Detroit Lions vs Ottawa County All-Stars Basketball Game

What | Detroit Lions vs Ottawa County All-Stars Basketball Game

When | Saturday, May 6 | 7:30PM

Where | Allendale High School Gymnasium |10760 68th Avenue

Tickets | Detroit Lions vs Ottawa County All-Stars Tickets |Admittance to the game is FREE to members of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office and their immediate families. 

Questions | Email Deputy Walker or call 616-662-6053 or 616-589-8809

The game pits members of the Detroit Lions vs. members of the Ottawa County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and other members of the public. Along with an entertaining game of basketball, there is a 20-30 minute “half time” where spectators can take photos with the players and have them sign autographs and their favorite memorabilia. Griff from the Grand Rapids Griffins and Sparty of the Michigan State University Spartans will be there. Concessions are available.

Funds raised by the game go to help support the Ottawa County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and various local community projects that the OCDSA is involved in, such as: 

  • Child drug awareness education
  • The Deputy Dave Steenwyk and Deputy Matt Chatfield Memorial Scholarships
  • Shields of Hope West Michigan
  • school supplies to needy families




Step it Up! Walking Challenge

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

Ottawa and Allegan Parks and Recreation and Department of Public Health are teaming up to bring the community another Step it Up! Walking Challenge this spring. Participants will “virtually walk” 240 miles along regional trails in Michigan. The challenge begins on Monday, April 3! Registration is now open- register today!

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.

Participants will be able to track their individual progress online, including their cumulative steps taken. The Ottawa County GIS Department designed a map to watch progress along the virtual trail. “When you login to track your steps, you’ll be able to see the weekly goal markers and also track your individual progress. It was great to team up with GIS again to create an interactive component,” said Parks spokesperson Jessica VanGinhoven.

Ottawa County will also release its new and improved tracking system for participants that was developed over the winter. “Participants will be able to track their progress on a weekly basis, just like before, but we’ve added the option to track progress daily,” said VanGinhoven. “The tracking program is also mobile-friendly, so you can record your activity from your phone. These changes were made based on participant feedback and should make tracking activity much easier.”

Past participants also enjoyed the program. In a survey following the program walk participants reported:

  • Great program to encourage people to exercise and use the county park system.
  • I loved this program! It motivated me to get walking again! I moved back to Holland two years ago and I learned a lot about the parks in Ottawa County through this program! I will be buying a pass and keep visiting our parks! Thank you very much!
  • It has helped us lose weight and feel so much better.
  • Prior to this challenge my daily steps were closer to 5,000 and since doing program I’m between 7,000-10,000 and some days way more. It challenged me to park further away and keep pedometer with me when walking around my house for a true count of my steps. Thanks for the motivation.

Registration is now open- register today!

URL:  Registration closes April 10.

Group Walk Schedule

April 8: Pine Bend Park, 10-11 AM

April 8: Outdoor Discovery Center, 10-11 AM

April 13: New Richmond Bridge Park, 10-11 AM

April 13: Rosy Mound Natural Area, 5:30-6:30 PM

April 22: Riley Trails, 10-11 AM

April 22: Bysterveld Park, 10-11 AM

April 27: Grand Ravines (North), 5:30-6:30 PM

May 2: Hemlock Crossing, 5:30-6:30 PM

May 6: Kirk Park, 3-4 PM

May 8: Allegan Sports Complex, 10-11 AM

May 11: Connor Bayou 5:30-7 PM – This walk will be followed by a family-friendly party at the Connor Bayou cabin!

Parks Naturalist, Kelly Morrissey, leads a walking group at Paw Paw County Park in Holland. Last spring, over 800 participants walked 106,609.6 miles – four times around the world!

Ottawa County 58th District Court Gives Hope

The Ottawa County 58th District Court staff donated 81 backpacks filled with necessities (socks, pajamas, toothbrushes…) and other important items (toys, coloring books, crayons, puzzles…) to Hope Pkgs. Hope Pkgs is a local nonprofit that provides “first night bags” for children entering foster care. Many kids enter a foster family’s home with nothing but the clothing on their backs. The filled backpacks provide some comfort and hope for children of all ages during the transition. Let’s applaud these employees for their generosity and demonstration of The Ottawa Way.

Pictured is Lisa from Hope Pkgs and the District Court All RISE! Staff Enrichment Team who orchestrated and oversaw the project. (Not pictured is team member Sue O’Connor)

Does Your Web Page Need Attention?

Do you know how many “pages” make up or how many pdf files we house on our website? It’s a rough estimate, but we have over 1,800 pages plus over 8,700 pdf files. The upside: we have a lot of information on our website. The downside: we have a lot of information on our website.

In our most recent citizen survey (2016), 78% of residents who had visited gave it a positive rating. This is a passing grade, but it leaves nearly one-quarter of our website visitors unsatisfied with our electronic information or services. How can we work together to eliminate this friction and improve our website? Here are some tips that we can all employ:

Update It
When a customer visits our website today and sees a sentence such as, “The training will continue through 2015,” our credibility is instantly diminished. Do you know the process for updating your department’s web page content? Typically, each department designates one person to send content updates to our contractor, Webtecs. Do you know who manages content for your department? If you do not, discuss it at your next staff meeting. Sometimes the person who was designated to watch the content moves on and the task is never reassigned. Other times, the day to day operations take priority over updating the website. Now is a chance to regroup and switch the assignments if needed.

