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City continues infrastructure improvements By JON HAWLEY

WAKEFIELD — Slowly but surely, millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements are coming to the city of Wakefield. Foremost among these improvements is the city’s $5 million sewer project, which includes installing new sanitary sewer lines for Castile, Plymouth, and Wico locations and is being managed by the Marquette office of the engineering firm AECOM. The project is funded through a roughly $2.7 million loan and a $2.3 million grant from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development. It will also refinance $4.3 million in previous sewer work. In his Feb. 14 report to the Wakefield city council, Wakefield City Manager John Siira reported that the city is seeking bids in the project until Feb. 25.

Following a bid tabulation and recommendation from AECOM’s manager for the project, Mike Pond, Siira told the council he hopes the project construction contract could be awarded next month, with construction to possibly begin in May. Advancing the project this far has been a bumpy and lengthy road for Siira and the city council. In July, the project faced a shake-up when the project’s then manager, Jeff Bal, left AECOM for another company. This introduced the council to Pond, who pledged that month a smooth transition between managers and that he would push the project’s review from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Environment as well as from Rural Development. In an August city council meeting, Pond told the council

he was working on securing easements from local property owners for the project, and was trying to get the project ready for bidding in September. The day of that meeting, Siira estimated Pond getting up to speed had cost the city a month. Wakefield Mayor Joe DelFavero praised him overall for his work, despite this delay. The project’s delay in bidding and financing also showed that time is money, quite literally. The project’s loan components, prior to Oct. 1, would have had a 2.375 percent interest rate — the previous work being refinanced has a 4.5 percent rate — but the monthslong state review pushed the project past that date. Though its final interest rate won’t be much higher than 2.375 percent, thanks in part to the slow recovery of the national economy, this small difference will

reduce the city’s savings on interest by hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the 40-year loan. Aside from bureaucratic delays, AECOM also faced months of work on securing easements. In his Feb. 14 report, Siira requested the city council amend the AECOM agreement to compensate the

company for $30,000 in unexpected costs, including soil borings and right-of-way work. Siira said this project is the latest of five the city has undertaken since the MDNRE imposed an administrative consent order on the city in 1989, which called for major sewer (See CITY — Page 5)

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PROGRESS 2011  3


Pharmacy offers personal service By RALPH ANSAMI

WAKEFIELD — On Monday morning, the women at the Wakefield Pharmacy arrived at work to find a gigantic Valentine’s card awaiting them. That’s indicative of the rapport the employees of the pharmacy have with their customers. Sisters Kathy Rocco and Cindy Rand have operated the


pharmacy on the city’s main street for the past five years. Their father, Robert Smith, purchased the store in 1978 and he still stops by and lends a hand. It’s a small store, but a busy one. Mornings are especially active, according to the pharmacist sisters. The two said what distinguishes the Wakefield Pharmacy, affiliated with Health Mart, from the pharmacies in the chain stores is the service the customers receive. “We know just about everybody by name,” Rocco said. That personal touch keeps customers coming back. It’s apparent that the team at the pharmacy has a good time during the work day and Rocco said the people they meet are what makes the job so enjoyable. In addition to the Wakefield area, customers come from as far away as White Pine, since the pharmacy there was closed. Many of the customers are from the Bessemer area. The pharmacy serves area nursing homes and deals with hospitals from Duluth to Marquette in filling out patients’ medication orders. Rand said the store does quite a bit of business in selling a wide assortment of gifts and cards that are located in the

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

Staff members at the Wakefield Pharmacy include, front row, from left, Sue Landis, Cindy Rand and Kathy Rocco; back row — Suzie Geyer, Bonnie Hanson, Paula Petranek and Cindy Moreno. Linda Green, Dave Geyer and Robert Smith also work at the pharmacy. front part of the store. Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fri-

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Joe DelFavero

Rod Ritter

Richard Bolen

Charles Picoldi

John Ozzello


Mayor Pro-Tempore

Council Member

Council Member

Council Member

John C. Siira

Sheryl J. Ravelli

Jennifer J. Jacobson

City Manager

City Treasurer

City Clerk

PROGRESS 2011  5


Sunday Lake winter fishing derby this weekend CITY

(Continued from Page 2)

