12/10/2020   Letter: Legislature should uphold local control in zoning decisions, The Detroit News

"Among the bills we should abandon this session is Senate Bill 431, a particularly outrageous attack on local communities’ ability to make local zoning decisions, and a threat to Michigan residents’ quality of life and to our environment. 

SB 431 was written by the sand and gravel mining industry to eliminate local units of government and residents from having any say on where and how industrial-scale sand and gravel mines can operate in our communities. This includes which roads heavy gravel trains travel and the hours the mines could operate; in fact, it would allow operations — blasting, digging and hauling — as early as 6 a.m., six days a week.

Under SB 431, a mining company could not be denied a permit if the company can demonstrate two things: that the mine will make money, and that the company would take any step at all to merely “reduce” risks to public safety created by their operation. That’s pretty vague."


Read the rest of the letter at the Detroit News link above.



Neil Sheridan, executive director, Michigan Townships Association

Steve Currie, executive director, Michigan Association of Counties

Dan Gilmartin, executive director, Michigan Municipal League

“Broadband in this century must be treated as electricity was in the 20th century.” - Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.)


4/28/2021   Why Almost No One Is Getting the Fastest Form of 5G, by Jon Brodkin, ars technica

Verizon “leads” all US carriers in mmWave 5G availability at 0.8%

Phones capable of using mmWave 5G access it less than 1% of the time.

Average download speeds on mmWave 5G:

  • 232.7Mbps for AT&T
  • 215.3Mbps for T-Mobile
  • 692.9Mbps for Verizon. 


4/28/2021   Quantifying the mmWave 5G experience in the US, by Francesco Rizzato, OpenSignal

The three U.S. carriers use different names for the 5G services that utilize mmWave technology: AT&T’s mmWave 5G is named 5G Plus (5G+), Verizon launched 5G Ultra Wideband (5G UWB) using mmWave, while T-Mobile uses Ultra Capacity 5G as the name for the combined service using both its mid-band and mmWave networks, but in this analysis we have focused solely on the mmWave 5G component of T-Mobile’s Ultra Capacity 5G. 


3/31/2021   mmWave 5G is almost thirty times faster than public Wifi, but with similar reach, by Ian Fogg, OpenSignal


4/5/2019   Who was first to launch 5G? Depends who you ask, by Kenneth Li, Ju-min Park

Early Wednesday in South Korea, Reuters published a story quoting South Korean officials declaring victory over the United States and China as the site of the world’s first commercial launch of a fifth generation telecoms network.


Verizon, for its part, countered that it had come first. Hours after the Reuters report, it said it had already launched its 5G network and that it would be available on a new Motorola phone - though only in Chicago and Minneapolis.


The intensity with which company representatives disputed each other’s claims underscores the high stakes in the battle for supremacy over an industry that is expected to spend $275 billion over seven years in the United States alone, according to Accenture estimates.


The winner is seen playing a central role in helping to generate some $12.3 trillion in annual revenue across a broad range of industries by 2035, according to IHS Markit.


Some experts point out that the jockeying will mean little to consumers. “The reason you’re getting that reaction is this is a battle of marketing vaporware rather than real network evolution,” said Craig Moffett, telecoms and communications analyst at MoffettNathanson.


FCC announces billions of dollars in awards to provide rural areas with broadband access

Charter Communications, LTD Broadband and the Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium will each receive a little over $1 billion.  This would be a lot if it weren't spread out over ten years.


SpaceX received the promise of $886 Million to help in its quest to launch and build an earth orbiting "constellation" of 12,000 satellites.   So far it has launched and placed 1,000 satellites. Its pilot program to serve hundreds of thousands of customers in 35 states and Canada is titled "Better than Nothing."


Municipal Broadband Is Roadblocked Or Outlawed In 22 States 



Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 484.2252

Michigan state law allows public entities to provide broadband services, but only if the public entity has first sought bids in the form of a request for proposal (RFP) on the project from private companies, and has only received less than three “qualified” bids.The public entity must also adhere to the same terms and conditions that private companies would need to meet as specified in the request for proposals. But doing so effectively eliminates some of the benefits that building a public network can offer residents.

Still, at least one community is working on a municipal broadband network. Traverse City’s City Light and Power board approved last summer financing for the first phase of a municipal fiber buildout. The board approved $3.5 million to serve the community’s first 2,200 customers. The total project is expected to cost $16 million.


Guns or Butter: Why Northfield Can't Have Broadband

It's everyone's introduction to public economics.  Your government has a limited amount of money.  Do you buy food or do you buy guns?

