Ottawa County Administrator's Digest

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Alan G. Vanderberg, County Administrator
August 12, 2016

Get involved: M23.1k Run & Relay


Ottawa County is excited to again be organizing the Michigan's Credit Unions M23.1k Run on October 1. New this year is M23.1k Relay which offers three person teams the opportunity to compete, each team member running an assigned distance of between 3 to 6 miles. Each participant in the run and relay will receive a quarter-zip performance shirt, aid stations along the course, race photos, finish-line refreshments, a finisher medal, awards, a post-race party and a sense of accomplishment. The race begins and ends at Robinson School in Grand Haven, traveling the length of the new M231 highway, which will be closed to traffic. The course offers views of the floodplains, the Grand River and rolling countryside. It is limited to the first 500 registrants and the price to register is now $45 a person. Sign-up now and spread the word.

If you are not a runner, spectators and volunteers are also needed. Volunteers will receive a fleece hat embroidered with the M23.1k logo. Many positions are available including water stations, set-up, packet pick-up and more. Sign-up here.

Hats, visors and shirts are also available for runners, volunteers and superfans to purchase.

Funds raised support the Spoonville Trail, North Bank Trail and Grand River Greenway Trail. Together, these non-motorized paths are called the "Grand Connection" because of the link they provide along the Grand Rive between Grand Haven, Grand Valley and Grand Rapids.

Want to build good will and connect your department with a meaningful audience experience?  Grab a group of co-workers and create a “spirit station.” In 2015, runners specifically commented on the spectators from MDOT and “sweet ladies from the Parks department.” Runners would love to see you out there supporting them.

Thanks to to following businesses and organizations for their sponsorship or services which make this event possible:

Michigan's Credit Unions | Chemical Bank | Spring Lake Fitness & Aquatic Center | Ottawa County | WGHN Radio | Michigan Department of Transportation | Ottawa County Sheriff's Office | EcoTrek Fitness | Delta Dental | Priority Health | Merle Boes | ImageSoft | Presidio | Gordons Water Systems | Governmental Consultants Services, Inc. | Grand Armory Brewing | The Pipeline Smokehouse | M & S Storage | Ottawa County Road Commission

M231 Run Play video

'The Disney Way' Helps Ottawa County, Mich., IT Staff Communicate, Build Relationships published a great article on the impact of the Disney Way on the Ottawa Innovation & Technology Department.  Both the Customer Service and Technology improvement initiatives are part of the Four C's Organizational Improvement strategy.

'The Disney Way' Helps Ottawa County, Mich., IT Staff Communicate, Build Relationships

Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient Rachell Genesky

Join us in congratulating Rachell Genesky from the County Clerk’s Office, who has been recognized as Ottawa County’s Outstanding Customer Service Award recipient for the second quarter of 2016.

The individual who nominated Rachell wrote:

"I would like to take a moment to share with you the amazing efforts of one of Ottawa County’s finest. Last Friday a family was traveling from the United States through Canada on their way to New York, to visit family for Father’s Day. They called the Ottawa County Clerk’s Office, an hour before the office closed, in a panic. Shortly after they crossed the Canadian border, they realized they did not have their 11 year old son’s birth certificate with them. Getting into Canada without this document was not a problem; it was getting back home that was the concern. Rachell Genesky fielded the phone call, and listened to the family describe what could potentially be a vacation disaster- as they were stuck in Canada without their son’s birth certificate. Michigan’s state statutes are very strict when it comes to issuing birth certificates. Statutes define limitations on what identification processes must be adhered to before issuing any birth certificates. In addition, only hard copies can be mailed to the applicant of record (or their parents) at the home address- and policies state these records cannot be mailed outside of the United States. Rachell calmed the distraught parents and devised a plan that stepped outside the realm of the norm, all the while adhering to the regulations state statutes defined. She had the parents apply for a copy of a birth certificate through our online website, patiently overcoming each and every technical difficulty the couple encountered. She then obtained contact information for the Canadian border patrol agency and asked her supervisor to communicate with the border patrol agents the situation this family was in. An agreement was made with the border control to issue a government use only email version of the 11 year old's birth certificate, which they were willing to utilize as acceptable documentation. By the time the family arrived at the border, the agent had their documentation in hand, and was able to assist them in reentering the United States. The praise the family gave to Rachell was heartfelt and abundant. They were so grateful to her for all of her patience, effort and professionalism. They couldn’t believe a government employee would go to such lengths to assist them the way she did. Without the creative out of the box thinking on Rachell’s part, the family’s travel plans to visit their grandfather on Father’s Day would have been a complete mess. The family would have had to drop one of the parents off at a hotel with the child and wait while the other parent drove back across the border all the way to Ottawa County; all the while hoping they had a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate at home (being the County office would have been closed by then); and then drive back to Canada again. If ever there was an employee that exemplifies the true meaning of the Ottawa Way- Rachell is it!"