WAKEFIELD — They’ll gather for fun and a little bit of fishing at the annual winter fishing derby on Sunday Lake in Wakefield on Saturday. The event will serve as a fundraiser for the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department to


Natural Resources and Environment notes that although everyone can fish without a license, residents or non-residents, during the weekend of Feb. 19-20 all other fishing regulations will apply. That means size limits and bag limits will

purchase equipment. This year’s contest will coincide with Michigan’s free fishing weekend. The Wakefield VFW building will be the headquarters for the Sunday Lake tourney. The Michigan Department of


be enforced. Michigan has celebrated Winter Free Fishing Weekend annually since 2000 to promote awareness of the state’s aquatic resources. The state also sponsors a free fishing weekend in the summer.



A progressive community TOWNSHIP BOARD

Pictured from left to right: Joan Dalman, Treasurer; Delmar Smith, Trustee; John Cox, Supervisor; Particia Pikka, Clerk; James Spencer, Trustee

continuing to provide a leadership role in community and economic development in Gogebic County. Wakefield Township is proud of its long standing tradition of providing excellent services for its residents and businesses.

To inquire about situating your business or your family in our township, contact John Cox at (906)224-3721 or Email:

Michigan Townships Association member

system improvements and elimination of combined sewer overflow.



Another infrastructure project is also advancing for the city: A Michigan Economic Development Corporation Infrastructure Capacity Enhancement grant project, awarded in August, for a new booster station and water tank for Wico and Plymouth locations. The grant is worth up to $745,000, and includes an $85,000 local match, which the city has already paid to Ironwood-based Coleman Engineering, which designed and is supervising the project. The booster station was constructed by Bessemer Township-based Snow Country Contracting, while the tank will be built by Louisville, Ky.-based Caldwell Tank. According to Siira’s Feb. 14 council report, the booster station, which costs roughly $159,000, was successfully tested on Feb. 3. It is necessary to fill the water tank, which will cost roughly $516,000 and will hold 100,000 gallons of water. The remaining MEDC funds are being used in the event of cost overruns — the ICE project initially included $75,000 for replacing fire hydrants, but the council chose not to award that project, after finding the booster station was more expensive than anticipated. The project will improve water service and potentially lower costs for residents of Wico and Plymouth locations.



Wakefield is also benefitting from above-ground projects. Work continues on city improvements to Wakefield’s Eddy Park and Sunday Lake Trail. This work is paid for through a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant of $147,700, with a $63,300 local match. Last year a new playground and glider swing were completed. The project also calls for $85,000 for improving and extending the Sunday Lake walking trail, $41,700 for site amenities such as picnic tables and grills, and $15,000 for lighting. Siira said the deadline for completing this work is June 30, but the city may need an extension.




Ma’s Place serves good food, smiles By ANNETTE MANWELL

WAKEFIELD — Jami Tauer said her most important service is to make sure no one leaves Ma’s Place hungry. She also wants to make sure they had a good meal and leave with a smile. “We don’t believe in letting anyone leave hungry,” she said. “I always tell my customers, ‘nobody ever left their mom’s house hungry.’” Tauer, who is co-owner with Keith DeWinter of Ma’s Place on U.S. 2 in Wakefield, took over the restaurant from her father, Jim Tauer, two years ago when her mother, Donna Tauer, died. “It was her pride and joy,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone else to come in and change it.” It was a natural transition for Jami to take it over; she had more than 20 years experience in the restaurant business between her years as a waitress and in management. While living in Green Bay, Wis., Jami, who grew up in Bessemer and graduated from A.D. Johnston High School, would come home on busy weekends and in the summer to help her mother at the restaurant. Donna Tauer had only been in the restaurant business for 10 years, Jami said, “She just wanted to cook, she loved to cook.” Donna worked with Jim in the construction business prior to opening the first Ma’s Place in Marenisco. Donna closed the Marenisco restaurant. With Jami and Keith at the helm, only minor cosmetic changes have been made to the restaurant, including new paint in the bathrooms. The “too” on the business’ sign was also covered up. “Still that old-time cafe style look,” Jami said. “Business is up,” she said. “Things are going great. My local customers are wonderful.” Jami likes to give everyone country club service, “regardless of who they are,” she said. She likes to “make you feel like the most important person. Jami sticks with the “kill ‘em with kindness” motto. “That’s what my mother always said.” Ma’s Place serves breakfast from 6 to 11 a.m. The lunch and dinner menus are available until 7 p.m. In the summer the hours are extended. Jami is also determined to let