Pdf vs. Page Text
Every time a user has to “click” the chances of that user retrieving the information you intend to communicate goes down. Unless you are providing a form to complete, offer the information in both text on the web page and a pdf of the flyer that you masterfully created.

Click vs. Scroll
The popularity of mobile devices and tablets has converted many of our customers into creatures who scroll. Half of our website visitors access from their mobile devices. (Apple devices edged Android devices on by 5.72% in December, if you are keeping score.) In the past, web design placed a high importance on the information “above the fold” or on the screen you see when you land on a web page. While this is still important, we have embraced scrolling. Scroll with it. Just be sure to keep luring customers down the page with good design.

Product Information First
While your 2016 annual report, organization’s history or the note from the director is nice, consider why your website visitors come to (NOTE: Your director is most certainly AMAZING!) Are your visitors online for services, to enroll in training, to learn about an event, to get contact information, to find the answer to a question or to do something else?  If your customer becomes frustrated trying to find the course registration information they are looking for, they could simply leave Take a moment to find someone with no or limited information about your department or program and ask them, “Does this make sense?” If you are the content manager, feel free to ask Webtecs for advice when sending your content to them. They can likely suggest empathetic site architecture to improve the user experience. Learn more about User Experience at

Proofread. Then proofread again.
You have read your copy a dozen times. If possible, request a trusted colleague to look it over. Once it is published online, take one more look. Simply the change in font or formatting can uncover a covert typo, lurking among the letters waiting to attack your professionalism and humiliate you.

Avoid Acronyms and Jargon
While it may be impossible to completely remove jargon, make an effort to mix common, lay terms or past terminology in your content. Remember that the website is a primary portal for the public, not your professional peers.

Consider Active Voice vs. Passive Voice
Passive sentences are not always the best way to phrase your thoughts. Passive voice is often awkward, vague, wordy and more difficult to understand. Make your writing clear and concise. Replace passive sentences with active sentences when possible. Here is a great resource from Purdue University.

This is just a sample of ideas we can use to improve What are some other things you see on websites that you feel should be included or avoided?  Do you have a favorite government website? Why? Share in the comments.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Greetings from Ottawa County’s Cultural Intelligence Committee
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  This is federal holiday which marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and was established back in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.

Then, as now, many felt an uncertainty in the direction of our country as the country was ripe with the fear of racism and inequality.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave a speech that’s widely referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Every once in a while, an individual comes along whose words lift us, inspire us to be a better, to view the world not as it is, but what it can be.  That speech holds a special meaning, not just singularly as individuals, but collectively as a nation.

The links below will direct you to that speech.  The entire speech is about 17 minutes long. The portion heard most often is bout 6 ½ minutes long.  Hit the link below.  We hope you take the time to listen and be inspired.

Enjoy Pigeon Creek Over the Holidays

The weather forecast looks great for skiing for weeks to come! Anticipating optimal ski conditions this holiday season, these are our Pigeon Creek Lodge holiday hours:

  • December 24: 9am – 4pm (last ski rental at 2:30 pm)
  • December 25: CLOSED
  • December 26 – December 30: 9am – 10pm (last ski rental at 8:30 pm)
  • December 31: 9am – 8pm (last ski rental at 6:30 pm)
  • January 1: 9am – 8pm (last ski rental at 6:30 pm)
  • January 2: 12pm – 8pm (last ski rental at 6:30 pm)
  • Snowshoe rentals are also available during these times with sizes for ages 4 through 104!

The lodge is only open during good ski conditions. If you aren’t sure if the lodge is open, call our hotline: (616) 738-9531.

Winter Park hours during good ski conditions: 7 am-10 pm

Ski Classes

Ski classes begin this January! Classes for beginners, intermediates, and skate skiers are available. Check the schedule to find a class that’s perfect for you.

Are you in the loop?

If you are not in the loop, you should consider joining it: GovLoop. GovLoop’s mission is simple: connect government to improve government. They provide articles, resources and training for public sector employees, plus forums for connecting and collaborating with colleagues across the nation. It is also worth mentioning that they recently published this article about Ottawa County’s customer service initiative. Check it out!

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Join us in congratulating Shane Ryke from the Sheriff’s Office, who has been recognized as Ottawa County’s Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient for the third quarter of 2016. The individuals who nominated Shane wrote:

Yesterday was my daughter’s 4th birthday we went to Catch Air to celebrate. On the way home to Muskegon, we had a tire blowout. We were on the side of the highway for about two hours while my dad came to help and go get a new tire for us. While we were waiting, Deputy Shane Ryke stopped to help and stayed to make sure we were safe because it was the driver side tire. While talking he learned it was my daughter’s birthday he had a stuffed animal in his cruiser and gave it to her. I just wanted to share because it helped turn a bad situation into a pleasant one. Thank you, Deputy Ryke!

After learning my son was the boy who waves to him from across the street at home, and that he wants to become an officer someday, Shane took the time to find junior deputy badges and brought them over to my son all on his own time. To my 5-year-old, this was huge. With a lot of negative things in the world, this is reassuring to my son that cops are not bad people. He’s still set on becoming an officer someday “just like the one across the road.”


Read more about Shane at

Friend of the Court Awarded by State

At the Michigan Family Support Conference last week, Ottawa County Friend of the Court received the award for top performance of a large county in four federal performance measure areas. Congratulations to Jennell Challa, to Friend of the Court staff, to the judges, to the referees and to everyone who plays a part in the child support enforcement program in Ottawa County.