Read more about Rachell at


Timberland RC&D Council

We learned in late June that Timberland RC&D  has closed and is being dissolved.  The following describes the mission and service are of the organization.  Ottawa County appointed one of the Board Members of Timberland.


To provide regional leadership and conservation assistance for citizens to improve, properly develop and sensibly use our natural and human resources.

Timberland is a private, not-for-profit organization based in Grand Rapids, MI.  We are dedicated to helping people care for and protect their natural resources and to improve local economies, environment, and living standards.  We work together with local residents to help plan how they can actively solve environmental, economic, and social problems in their own communities. We cover a 10-county area to include services in Clinton, Ionia, Ingham, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, and Ottawa Counties.

Opiate Overdose Prevention Training


OCDPH main header

Ottawa County environmental health specialist recognized nationally for outstanding contributions


Jessica Voglewede received a Certificate of Merit from the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), thereby nationally recognizing her for outstanding contributions to the environmental health profession.

Jessica began her environmental health career at Ottawa County in 2013, and currently works as an Environmental Health Specialist on the Food Safety Team. She has demonstrated a strong ability to meld technical expertise and strong communication skills to set high standards for Ottawa County food establishments and communicate those standards to operators.

Technical expertise is vital for correctly interpreting the Food Code during an inspection and the ability to communicate the information to operators. While most inspectors pass the State of Michigan standardization review, it is the rare few that receive 100% from Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development during the field evaluation. Jessica is one of those few. During her first field evaluation she received 100%, properly demonstrating 54 of 54 competencies.

Jessica’s ability to communicate as an ally rather than an adversary has proven to motivate operators to want to meet the standards. This is highlighted by the turnaround of establishments in her area that had demonstrated numerous issues and risks to food safety. Jessica was able to document these issues, communicate corrections needed, and hold the establishment accountable through various enforcement tools. This was all accomplished while providing a high level of customer service. Since the creation of the Ottawa County Customer Service Award in late 2014, Jessica has received 18 online nominations. The following are just a sampling of some of the feedback received.  

“Jessica Voglewede came into my restaurant for our routine inspection and I was the manager on duty at the time. I am personally new to the management team and all other inspections I have witnessed from afar, but really did not understand the full process of what they were looking at or checking on. Despite my inexperience with the walk through, she made sure I understood exactly what we were looking for, and why it was important to keep up what we were doing. As I had questions arise, she would stop what she was doing to explain everything, and even helped to point it out in the health code book so that I could further educate my staff on the importance of the task and that they were doing a fantastic job. Her service was above and beyond what I would have expected and I feel as if any questions or concerns arose during the year, I would be able to contact her without feeling the pressure as I would have expected prior to this experience.”

“Jessica has consistently made a point of not only inspecting our stores, but connecting with our employees. She makes it very clear that she is on our team, and wants us to be as successful as possible in all avenues, including serving safe products, and conducting best practices with regard to handling food.”

