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HomeBusinessCook County Home Center Lighting Update Earns Rebate from PUC

Cook County Home Center Lighting Update Earns Rebate from PUC

In March of this year, Cook County Home Center acquired the lumberyard at the west end of Grand Marais known as Sawtooth Lumber. Under the Home Center banner, it is now called the Westside store. The second location serves the building supply needs of commercial customers.

Dan Fernlund, Director of Operations, took on the task of upgrading the infrastructure and processes at the newly acquired facility. “The warehouse, which we’ve reconfigured to provide better customer service, was lit by old and inefficient fluorescent fixtures,” he said.

Dan retained Josh Furr of Yeti Electric in Grand Marais to replace those old fixtures with high-efficiency LED fixtures and bulbs. That earned the Home Center a rebate of $1,167 from their electricity provider, Grand Marais Public Utilities.

Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), the non-profit power supplier to Grand Marais PUC, assists with energy-saving rebate programs for everything from lighting conversions to purchasing energy-saving appliances. Details are at https://smmpa.com/members/grand-marais.

At the presentation of the rebate check, Home Center co-owner Jeff Buetow said, “This was great because the light is so much brighter, and we save money in the process.”

The utility estimates that the annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the more efficient lighting the Home Center now has is equivalent to planting four acres of forest. On hand to present the check to Cook County Home Center owners Jeff Buetow and Nate Sheils were Alyssa Morinville and Charles Hathaway of the PUC; Shane Steele, Grand Marais Sustainability Coordinator, and Nancy Kelly, Energy Services Rep from SMMPA.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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