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M-231 in Ottawa Co. to open by the end of the month

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- A new Michigan highway is set to open by the end of the month.

The seven-mile long M-231 highway will connect I-96 to Lake Michigan Drive, providing an alternative north and south route to driving through Grand Haven on U.S. 31.

Friday morning, the Michigan Department of Transportation dedicated the pedestrian and bicycle pathway on M-231's new Grand River bridge to the memory of Sergeant Henry E. Plant. Sergeant Plant was a Civil War soldier and the first service member from Ottawa County to receive the Medal of Honor.

ArtWalk organizers: Higher attendance, voting this year

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Organizers of Grand Haven's ArtWalk call the event's sixth year a success.

Our partner the Grand Haven Tribune reports the two-week festival had better attendance and higher voting numbers.

The Downtown Development Authority also says stores reported increased sales this year.

In all, 174 artists participated in this year's ArtWalk.

Police: Man, 58, waves gun after parking space argument

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- A 58-year-old Comstock Park man was arrested after he allegedly loaded and waved a handgun following a dispute over a parking spot.

Police responded just after 5 p.m. Friday to the Walgreens at 510 Beacon Blvd. on a report that a man had a gun, according to a Grand Haven Department of Public Safety news release.

Authorities say a Comstock Park man was arguing over a parking space with a 24-year-old man from Oxford, Mich. His father, 49, also became involved.

Shortly thereafter, the Comstock Park man allegedly loaded and brandished a handgun.

Police later searched for the man with a given vehicle description and found him traveling north on Beacon Blvd.

He was pulled over, arrested and later lodged at the Ottawa County jail on weapons charges. A handgun was recovered from the suspect's vehicle.

Search continues for missing boaters

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) - The search continues for two missing boaters. Aaron Juarez and Chris Thode are from West Michigan and went missing more than a week ago on Lake Michigan.

"The worst week of my life, the worst week, it feels like we've been going through this for a month," says Renee Palermo, the sister of Aaron Juarez.

"It's been terrible, but I just hope and pray that everyday gets better and that we have some kind of closure to this awful tragedy in our family," says Victor Juarez, the father of Aaron Juarez.

The Coast Guard ended its search Thursday after covering nearly 4,000 square miles, but the family still wants answers. A new discovery of an unknown object at the bottom of Lake Michigan could bring answers.

"It was found 500 yards from the last ping of Aaron's cell phone," says Palermo.

$86.5K fix coming for Ottawa County Courthouse steps

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- While technically still functional, the steps leading into the Ottawa County Courthouse in Grand Haven will be torn out and rebuilt.

The expensive fix is the latest effort to resolve on-going and dangerous problems with the steps that can be traced back to a construction mistake.

The wide steps leading into the building have never been right.

"It is something we have had our eye on since 2009," said Alan Vandenberg, the Ottawa County administrator.

Vanderberg says when the building opened that year county officials knew something was off.

"The steps were not done correctly. They were a little uneven. Height, width, depth was off, and I think the forms weren't set properly," he said.

Runners pound new M-231 highway before opening

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- Three hundred runners pounded the newly paved M-231 highway Saturday morning to commemorate the soon-to-be opened road.

"It has taken, ironically, 23 years," said Shannon Felgner, Ottawa County communication manger. "We love it. We love how the numbers played out. The race is 23.1 kilometers."

"It's really going to be helpful for the residents and visitors alike," Felgner said. "It's going to be great for the economy [and] building business."

Saturday's run raised $11,000 for additional Ottawa County projects, with funds going to non-motorized pathways.

Volunteers help search for two missing fisherman on Lake Michigan

GRAND HAVEN, Mich., (WZZM)- A team of volunteers is helping in the search for two missing fisherman on Lake Michigan.

40-year old Aaron Juarez and his roommate Chris Thode, 25, disappeared September 26th. Their truck and trailer were found at the Pigeon Lake boat launch a few days later, but no sign of the two men.

Monday morning, a team led by Keith Cormican, of Wisconsin, headed out onto Lake Michigan, from Grand Haven. "You've got a very clean lake out here, so if there's anything out here, we're going to see it", says Cormican. The certified diving instructor started a non-profit group "Bruce's Legacy" after his brother died trying to rescue someone in 1995.