St. Louis County Board approves agreement to make energy efficiency financing available

Business and property owners interested in making energy efficient improvements to their buildings now have a more affordable way to do so, following a vote by the St. Louis County Board. The County is now participating in the Property-Assessed Clean Energy program, a financing tool to help property owners with the initial costs of installing renewable energy technology.

PACE provides project financing to businesses, farms, multi-family housing and nonprofits in St. Louis County. The financing then can be repaid as a separate item on property tax assessments for a set period. In this way, PACE eliminates the burden of upfront costs by providing low-cost, long-term financing.

“St. Louis County continues to look for ways to assist our business community,” said County Board Chair Frank Jewell. “This program can help reduce operating expenses for them by helping them make energy-saving improvements to their buildings.”

Examples of potential building improvements that can be financed with PACE are solar arrays, HVAC upgrades, LED lighting, condensing boilers, digital controls, insulation, variable-frequency drive motors, building automation systems, and other water and energy conservation measures.

PACE financing is different than a traditional loan and helps building owners overcome several barriers to making energy-related building improvements. There are no upfront costs and there is less of a reliance on credit. Also, unlike a loan, when a transfer of ownership of the property takes place, the PACE assessment obligation stays with the property, not the property owner. In addition, PACE assessments can generally be repaid over longer terms than a bank might allow.

The St. Louis County Board unanimously approved a joint powers agreement with the Saint Paul Port Authority authorizing the new PACE program. The Saint Paul Port Authority provides the PACE funding and administers all aspects of the program. St. Louis County places the assessment on the property, collects payments each year, and passes money back to the Port Authority.

More information about the PACE program is available on the County’s website or at

LSC faculty members receive state teaching awards

By Janet Blixt

Twenty-seven outstanding Minnesota State faculty members, including Lake Superior College faculty members Kent Voelkner and Amy Jo Swing, were honored during the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Awards for Excellence in Teaching ceremony held in St. Paul in April.

Voelkner teaches chemistry at LSC and Swing is an English instructor. They were recognized for their instructional expertise, exemplary teaching strategies and service to their students, college and communities.

The Awards for Excellence in Teaching were established in 2007 by the Board of Trustees to spotlight outstanding dedication and accomplishment of Minnesota State faculty who prepare students for their professional, scholarly and civic lives.

UW-Superior’s Jim Dan Hill Library opens complete Fraser Shipyards collection for research

More than 9,000 technical drawings for over 200 different ships are now available for research in the Fraser Shipyards Collection in the Special Collections of the Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

A searchable online index for these drawings is available here. Processing and indexing of the Fraser Shipyards drawings was made possible by a National Maritime Heritage Grant from the National Park Service.

The Fraser Shipyards Collection, donated to UW-Superior in 2013, contains over 2,500 large format technical drawings, as well as over 6,700 technical drawings digitized from 35mm slides. The drawings were used at Fraser Shipyards in Superior between the 1950s and the 1980s, though some drawings date back to the 1890s. Projects at Fraser included repairs to propellers and hull plating, conversions to self-unloaders, lengthening of vessels and repowering from coal to oil or diesel. Many drawings also relate to the building and launch of vessels. These include lines, general arrangements, profiles, propulsion systems and details of piping and minor fittings.

Many of the drawings in the Fraser Shipyards Collection are not available elsewhere. The new online index will allow researchers to access information about drawings for many famous Great Lakes vessels, including the five ships of the Fraser Class, the 16 Maritimer vessels, the Edmund Fitzgerald and the William A. Irvin. The collection also includes drawings for lesser-known vessels, like the supply boat Ojibway, the tug Frances A. Small, the research vessel Silas Bent, and the tanker Cross Keys.

Fraser Shipyards has been active in Superior for over 125 years. Beginning as a shipbuilding company, they launched many of the famous whaleback steamers before the beginning of the 20th century. Fraser has contracted for repairs on hundreds of vessels, and has more recently branched out to projects including Lake Assault Boats, machining and welding work and vessel engine repair.

In addition to thousands of technical drawings, the Fraser Shipyards Collection contains project files, correspondence, photographs and heritage catalogs. This collection will be of interest to model builders, maritime history researchers, maritime archeologists and naval architects and engineers working on similar vessels. A guide to the complete collection can be found online here.

Researchers may access the collection in a number of ways. To schedule a visit to the Special Collections to view materials, please contact the archivist Shana Aue at (715) 394-8359 or email Within limitations, records and drawings can also be scanned and delivered electronically for a fee.

Caregiver conference today at WITC

WITC-Superior will host “Celebrate Caregiving: Laughter, Learning and Living,” an empowering and educational conference for both professional and family caregivers, today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will develop positive strategies for caregiving, establish a broader support network, as well as connect with speakers and other caregivers.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Moira Kneer, Community Outreach Coordinator for Sacred Heart Hospital Center for Spiritual Care and The Healing Place. Occupational Therapist Ann Forrest Clark will present safety concerns in the home, in the community and behind the wheel.

In addition to the variety of speakers and presentations, the caregiver conference will include resources to support caregivers in the area, light breakfast and lunch, and a door prize drawing.
Registration is $25 ($11.96 for those 62+). For more information and a complete agenda, go to or call 800.243.9482, extension 5045.

The Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC), Care Partners of Country Terrace Assisted Living and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) are co-sponsoring the 2017 Caregiver Conference.