customers pay by credit card. Jami and Keith have eight staff — four cooks and four servers. The most popular menu items are the apple fritter French toast, Ma’s omelet for breakfast and the Donna burger, topped with the special homemade thousand island dressing, Ma’s Philly and the chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato salad are popular lunch and dinner items. Ma’s also offers a kid’s menu, which includes miniature corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches or Mickey Mouse pancakes with one egg.



Jami and Keith plan to open a bait shop in a shed outside the restaurant before fishing season opens in the spring, Jami said. “Keith will be in charge of that,” Jami said. “He’s a huge outdoorsman.” The couple recognized the need for a bait shop in Wakefield. They will be the only one. She often directs customers to certain area lakes, depending on what kind of fish they’re hoping to catch, adding that

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Erica Tauer wipes a table after the noon rush at Ma’s Place Wednesday. Ma’s Place is located on U.S. 2 in Wakefield. Sunday Lake is a great spot for children and families to fish. A fishing dock is near the restaurant.

The small shop will carry minnows, worms and leeches, Jami said, as well as fishing basics including line, sinkers

and hooks. The shed will have tanks for the minnows and will be decorated and recognizable, Jami said.

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PROGRESS 2011  7


W-M School sees continued improvement ■ Matrix for Student Success program key to school’s mission By CATHERINE R. SHAMION Special to the Globe

The 2010-11 school year has brought continued improvement to the Wakefield-Marenisco School District. In their second year as administrators at W-M, I, as superintendent, and principal Matt Spets are starting to see results from the added programs, improved practice and intense focus by staff on student achievement. Our students are beginning to show a new attitude in their efforts to improve academic achievement. This is the direct result of our Matrix for Student Success and the dedication and hard work of the W-M staff. Included in the Matrix for Student Success is the after school tutoring program, the academic guidance program and the re-take option provided by teachers in the junior and senior high classes. These programs provide opportunities for students to improve their study habits, get direct assistance from teachers, and organize their schedules to maximize achievement.

Te a c h i n g staff have focused their professional development on differentiated instruction, increasing the use of technology in the classCatherine rooms, and Shamion using data to Superintendent guide curriculum decisions. The arts are a big part of WM curriculum, with a very active and successful music department that added an extended day choir class for junior and senior high students. In an effort to provide increased opportunities for our elementary students, elementary art was put into the schedule, as well as Spanish and keyboarding. Our elementary students are getting the chance to experiment with new subject areas to help them discover their interests. High school students have two foreign languages available to them, with both Spanish and French offered. Curriculum expansion has been an important theme in the district, adding seven courses for grades 7 through 12 this school year and considering the

addition of three more courses for next year. The W-M school facility has undergone changes this year, also. New bleachers grace the Cardinal gymnasium and the district underwent an energy audit that resulted in several energy-saving products, including improvements in the heating system, windows, light sensors, vending machine monitors and new energy-efficient lighting. The energy program will save the district more than $18,000 per year in energy costs. The goals of the district are to maintain a laser-like focus on the academic advancement of its students, to be a vital and active part of the communities it serves, and to continue to improve on every aspect of student achievement. We are very proud of the work being done by both our teaching and support staffs. Under the direction of our board of dducation, with hard work of our staff and with the support of our communities, Wakefield-Marenisco is moving forward. Editor’s note: Catherine R. Shamion is superintendent of the Wakefield-Marenisco School District; Matthew Spets is principal of W-M K-12 School.


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Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Wakefield-Marenisco first graders Enola Miskovich, 7, above, and Nyah Hewitt, 6, paint paper plates as part of a project in the school’s art room.




Daily Globe File Photo

Nanette Paquette holds her baby alpaca Liberty last June in the barn at her home in Wakefield. The alpaca to the right, Katie, is mother of the baby. Paquette is raising the animals for the fleece, which is spun into yarn for knitting. She has six animals and expects three new babies — called cria — this summer.

