Wakefield Township increases internet technology options

By P.J. GLISSON news@yourdailyglobe.com

WAKEFIELD — Members of the Wakefield Township Board of Trustees welcomed a new member and moved forward with continuing improvements in technology at their Tuesday evening meeting. It was the first meeting with Trustee Michael Heikkila, who was voted in by other board members at their Jan. 19 meeting. Heikkila is replacing former Trustee Gerald “Jerry” Niemi, who died on Dec. 19 of last year after having health issues. One of the board’s objectives on Tuesday was to vote for new iPads for Heikkila and Trustee Robert Drier, who was elected to the board last November. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in virtual meetings for board members, they agreed that having updated equipment and internet access was important. Supervisor Mandy Lake said the existing equipment used by the men is about a decade old. The board also voted to arrange for internet service at each of the men’s homes. In addition, the supervisor said that she has requested an expansion of services from the township’s internet provider, and progress toward that goal is underway. In other news, Lake quoted from an Enbridge Inc. report that its pending Line 5 tunnel, which is expected to cost $500 million, has received needed permits from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. She said Enbridge is assuring that the tunnel will be well below the line of the Straits of Mackinac, thereby “eliminating” any possibility of contaminating water from lakes Huron and Michigan. She asked board members if they would like Enbridge to provide a presentation, as the company has offered, but Drier suggested waiting until township meetings are no longer virtual.

The board also: —Voted to approve the appointment of Dave Wanink to the Planning Commission. “Now, we have Planning Commission members that represent all areas of the township,” said Lake, who reminded that Wanink also is a member of the Board of Review. —Voted to collect summer property taxes for the Wa k e f i e l d – M a r e n i s c o School District at the rate of $3.80 per parcel, which Treasurer Denice Laessig said is the same as last year. She expects the number of parcels also to remain about 850 — similar to the previous year. —Voted to pay the township’s $1,285 share of costs for services provided by the Gogebic County Council of Veterans Affairs. Led by John Frello, the council provides assistance to local veterans and their families in relation to paperwork, transportation, etc. “They’re great,” said Lake. —Learned from the supervisor that the township will have about $30,000 to spend on roads this year, per the Gogebic County Road Commission. —Tabled the appointment of a new Board of Review member after the supervisor said no interested party has yet been confirmed. The board will meet next for a special joint meeting with the Wakefield City Council on Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. Due to pandemic restrictions, persons wishing to attend the virtual meeting should first call the municipal building at 906-224-8551 for access information. The board’s next regular meeting will be on March 2 at 5:30 p.m. On that date, members first will have a budget hearing, followed by a regular meeting.