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My Town Grand Haven: Township gets $276k to expand Hofma Park

My Town Grand Haven: Township gets $276k to expand Hofma Park

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich.— The 417-acre Hofma Park and Preserve will soon grow by another 40 acres.

On March 17, Governor Snyder signed legislation approving a $276,500 grant  to Grand Haven Township.  The money will go toward purchasing 40 acres of land currently owned by the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.  The land is adjacent to the park and includes forested wetland and fields with Christmas trees. Township Superintendent Bill Cargo has said the land will be kept in its natural state.

The land deal will guarantee continued public access to the park and protect Alder Creek, Pottawattomie Bayou and the lower Grand River watershed.

Cargo has said the land acquisition is expected to cost approximately $368,000.  Approximately 75 percent of that cost will be covered by the grant; the other 25 percent will come out of the township’s general fund.

Michigan Works! office closes in Grand Haven

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- People looking for work in Grand Haven no longer have a Michigan Works! location nearby.

Thursday was the last day for the Michigan Works! office there.

"It had been there for about 15 years," said Bill MacDhubhain of Ottawa County Michigan Works!

Tri-cities job seekers looking for Michigan Works! service centers now have to go to Holland or Muskegon.

"When the economy gets better, Michigan Works! gets smaller," MacDhubhain said, explaining the work load for staff kept shrinking. "For the last several months, we were down to maybe 20 visits a week."

Ottawa County's unemployment rate during the recession hit the 13- to 14-percent range, according to MacDhubhain, and now it's less than five percent.

With this office closing, another Grand Haven group is ready to pick up some of the slack.

My Town: Huntington bank expands to Meijer stores

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—A new bank is moving into Meijer stores across the area.

Huntington Bank is partnering with the retailer to open 43 branches within Meijer stores, a dozen of which are in the greater Grand Rapids area.  The bank says the deal will create 250 jobs within the state and make Huntington the third largest bank branch network in the state.  Huntington says the partnership will bring its company workforce up to 2,300 people.

The announcement comes months after Chase began notifying customers it is closing its Meijer store branches.  A spokesman for Meijer told WZZM 13 “circumstances have changed and we mutually agreed to end the relationship.”

Huntington’s new Meijer branch locations will include Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Grandville, Greenville, Ionia, Jenison, Lowell, Muskegon, Portage, and Wyoming.

My Town: Saint Patrick’s 'Blarney Blast' Saturday, March 14

My Town: Saint Patrick’s 'Blarney Blast' Saturday, March 14

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- A buffet dinner with Irish and American cuisine, live music, dancing, green beer and more is being planned for the Saturday, March 14  Saint Patrick’s “Blarney Blast.”

The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish, 920 Fulton Ave. in Grand Haven.  All proceeds benefit the parish, with its patron saint of St. Patrick the namesake of the annual party to honor St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the band “Sweet Justice,” which performed before a crowd of approximately 300 people at the St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish Festival in August 2014.

Ticket prices are $20 per person, which includes dinner,  or $10 per person, which includes attendance at the event after dinner concludes at 8 p.m.  A cash bar will be available, along with green beer.

MSU students to offer free tax help Tues. & Wed.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Michigan State University students are offering help in filing taxes for low income families. It's called the Help 100 campaign.

Families with a household income of less than $53,000 per year are eligible. Students can guide people through issues with the IRS, filing a 1040, or claiming the earned income tax credit.

MSU students say the event will be going on at the Grand Haven Community Center on Columbus Avenue from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. They did spend some time Tuesday helping people, as well.

Grand Haven man's death ruled suicide

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- Grand Haven Public Safety officers have concluded that a suspicious death Monday night was a suicide.

Around 5:00pm Monday, authorities responded to a medical emergency call at a home on Sheldon near Duncan Woods Park. At that home, they found the body of a 68-year-old man. Officers said at the time that they were investigating the death due to circumstances at the scene.

There was no threat to the neighborhood.

Frozen Lake MI like you've never seen it before

Grand Haven (WZZM) -- It's rare, but last week conditions on Lake Michigan were perfect for West Michigan Speedskating Club member April Chernoby to lace up her skates and take her camera for a spin on the ice.

WZZM spoke with Chernoby Saturday morning who said "for a brief window of opportunity last week the lake was like glass." The pictures and video she shared with WZZM are certainly proof. All the images were shot near Grand Haven so you'll recognize the lighthouse.

We asked if she plans to take another spin on the Lake Michigan ice and she said conditions have changed quite a bit, the ice is much more snow-covered at this time.

April and her husband live on the NE side of Grand Rapids.