Submitted drawing

The great hall entryway and its interior are shown here in this artist’s rendering of the proposed new Wakefield Memorial Building, presented in 2008.

Foundation continues work on Wakefield Memorial Building project By JON HAWLEY

WAKEFIELD — With an empty lot awaiting a new community center for the city of Wakefield, the Wakefield Memorial Building Foundation continues work on reports analyzing the costs, and savings, of a new memorial building. Wakefield’s old, unused memorial building was about 86 years old when it was torn down last summer. Its demolition makes way for a multi-million dollar gift from former Wakefield resident and memorial building foundation president Marvin Suomi. Suomi purchased the memorial building property in July 2004, initially intending to renovate the building at his expense before turning it back over to the city. He discovered, however, that the building was beyond repair and sought its demolition, touching off a several-year battle with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, which required Suomi and the city to prove the historic building was not salvageable. In 2008, he unveiled plans for a new building, created by Illinois-based Myefski Architects. The building, more than 50,000 square feet, would feature an auditorium, incubator

space for businesses and possibly a swimming pool, and would also house city offices and the library. In an interview last year, Suomi said his goal is to provide a building “as utilitarian as possible,” and is open to adding or removing features if needed. He also said the city will not have to pay for the building’s construction. While Suomi, and Wakefield City Manager John Siira have said the new building will be much more energy-efficient than the current city hall, and therefore cheaper to operate, the city would still have to be prepared for transitional costs once it moves into the new building. These costs include marketing and maintaining the current city hall under SHPO

restrictions for one year, after which they could sell the building without regard to its historical status. Wakefield Mayor Joe DelFavero, who last year raised these and other concerns over the project, said the memorial building foundation is having reports prepared to quantify the city’s energy savings. He said he last met with Suomi in September, and said some delays in the project have been due to Suomi dealing with his daughter’s serious medical problems. “He’s put family at the forefront, which I don’t blame him for ... I would do the same,” DelFavero said. DelFavero also said that it was possible construction on the building could begin in the fall.





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Fun with alpacas ■ Animals raised for wool to spin into yarn By DIANE MONTZ

WAKEFIELD — Last winter, Nanette Paquette knitted a sweater and hat from yarn spun from the wool of her own alpaca. Paquette bought three alpacas in the fall of 2009. She learned how to knit as a child and had an open field for grazing livestock, so she decided to raise alpacas for wool. One of her alpacas gave birth to a female — the young is called a cria — last summer. A second cria was too big for its first-time mother to deliver and the baby did not survive.

Since then, Paquette has purchased a black alpaca from Washington state. It is one of three in her herd that have been bred. By late summer, if all goes well, her herd will increase from six to nine. “It’s just so much fun,” Paquette said Tuesday. In spring, she hauls the alpaca to a farm in Norway, Mich. A crew shears them, clips their nails, trims their teeth and gives them shots. The best wool, soft and thick, comes from the blanket around the animal’s back. Her long-term plan, after she retires from her job with the Wakefield-Marenisco School District, is to open a knitting shop in downtown Wakefield next to the Uptown Food & Deli.

PROGRESS 2011  9


Extreme Tool reports increased sales By MARGARET LEVRA

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP — Extreme Tool & Engineering of Wakefield Township continues its move forward. Sales in 2010 totaled $13,300,000. That’s a 25 percent increase over 2009, according to Extreme Tool President Mike Zacharias. With 65 full-time employees, Extreme Tool experienced “the highest employment level ever,” Zacharias said. The company paid out $3.4 million in wages and benefits in 2010. Zacharias noted 20 people work in the company’s plant 2 molding facility on Chippewa Drive, near the main plant. Extreme Tool invested over $1,000,000 in new equipment in 2010, with dedicated fiber optics cable linking plants installed last year. “Molding has grown considerably on strength of our medical clients, including Hologic, Stryker, Pall, and Nypro,”

Celebrating 12 years

Jon Hawley/DailyGlobe

Peter Koruga owns and operates Great Lakes Furniture on U.S. 2 in Wakefield.

