Ottawa County Media Room

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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 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.

Current Media Releases

October 19, 2015

10 Tips to have sexual health conversations

The national public education campaign is celebrated in October and coordinated byAdvocates for Youth. Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) encourages parents and care givers to continue talking with youth about how to make good decisions about sex, contraception and pregnancy.

  • Parents are the best sexuality educators for their children.
  • Teens consistently say that parents most influence their decisions about sex.
  • Parents want to be good sex educators, but may not always know how.
  • It is possible to be an ask able adult.

10 Tips for Parents

  1. Be open.
  2. Be the expert.
  3. Be accessible.
  4. Be trusting.
  5. Stay calm.
  6. Ask open-ended questions.
  7. Listen to your teen.
  8. Put yourself in their shoes.
  9. Appeal to common goals.
  10. Show your interest.

Read More

July 16, 2015

State Medicaid Offices asked to design action plans to increase access and use of preventive dental services

At the 2015 Michigan Oral Health Conference, held at the Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center, Debra Bassett, RDH, BHS, Oral Health Team Supervisor from the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) presented Ottawa County’s involvement in Michigan’s oral health initiative. This initiative was designed, in 2011, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and set goals for oral health improvement by 2015. CMS asked State Medicaid Offices to design action plans to increase access and use of preventive dental services. They were also asked to support progress towards increasing the rate at which children receive preventive services by 10 percentage points over five years. Read More

June 22, 2015

National HIV Testing Day – Saturday, June 27

5 reasons to get tested

One in seven people in the United States who have HIV do not know they are infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. From October 2013 to September 2014, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) tested 898 individuals for HIV. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 2014 Epidemiologic report, 118 people are infected with HIV, in Ottawa County. Call (616) 396-5266 for a STD testing appointment. OCDPH also offers FREE condomsat their clinics and various locations throughout Ottawa County. For a list of pick-up sites, please visit

Read More

Know your status . . . get tested!

1. HIV symptoms may not appear for 10 years or more.
2. HIV affects specific cells of the immune system and destroys many of these cells; leaving the body unable to fight off infections and diseases.
3. The CDC recommends high risk sexually active individuals get tested at least once a year.
4. Testing is the only way to know if you have HIV; most commonly done by blood draw.
5. Babies may become infected with HIV during pregnancy, during labor or through breastfeeding.

June 5, 2015

5 reasons why Michigan law requires child hearing & vision screenings

Michigan's Public Health Code requires children 3 - 5 years of age to have a hearing and vision screening prior to kindergarten entry. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s (OCDPH) Hearing & Vision program focuses on the importance of early detection and offers free screening services to school aged children. Comprehensive screenings are conducted by fully trained hearing and vision technicians. Last year, OCDPH referred 8% of all children vision screened and nearly 3% hearing screened to a specialist. Parents registering their child in kindergarten or first grade must supply their school with a testing certificate. Failing to do so, will result in exclusion from school.

  1. Hearing and vision loss can impede a child’s development and performance.
  2. Early detection may lead to better care and treatment.
  3. Hearing and vision are vital to learning, working and socialization.
  4. Proper hearing and vision enables children to reach their full potential.
  5. Every dollar invested in screenings saves Michigan.
$112 in hearing and $162 in vision costs.
(Values are based on health care costs and future productivity loss.)

Read More

June 5, 2015

Coffee with Cops brewing in Hudsonville

Something’s brewing in Hudsonville: Coffee with Cops. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office invites community members to join the area police force at Mr. Burger on June 9 from 9-10 am. Coffee with Cops is an informal time where residents can meet their reps from their local law enforcement teams, ask questions and introduce concerns. Representatives from both Georgetown and Hudsonville will be present. The coffee will be free, thanks to Mr. Burger. Read More | Coffee with Cops Flyer

May 21, 2015

Community Health Needs Assessment results presentation and discussion

The Ottawa County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) task force committee is encouraging people and media professionals to attend the CHNA report presentation to discuss the results and start the initial planning on ways to improve residents’ healthy outcomes. The purpose of the CHNA is to gather required information to effectively plan the vital work of maintaining and improving health. Multiple perspectives from stakeholders, health care professionals, public health officials, community agencies and residents on health needs can lead to re-conceptualizing a problem or a prospective intervention; or it may indicate the advisability of continuing or abandoning current programs.

In 2012, community agencies and health care organizations came together to develop the baseline Ottawa County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The study is conducted every few years to find where health improvements are needed; as well as track progress from previous years. The CHNA findings are a tool for partnering health-oriented organizations to gain a better view of the health strengths and needs in our communities. Continual collaboration helps reduce duplication of community-wide research and more effectively identify, plan and develop methods that will maintain and improve the health of community members. Read More

May 13, 2015

Ottawa County Honors Employee for Customer Service

Ottawa County extends its congratulations to Deputy Rachel McDuffee who was selected to receive the Outstanding Customer Service Award for the first quarter of 2015. McDuffee is a Road Patrol Deputy for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. It’s not often that a traffic officer receives accolades from a ticketed driver, but in Ottawa County, good customer service is practiced in every situation. This past winter, Deputy McDuffee stopped a vehicle for a vision obstruction. In this case, the windows of the car were covered with snow. Deputy McDuffee scraped all windows of the vehicle before letting the driver proceed. And, despite the citation, the driver was appreciative of the gesture. Read More | Photo

Recent Headlines

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,
    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