Do you finance a huge expansion to your sewer system so that illegally connected sump pumps can continue to illegally pump out Hamburg Lake area basements during once in a lifetime rainstorms?

- or do you find a way to bring broadband internet to your citizens?

Guns.  Or.  Butter.

Faster Sewage or Faster Internet?

Rivers of Shit or Rivers of Data?


Perseids 136w166hGates close at 9pm for the August 11th Perseid meteor shower viewing at Washtenaw County's Independence Lake County Park in Whitmore Lake.   You may bring blankets, lawn chairs, snacks and non alcoholic drinks to the 9pm - 1am viewing, which will include a lecture by Ron Gamble, Naturalist. 

County residents pay a $6 entry fee, seniors $3 at 3200 Jennings Road, the entrance to Independence Lake County Park.   $10 is the fee for non-residents.

The 2016 Washtenaw Country Park Event Calendar

MLive's August 10th story, Independence Lake Park hosting Perseid meteor viewing and lecture, by Ben Solis

Everything you need to know about viewing the Perseids.

In a December 15, 2015 MLive Report, Ben Freed revisits the embezzlement that roused the sleeping citizenry of Augusta Township.  It was a neat crime, if your idea of neat is taking advantage of careless bookkeeping and careless officials.  Township records are in such disarray that no one knows how much money was embezzled.  State Police investigators threw up their hands and made a case against one man, the 21 year old grandson of the Augusta Township Treasurer.  He was charged with embezzling $10,000.   Of the money, whether millions or hundreds of thousands, all but$1,200,000?  $2,000,000?  $800,000?  $70,000? is gone.


has bounced from $2,000,000 to millions to hundreds of thousands, from $1.2A Township Board member who raised the alarm, Detroit Police Investigator Ira Todd, began investigating after his audit committee found $2,000,000 in Township funds unaccounted for.    Accountants told Todd that as much as $1.2 million remains missing.  A confidential State Police investigator's report uncovered by Fox-2, Detroit, hints at multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars missing.  $70,000 of the $80,000 that Police can prove was stolen has vanished.  The 21 year old Deputy Treasurer appointed to the job at 19 by his Grandmother, the elected Treasurer, has been left holding the bag.  and has now been charged with embezzling that last $10,000..


A joint investigation by the Michigan Attorney General's office and the Michigan State Police found there was approximately $80,000 that went missing from the Township's books. Deputy treasurer Brendan Humeniak, 21, faces two charges of embezzlement as a public official in relation to about $10,000, but where the remaining $70,000 went remains a mystery.


"Due to a complete and total lack of accountability, performance of duties, and inter office cooperation, along with incompetence, I am afraid to say these funds cannot be accounted for in my investigation," Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Melissa Gee-Cram wrote in an email to the board July 28.  The email was uncovered by Fox-2 -News, Detroit.


"As you are all aware, the ledgers were not balanced, and the method in which the theft was occurring, created a perfect storm that made it extremely difficult for the accountants who have combed through the records to pin point the exact missing funds."

The problem is much larger than $80,000. 

Fox-2's Taryn Asher reported: "Out of the hundreds of thousands of dollars missing, investigators only found $80,000 was ever deposited and could only trace $10,000 back to the former Deputy Treasurer Brendan Humenik who is expected to be charged with embezzlement by a public official."





PhonesOutOfOrderCharter 2015 12 14 crop 420wOverwrite

This note arrived in Monday, December 14th's email.  A similar message arrived last week.  Our Township Manager has converted the Township phone service from AT&T copper wire based land lines to Charter's Voice over Internet (VOIP).  He mentions this in his December 8 Manager's Report. Sounds very proactive and twenty-first century, doesn't it?

The problem is that Charter is not 100% reliable.  Anyone who has Charter internet has learned this. 

Charter subscribers learn to live with interruptions because we have no choice.  When it's running, which is most of the time, the Charter downlink clocks along at about 100 megabits per second.  When it's not running, it goes to zero.  Because Charter is intermittent, I lease a Verizon WIFI hotspot as a backup internet connection.

This is the long way around to telling my favorite Charter Cable horror story.  At least once a week Charter salespeople used to call me at home on my old fashioned but incredibly reliable AT&T land line.  They tried to convince me that I could save big money by converting my land line phone to Charter's internet phone service.  Although the irony seemed lost on the salespeople, several times their calls arrived in the middle of a Charter internet outage.


We received the above note because we're on the Township's mailing list.  They distribute the mailing list using MailChimp, an outside service.  MailChimp is the big brother of TinyLetter, the free service which Northfield Neighbors uses to email our mailing list.  TinyLetter is free for up to 5,000 subscribers.