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MDOT holds ribbon-cutting ceremony on M-231


OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM) -- The Michigan Department of Transportation dedicated a new highway in Ottawa County during special ceremony at the Grand River bridge on Friday.

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. M-231 is intended to ease congestion on U-S 31. 

The two-lane highway cost 186-million and is expected to help boost economic development. 

"So, let me tell you, the investment is well-spent and our region will continue to grow, thanks to this investment”, says Jennifer Owens, President of the Lakeshore Advantage.

The highway is scheduled to open to vehicular traffic on Oct. 30.

Injured Spring Lake man found in watery ditch


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- A man suffered serious injuries while riding a bicycle, but police aren't yet sure how they were sustained.

Police responded just before 11 a.m. Wednesday to Harbor Island Drive where Gregory Vancleave, 57, was found in a ditch, partially submerged in water and suffering from a severe head injury.

Vancleave was last seen riding on the bike path from Spring Lake over the lift bridge. 

He remains in critical condition at Hackley Hospital Thursday afternoon.

According to a release from GHDPS, a witness said they were walking on the bike path when they encountered a bicyclist pushing his bicycle. The witness noticed that the man was bleeding from the head and asked if he was okay. The man said he was and continued walking.

Drunk driver sentenced, faces up to 15 years in fatal crash


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WZZM) -- On Monday morning, an Ottawa County judge sentenced the drunk driver involved in a deadly crash on I-196 over the summer.

Richard Rish now faces up to 15 years behind bars for causing the death of 64 year-old Bernard Langmeyer.  

Rish pleaded no contest to the charge against him last month. 

WZZM 13's Alex Shabad was in court on Monday morning, when the Langmeyer''s wife asked the judge for the maximum sentence. 

It was Saturday, May 23rd, a day after their niece's wedding.  That event was planned, but what happened on the way home wasn't. 

"Our car had a flat tire," Debbie Langmeyer told the judge. "I have very little memory of being struck from behind by the defendant."

Debbie Langmeyer wanted that defendant, Richard Rish, to see what she'll never forget. She brought pictures of her family and her husband, Bernard.

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.