About the NEHA Certificate of Merit:

Each State Environmental Health Association Affiliate may nominate one of its members and/or a team to receive a Certificate of Merit from the National Environmental Health Association, thereby nationally recognizing one of their own for outstanding contributions to the environmental health profession. Each affiliate may only nominate a single individual for this recognition. In 2016, the Michigan Environmental Health Association chose Jessica Voglewede as their nominee. Jessica was one of only 11 individuals nationwide to receive this recognition.

"Nasal spray" flu vaccine NOT recommended during 2016 - 2017 flu season

On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of an interim recommendation that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the "nasal spray" flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. The ACIP vote follows data showing poor or relatively lower effectiveness of LAIV from 2013 through 2016. 

The change in the ACIP recommendation is an example of using new available data to ensure public health actions are most beneficial. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) for everyone 6 months and older.

Influenza is a serious disease that causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year. While the protection offered by flu vaccines can vary, the flu shot’s overall vaccine effectiveness estimate of 49 percent suggests that millions of people were protected against flu last season.

Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school 

due to flu illness, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. 

CDC conducts vaccine effectiveness studies each season to estimate flu vaccine effectiveness. How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including characteristics of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and even which vaccine is used. 

Read more of the CDC's Media Statement.

Why Flu Vaccination Matters - Personal Flu Stories

flu vac matters

Bats play an important role in our ecosystem

However, they are also associated with diseases deadly to humans.

 Bats eat insects, including some that can cause damage to farms and crops. They pollinate plants and they scatter seed. Studies of bats have contributed to medical advances, including the development of navigational aids for the blind. When people think about bats, they often imagine things that are not true. Bats are not blind - are not rodents - are not birds - and will not suck your blood. 

Take Caution When Bats Are Near

Be safe - Never handle a bat!

Because bats are mammals, they can develop rabies, but most do not have the rabies disease. You can't tell if a bat has rabies just by looking at it. Rabies can be confirmed only by having the animal tested in a laboratory. 

Diseases Spread by Bats

Several highly fatal diseases have been linked to bats. Rabies is the most well-known disease associated with bats. Along with animals such as dogs, foxes, raccoons, and skunks, bats are one of the primary animals that transmit rabies. Rabies attacks the brain and spinal cord. An exposure to rabies most commonly occurs when a person is bitten by a rabid animal. It can also be transmitted when the saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with a person's mucous membranes (such as in the mouth, eyes, or nose), or a fresh wound. When a person is exposed to rabies, timely administration of a vaccine known as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can prevent infection. Once a person becomes infected and symptoms begin to occur, rabies is almost always fatal. 

Safely Capture Bats

If a bat is present in your home, contact an animal-control professional for assistance. It may be important to capture the bat for rabies testing, especially if a potential bite or exposure has occurred. Sometimes, professional help may be unavailable. In such cases, use precautions to capture the bat safely. 

To begin, you will need:

  • leather work gloves (put them on)
  • small box or coffee can
  • piece of cardboard
  • tape

The steps you should take to capture the bat are:

  • When the bat lands, approach it slowly, while wearing the gloves, and place the box or coffee can over it.
  • Slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside.
  • Tape the cardboard to the container securely, and punch small holes in the cardboard, allowing the bat to breathe.

If no potential exposure has occurred, the bat can be safely released outside. If a bite or exposure to saliva has occurred (into a person's mucous membranes such as in the mouth, eyes or nose, or a fresh wound), contact the health department or animal-control authority to make arrangements for rabies testing. 

Treatment after a Potential Exposure

If you are bitten or saliva from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or wounds; wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical attention immediately. Bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen (see picture below). Although many people know if they have been bitten by a bat, there are certain circumstances when a person might not be aware or able to tell if a bite has occurred. 

For example:

  • If a person awakes to find a bat in the room.
  • If you find a bat in a room with an unattended child.