Great Lakes Furniture has strong first year Submitted photo

Neil Balduc, left, and Andy Laurin, toolmakers at Extreme Tool & Engineering of Wakefield Township, display plastic injection molds, tools built for Procter and Gamble. Zacharias said. Extreme Tool now has seven injection molding machines, with two additional electric machines added in 2010. “We have six molding personnel trained and certified as RJG Master Molder one or higher,” Zacharias said. Decorating and secondary operations capability was added in Extreme’s molding facility, with ultra modern inspection methods used, including Cat Scan, he said. Medical and packaging remain the largest growth industries at Extreme Tool, Zacharias said, and Cosmos

Tooling Solutions Limited in China, a partner with Extreme Tool, continues to grow, prosper, and add capabilities. Zacharias said Extreme Tool continues its global marketing efforts, including the most recent — EuroMold Show Trade Show in Germany.

WHAT’S AHEAD? Zacharias said Extreme Tool anticipates completing facility additions to both plants this year, and will likely add five to 10 employees. He said the company expects a 20 percent sales growth this year.

DELICH SALES U.S. 2, Wakefield, MI

BOB & LISA DELICH and staff would like to say THANK YOU to everyone for their patronage. We are looking forward to serving the Wakefield and Gogebic Range area now and in the future.

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WAKEFIELD — Competition is good, according to the area’s newest furniture store owner. “If you only have one of something, it doesn’t do that well. People need to compare,” Peter Koruga III said Monday. Competition keeps people shopping locally, according to Koruga, who opened Great Lakes Furniture in Wakefield last April. “I had a nice welcome, a nice response,” Koruga said of the store opening. Koruga is the third generation of Peter Koruga and Son, which built his building. He’s a Wakefield native with a business degree from Northern Michigan University in Marquette. He originally sold furniture from the construction headquarters, and wanted to expand to a more visible site. In his first year in busi-

ness at this location, he said he has sold a lot of mattresses and recliners, not brand specific. He’s also selling a lot of overstuffed pieces upholstered in durable microfiber. “My real plug, my sales pitch, is I’m selling for less,” Koruga said. “I’d rather make the money on multiple sales than on one item.” Koruga is prepared to add on to his building, if sales dictate a need for more space. He hasn’t yet added staff at the furniture store — he’s salesman and manager and he plows the parking lot — but he has added inventory. “I’m working at getting more of everything on the floor,” Koruga said, “so I have a bunch of different couches and kitchen tables and everything.” —Great Lakes Furniture, on U.S. 2 at the intersection of Cemetery Road in Wakefield; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. MondayFriday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; 906-229-5113.

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David Sim/Daily Globe

Butcher Gordy (Red) Oman ties a slab of meat Monday morning at the Sunday Lake Supermarket in Wakefield. The store offers many types of hand-cut meats, bringing people in from all over the area.



SALES & SERVICE Sunday Lake Supermarket serves Ron, Jerry and Karl

customers across the Range ■ Meat department draws many to grocery store By DAVID SIM

WAKEFIELD — Since its opening in the late 1950s, Sunday Lake Supermarket has built a well-deserved reputation for a friendly atmosphere, with quality products. Jason Pallin has been the owner of Sunday Lake Supermarket for nine years and he’s built it up into a popular grocery experience for people from all over the area. “We’re drawing in from Marenisco area, Wakefield and the Bergland areas and outlying communities,” said Pallin. “We get people from the Ironwood area. They don’t usually come for their main-line shopping, but they do come for our meat department.” The store has become known for its meat department. “We have a real good crew and a variety of stuff,” said

Pallin. The store features many meat-related items, like homemade sausages, bratwurst and porchetta sausage. “We go through about 200 pounds a week of potato sausage,” Pallin said. A couple of months ago, the supermarket began a product called the Al Capone roast that has become wildly popular. It uses a mix of olives, cheese, Italian sausage, beef, pork, mushrooms, garlic powder, pepper and a mix of other spices. “The Al Capone roasts have been selling like crazy. We can’t

keep them in,” Pallin said. At the end of 2009, the supermarket went through a renovation, when new front windows were put in, a sliding door was installed, a product scanning system was implemented and an upgrading of cases and compressors took place. Because of all of the work in 2009, improvements aren’t as frequent now, but Pallin said they are looking at putting on a new roof, expanding a loading dock and putting in a walk-in cooler over the next couple years.

