa County sheriff's department says information from the public led investigators to the teens, ages 13, 15 and 16.

Authorities say the front door was pried open about 3 a.m. Sunday at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church in Georgetown Township.

Bibles, books and other church literature were found thrown around the lobby.

Fire extinguishers were discharged.

Damage to the church was estimated about $2,500.

Pinwheels are popping up across west Michigan this month.

"We really are just bringing awareness to how each person in our community can prevent child maltreatment." 

Leigh Moerdyke is the youth development program director for Pathways, MI; one of multiple agencies 'planting' pinwheels across Ottawa County.

"The pinwheel really represents the health and happiness, and the happy childhood, that every child deserves." 

Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health

Officials in western Michigan are investigating a reported chemical leak that prompted a hospital to shut down for about four hours. reports Saturday that Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital went on lockdown Friday night after reports that a small cloud of phosphorus trichloride leaked at nearby chemical manufacturer Vertellus Specialties.

The newspaper says the chemical turns into a toxic gas when it comes in contact with water.

Hospital spokeswoman Sara Donkersloot said the facility reopened about 1 a.m. Saturday.

Downtown Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids metropolitan area experienced the highest population growth in the state last year. 

New U.S. Census data released Thursday shows the Grand Rapids metropolitan area grew in population by 0.9 percent from 2014 to 2015. That’s 15 times higher than overall state growth.

Ottawa and Kent are also the top two fastest-growing Michigan counties respectively. The two together added almost 50,000 people from 2010 to 2015.

Ottawa County residents approved a 10-year tax millage supporting public and community health services.

The .3 mill levy benefits Community Mental Health of Ottawa County, and is expected to raise $3.2 million annually.

It was proposed due to an up-to $7 million deficit facing the department over the next four years.

Officials say it’ll be used to shore up funding for mental health, disability support, transportation needs and jail services, among other public programs.

Election polling station sign
Wikimedia | Tom Arthur | CC BY 2.0

With the Presidential primary reaching a fever pitch ahead of Tuesday’s state election, several local issues and candidates also seek your vote.

In Kent County, Democrat David LaGrand and Republican Blake Edmonds are running for the state House’s 75th District seat, vacated by former legislator Brandon Dillon. Dillon stepped down last year after being named chair of the state Democratic Party.

Republican Mary Whiteford, Democrat David Gernant and Libertarian Arnie Davidsons seek election for the House’s 80th District, following Cindy Gamrat’s expulsion by lawmaker vote.

A judge in western Michigan has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a park commission and its officials by the family of an 11-year-old boy who died in a sledding accident.

Ottawa County Circuit Judge Jon Hulsing ruled Wednesday that the Duncan Park Commission and its trustees are not liable in the 2009 death of Chance Nash of Nunica.

The boy struck a tree that had fallen on a hillside in the Grand Haven park, west of Grand Rapids.

The family's lawsuit said park officials were required to remove the fallen tree.

A series of upcoming Ottawa County workshops help churches and places of worship create proactive safety plans.

"I think the biggest thing – the reason, is to be prepared."

That’s Sergeant Mike Bagladi of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. The department is offering a free, two-phase safety and security workshop for local churches and places of worship.

"Churches around the area and now all over the United States are coming up with their own security teams," he says. "It’s a real growing interest in all congregations." 

Cleanup restores 80 acres of wetlands in Ottawa County

Dec 30, 2015
Project Clarity Holland Wetlands

A local effort to clean up the Macatawa Watershed has restored about 80 acres of wetlands in Ottawa County.

In 2015, the Outdoor Discovery Center's program Project Clarity used donated land to create 42 acres of new wetlands south of Holland and 38 acres of new wetlands in Zeeland Township.

The projects involved reworking the land into basins and replanting native plant species over several months.

Project Clarity fundraising director Lynn Kotecki tells the Holland Sentinel that the goal of the projects is to improve water quality in Lake Macatawa and its watershed.

Authorities: 2 taken to hospital after school bus crash

Dec 3, 2015

MARNE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say two students were taken to a hospital with injuries after a school bus went off a road in western Michigan.