If the above occurs, get immediate medical attention. In all circumstances, contact your local health department for assistance with medical advice and testing bats for rabies. When it cannot be ruled out that the bat is free from rabies and an exposure has occurred, PEP may need to be considered.

Take Steps to Keep Bats Out of Your Home

Some bats live in buildings and may continue to do so with little risk to inhabitants if they are unable to access living areas and the potential for contact with people is low. However, bats should always be prevented from entering rooms of your home. Bat proofing your home can prevent them from using it as a roosting site. For best results, contact an animal control or wildlife conservation agency and ask for assistance. 

If you choose to do the bat-proofing yourself, here are some suggestions:

  • Carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry into your living quarters.
  • Any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked.
  • Use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics.
  • Fill electrical and plumbing holes with stainless steel wool or caulking. 
  • Ensure all doors to the outside close tightly.

Most bats leave in the fall or winter to hibernate, so these are the best times to bat-proof your home. During summer, many young bats are unable to fly. If you exclude adult bats during this time, the young may be trapped inside and die or make their way into living quarters. If possible, avoid exclusion from May through August. 

Common Entry Points

  • down chimney
  • opening around chimney
  • through vents
  • through open unscreened windows
  • under or through open doors
  • under siding
  • under eaves
  • under loose shingles

For questions about rabies testing for bats or other information, 

please call 616-393-5645 or email

bat bit


Ottawa Conservation District Summer Updates

The Ottawa Conservation District provides information, programs and services to assist private landowners with managing land and water resources.

Bass River Deer Creek Restoration Project (BRDC)

Since Spring, BRDC facilitated the installation of 3 new residential septic systems, with more underway, providing cost-share opportunities for eligible landowners in these watersheds.

Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP)

In partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA), and the Ottawa County Farm Bureau, MAEAP hosted a field day event on July 26, 2016. The program included information about precision agriculture and drone demonstrations.

Critical Dune Information and Education

Since early summer, critical dune information and education has been provided for over 250 residents. This information focuses on the importance of plants and trees in stabilizing sand dunes, and the District’s rich history with dune erosion prevention.

West Michigan Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (WMCISMA)

Invasive species treatment crews are busy at work throughout the county. In July, qualified crews provided invasive species treatment services for 120 Ottawa County landowners with up to 100% of the cost covered by grant funds.

Landowner Information and Assistance

District staff are responding to landowner emails, phone calls and in-person visits daily, providing information and resources on a wide variety of agricultural and conservation topics. 

Ottawa Conservation District

16731 Ferris Street

Grand Haven, Michigan 49417

(616) 842-5852

Ottawa Conservation District is co-located with the Natural Resources Conservation District (USDA).

The USDA is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender.


The call volume and incident numbers handled through Ottawa County Central Dispatch for July 2016 were:

Total Incidents –10,898 down 7% over July 2015 and down 1.5% YTD over 2015 

Fire Incidents – 1,337 even with July 2015 and up 1.1% YTD over 2015 

Law Incidents – 9,561 down 7.9% over July 2015 and down 1.1% YTD over 2015

911 Calls – 10,743 up 1.1% over July 2015 and down 1.6% YTD over 2015

911 Hang Up calls - 1,113 up 1.7% over July 2015 and down 4.1% YTD over 2015 

911 calls answered in 10 seconds or less - 90.2% for July 2016 and 90.4% YTD for 2016

(NENA recommended standard is 90% within 10 seconds)

Smart 911 Measures:

Profile Pops - 70 down 17.6% over July 2015 and down 22.3% YTD over 2015

Hang up calls resolved texting - 208 up 104% over July 2015 and up 32.9% YTD over 2015

Cost avoidance via texting - $4,784 up 103% over July 2015 and up 34.2% YTD over 2015                   

Chat success rate - 20% for July 2016 up 10% over July 2015 and even YTD with 2016 


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