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WAKEFIELD — Nestled in the heart of downtown Wakefield, Uptown Food and Deli provides great foods to area residents and visitors six days a week. The deli is owned and operated by Terry and Suzette Fetters. Suzette is generally at the deli from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. “Everything is homemade,” Suzette said. Suzette said when she’s outside the deli, people know what the soup of the day is “because I always smell like soup.” The deli specializes in homemade soups, salads and sub sandwiches, chili and features a full menu of flour wraps. There are three different types of flour wraps — white, whole wheat and garden vegetable. The deli makes 12 different kinds of wraps, but the most popular is the chickenCaesar wrap, Suzette said. It also serves a variety of desserts — cookies, cakes, brownies, and both rice and bread puddings. Assisting Suzette are her mom, Carolyn Paquette, who makes all the homemade soups and desserts; Suzette’s mother-inlaw, Marsha Vestich, who Suzette terms “an all-around helper” and Suzette’s friend, Debbie Ringsmuth, who does all of the major baking and has been with the business since it opened in November 1999. The deli offers daily specials. Soup and sandwiches are featured on Mondays. Tacos are served on Taco Tuesdays; Wednesday is Pizza day; Thursday is homemade chili day; and Friday is wrap day. Suzette said the deli is going into its

Margaret Levra/Daily Globe

Waiting to serve at Uptown Food and Deli in downtown Wakefield are, from left, Carolyn Paquette, Marsha Vestich, owner Suzette Fetters and Debbie Ringsmuth. The deli is open six days a week and specializes in soup of the day, sub sandwiches, salads and flour wraps. The deli also features a wide variety of desserts. 12th year of business. Business is great during the summer and fall months, but the winter months are a little slower, she said.

“We rely on our local customers,” Suzette said with a smile. “We will always cater to our local customers. We will feed them first.”


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Indianhead Mountain awaits big weekend By RALPH ANSAMI

WAKEFIELD — Presidents’ Weekend at Indianhead Mountain near Wakefield will be special this year. Indianhead Mountain Resort is teaming up with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to help fund patient care programs and pediatric research. With 140 inches of snow for the winter and a 30- to 60-inch base on Monday, Indianhead employees were bracing for a busy week ahead. “We have a ton of snow and it’s been freezing at night, so that helps out,” Indianhead vice-president of sales and marketing Dave Nyquist said on Monday. Indianhead is offering a special “Buy Two Days, Get the Third Day Free” lift ticket during Presidents Weekend from Feb. 18-21. Guests will save more than $40 off the normal three-day lift ticket. In addition, a portion from each of the tickets sold will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Nyquist said. He said Indianhead will donate a minimum of $500 to the hospital. Nyquist said he has a friend

whose child visits the hospital and he contacted the Children’s Hospital and the special ski promotion was set up. “I have small kids, too,” Nyquist said. He noted thousands of children ski and snowboard at Indianhead each season. “This is our way of saying thanks,” he said. Presidents weekend is traditionally the second busiest time of the year at Indianhead, behind the Christmas holiday season. This winter, rain hampered part of the Christmas holiday period, but there has been substantial snow since. While Nyquist said there has been a good turn-out of skiers at Indianhead, people seem to be taking shorter ski trips because of the economy. “They’re still going to come, though,” he said. The recent heavy snowfall throughout the Midwest means the Ironwood area isn’t the only place with substantial snow this winter, Nyquist added. He figures the snow base at Indianhead should hold up well through the Presidents weekend period. “That’s why we make so much snow early in the season,” he said. Lift tickets for the special promotion are available online

Globe file photo

Snowboarders and skiers enjoy the slopes and view at Indianhead Mountain Resort. at Indianhead is in its 51st season as a ski resort. The mountain offers 29 downhill slopes, 638 vertical feet and an average of 17 feet of snow per year. Both the Timber Wolf and Big Chief terrain parks are open. The village and resort facilities are on top of the mountain, overlooking the Ottawa National Forest. Indianhead boasts

award-winning dining, lodging, live entertainment and fullservice conference and banquet facilities. The resort was discovered by Illinois businessman Jack English. Together with four other investors, he aimed to start a Midwest ski resort as an alternative to people who must fly

out West to ski. The farm and mountain on Indianhead Road in Wakefield were purchased from Mary Nelson in 1959. Two T-bars, a rope tow and day lodge were constructed later that year. Indianhead Mountain opened for business on Nov. 20, 1959.

