Collaborative efforts bring improved internet to Wakefield Township

By IAN MINIELLY iminielly@yourdailyglobe.com

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP — Wakefield Township has signed a contract with Merit and Gogebic Range.net for expanded internet coverage that will result in faster speeds for residents. John Cox, supervisor, said it is something the township has been working on for an extended period of time because increased internet speeds are important for so many things, such as the ability to work from home. Cox said Northern States Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy, is requesting through the Michigan Public Service Commission to raise rates so Xcel can improve equipment. The pre-hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 at 9 a.m. in Lansing. Administrative Law Judge Martin Snider will set future hearing dates and decide procedural matters. Mandy Lake, township clerk, represents the township on the Gogebic Range Solid Waste Authority Board. According to Cox, Lake voted against the GRSWA financing two new garbage trucks, but the vote passed and the trucks are being ordered. The township, according to Cox, considers it risky to buy two trucks at the same time because of financing required. Cox said Northern Natural is clearing land to add some additional pumps to their operation near M-28 and Jackson Creek and that is exciting news for the township. Cox said in his capacity as zoning and blight administrator, he is urging the council to begin looking at shipping containers in the future. At this time the township does not authorize shipping containers for use within the township, but expects to do so in the future on a case by case basis. Especially in hunting camps, shipping containers might be approved for storage. Cox said the township wants to keep looking forward and stay prepared in the event more residents seek exemptions to install the containers on their properties. In his supervisor’s report, Cox said the insurance company is in the process of conducting a survey to see how much of the township meets international standards for building codes. Cox said he thinks the insurance company is probably just trying to get a handle on the township and any risks in the event of major natural disasters or catastrophes. The board of review is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. to determine tax errors and omissions and poverty exemptions. The next regular township board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 3.