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PROGRESS 2011  13


Township sees many signs of progress By JOHN COX Wakefield Township Supervisor

There are many small businesses in Wakefield Township. The township remains committed to spending our resources to promote and assist businesses.




opened its doors in 2009. It invested approximately $480,000 in land clearing, buildings, scales and other equipment. It temporarily closed the building for the winter season. However, it remains available to pick-up large stuff like junk cars. Last year it increased purchase of 1,000

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tons of scrap steel to 8,733 tons of scrap steel. It increased its non-ferrous items like copper and aluminum from two semiloads to five. Future plans are to expand its sorting yard with more concrete pads, for easier cleaning and sorting of materials. It is looking into plastic recycling, to be used as bio-fuel for power plants. Other plans are to purchase a bailer for cardboard recycling. In addition to being a great business for Wakefield Township, it participates with our spring cleanup.

EXTREME TOOL Extreme Tool continues to be a very successful and progressive employer and business in our township. During 2010, it has seen sales of $10,300,000, a 25 percent increase versus 2009. It now has 65 full time employees, its highest employment level ever. Thirty of the employees have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Twenty of these employees are now working in the new molding facility on Chippewa Drive. The payroll and benefits paid to these workers was $3.4 million for the year. Investments in new equipment totaled over $1 million last year, and it now has seven injection molding machines of which two are new additional electrics. To keep the plants linked, a new dedicated fiber optics cable was dug and installed in 2010. Decorating and secondary operations capabilities were added in the molding facility this year as well. It used the most modern inspection methods including CAT scan. Joining the Michigan Coast to Coast Tooling Coalition this year helped keep the company abreast of new methods and industry stan-

dards. The medical and packaging industries remain the largest growth areas, and its medical clients i n c l u d e H o l o g i c, John Stryker, Pall Cox and Nypro. Its China partner, Cosmos, continues to grow, prosper and add capabilities. More global marketing efforts continue, including the most recent EuroMold Show Trade Show in Germany. With a 20 percent sales growth forecast for 2011, it expects to complete facility additions to both plants and will likely add five to 10 employees.

project as well. If the mine is expanded, which is a distinct possibility within four to five years after startup, the payroll could increase by as much as 40 percent. Wakefield Township and the Gogebic County Road Commission know that the current County Road 519 leading to the mine must be improved and rebuilt so it can handle the expected traffic to the mine, the industrial park, the logging contractors and the tourists who visit the Porcupine Mountains Park. We have been actively applying for grants for the $4 million project. The Copperwood Mine project is a “must do” for all of us in this area. The jobs that it plans to create and the support service jobs that will result, are too much for anyone in our region to ignore.



In September and October 2008, Orvana’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Orvana Resources U.S. Corporation, entered into mineral leases covering 1,759 acres in Ironwood Township, and in September 2010 entered into a mineral lease covering 566 acres east of and adjacent to Copperwood in Wakefield Township. The following are projections that the mine has made. It is important that we treat this information as estimates, not cast-in-stone results. The mine permit application will be submitted to the state by June 1 and a pre-feasibility study will be completed soon thereafter. It is the latter that will pinpoint the expected number of jobs in the construction and operation of the mine. There will be a number of contractors for the construction phase, many from out of town, but local ones as well. This could easily be over 200 people. It is projected that the mine would be in production at the end of 2013 or in the beginning 2014. About 125 people could be on the payroll with a number of contractors working on the

Indianhead continues to monitor current and developing trends to attract visitors to our area. Approximately 98 percent of Indianhead’s sales and marketing budget is allocated outside of our area to markets such as the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison and Chicago. Customers spend money at area lodging and dining establishments, as well gas stations and gift shops. Their dollars come from outside our area to benefit our residents, schools and municipalities. Indianhead employs hundreds of people who spend their paychecks locally for goods and services. Wakefield Township is fortunate to have Indianhead as a major business that consistently is one of our top-10 taxpayers.

LAKE BROTHERS EXCAVATING Lake Brothers Excavating is owned and operated by Chris and Nick Lake and their business is located in Wakefield Township. In 2010, LBX com(See TOWNSHIP — Page 14)

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Niemela honored for tree farm By JON HAWLEY

WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP — John Niemela was named Upper Peninsula Tree Farmer of the Year in 2010. Niemela owns a vast section of forest in Wakefield Township. The award was given by the American Tree Farm System to Niemela and his wife, Kristine. According to Rexx Janowiak, John group manNiemela ager with the Green Timber Tree Farm Group, the farm system includes 26 million acres owned by 60,000 landowners across the nation. Niemela said he has owned the property for more than 25 years, and, with the help of family and friends, invested in the land and maintained it for wildlife, business and recreation. “It’s like having a big vegetable garden,” Niemela said. “It’s been 25 years of hard work... I never did it for the recognition.” Niemela’s property was eligible for the award because he has maintained it as a certified family forest, which requires he adhere to a strict management plan and meet high environmental standards.


TOWNSHIP (Continued from Page 13) pleted many small and large jobs in the area which included bulldozing, excavating, grading, road building, septic systems, landscaping, foundations, and snow plowing. LBX has mainly been busy this last fall and winter building more roads and clearing drill sites for Orvana for the proposed Copperwood Mine. Lake Brothers Excavating provides also provides gravel and sand.

LAKE’S FLOWER CABIN Lake’s Flower Cabin is owned by Mandy Lake and is located at 162 N. County Road 519. Spring 2010 was the first season for the Flower Cabin and it ended up being very successful. LFC started out with just 480 square feet of greenhouse space and has expanded this summer to over 2,300 square feet. With the addition of two more greenhouses, LFC will have a larger selection of vegetable and flower plants, along with many more hanging baskets. New items this year include trees, shrubs, and a larger perennial selection.

SPRING CLEANUP AND BLIGHT A community that has blighted and/or unkempt properties does not lend itself well to attracting new residents or businesses. For the past four years, Wakefield Township has held a spring cleanup which gave our residents a chance to dispose of junk and garbage on their properties. This has been a huge success, in large part on the willingness of our citizens to participate. The township plans to fund this in years to come. In addition, our zoning administrator has committed herself to fair and even-handed enforcement of our blight ordinances. Uncooperative viola-

tors find themselves in the District Court. Our Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department has used dilapidated buildings as practice burns, which saves the property owner money as well as the township in condemnation proceedings. All of our efforts are finally showing improvements across the township.

GOGEBIC RANGE WATER AUTHORITY The Gogebic Range Water Authority will be constructing improvements to the water system serving the customers of the Indianhead Mountain Ski Resort. GRWA is planning to bid this project in February of 2011 with construction to begin in the summer of 2011. Improvements will include rebuilding the water pumping and distribution station located on Indianhead Road, updating all of the pumping, storage, electrical components and adding computerized monitoring and security fencing. GRWA will also be replacing several of the failed water distribution mains during this phase of construction. This project will satisfy a Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment directive to reduce the water lost due to leaking mains and increase the reliability of the water system. These improvements will be funded by a USDA Rural Development loan of $522,000 and a grant of $545,000. During the 2009 construction season, the GRWA rehabilitated the water booster station located on Blackjack Road by replacing all of the pumps and motors, pump bases, upgrading the electrical and replacing the roof and adding floor drains.

The cost of this improvement was $66,301. This project was funded with a USDA Rural Development loan which is being re-paid with the current water system revenue. In addition to the work on this project, Orvana Resources is working with the GRWA on a project that will not only provide water for the proposed mine, but potable water for nearby communities. They have contributed significantly to this effort. We are fortunate to have a good partner, the GRWA, which is committed to providing a safe, reliable water supply for public health, fire protection and support for the economy

PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS STATE PARK Many who live in our area have not visited Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. At 60,000 acres, it is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Wakefield Township is home to a large part of the park with its towering virgin timber,

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The township board works as a team to encourage and support business development. With the absence of an economic development director in the county, the township has formed an unpaid economic development committee with representatives from the business community, board, and planning commission. The volunteers who serve are Mike Zacharius, Barry Bolich, Pat Pikka, Paula Koruga and myself. Our task is to develop better marketing strategies and define goals and objectives that will attract businesses and residents to Wakefield Township. Lastly, we welcome new residents. We offer residents no nonsense, low-cost services and minimal taxes and fees.

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