Area Briefs

MOORHEAD AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS ENGAGES COMMUNITY IN FACILITY PLANNING

MOORHEAD – Moorhead Area Public Schools is working with True North Consultants to engage the community and district stakeholders in answering guiding questions in the development of a Facilities Master Plan for the next ten years.

The work includes a facility condition report, building adequacy study, community survey, demographic study and workshop meetings with a facility planning task force. The facility planning task force will begin meeting in September and consists of 30 members, including:

MAPS Staff, Administration and Board Members

MAPS Staff Parents, Community Members, Senior Citizens, Business and Civic Leaders 

The charge of the group is to provide input into the development of a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan, which will address immediate and long-term facilities needs. The plan will be based on enrollment capacity, facility update and maintenance and educational adequacy.

“Our three oldest elementary schools are more than 65 years old,” said Steve Moore, Executive Director of Operations and Emergency Management. “Even though we’ve carefully maintained and updated our facilities amidst continually increasing enrollment and education industry advancements, an updated long term facilities plan is needed for continued facility success in the future.”

As part of the data gathering, a phone survey of community members began on September 6, 2023. When district residents are called, the caller ID will say Morris Leatherman Company and have either a (651) or (507) area code. District residents are encouraged to take the call and share their thoughts and ideas.

“Our ten year facility master plan has expired. We greatly appreciate the community members who are willing to participate in the phone survey and the task force. Community input is valuable and vital to the interactive process of building a new master facilities plan to ensure building capacity for current and projected student enrollment,” said Dr. Brandon Lunak, Superintendent.

Additional information and task force meeting notes can be found on the district website.

CITY OF MOORHEAD’S BOND RATING UPGRADED BY MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE

MOORHEAD – Moody’s Investors Service – one of the leading global integrated risk assessment and bond rating firms – has upgraded the City of Moorhead’s bond issuer rating to Aa2 from Aa3. Moody’s also upgraded the rating on Moorhead’s (MPS) public utility revenue bonds to Aa2 from Aa3.

Many government entities and other large organizations issue bonds to finance all or part of projects such as infrastructure and construction. The upgrading in the City of Moorhead’s bond rating means savings to taxpayers and a safer investment for bond buyers interested in Moorhead.

The City of Moorhead will use $16 million in new bonds to finance 2023 infrastructure improvement projects. The estimated interest cost savings on the new bonds attributed to the rating upgrade is more than $180,000 on this bond issuance alone.

Moody’s stated that the City’s rating was upgraded to Aa2 because of “a very strong financial position, a growing local economy that serves as a regional economic hub and moderate long-term liabilities and fixed costs.” The combined utility revenue debt was upgraded to Aa2 because the system has a strengthened liquidity position, low debt ratio and solid debt service coverage, which is supported by strong local rate-setting authority.

“I am proud of our City team and what this bond rating upgrade means for taxpayers and ratepayers. Moorhead elected officials and staff work hard to ensure entrusted public funds are managed well,” said City Manager Dan Mahli. “At a time when even the US federal government’s bond rating is downgraded, it is wonderful to see strong financial management recognized in the City of Moorhead.”

The Moorhead City Council will authorize the sale of bonds at its meeting of September 11, 2023.

FARM IN THE DELL OF THE RED RIVER VALLEY INVITES THE COMMUNITY TO EXPLORE THEIR PUMPKIN PATCH

MOORHEAD – The whole community is invited to come and enjoy the Farm in the Dell pumpkin patch – with over a dozen different varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, there tons of options to explore as you choose the perfect fall produce to take home and enjoy!

Both “U-Pick” pumpkins and pre-picked pumpkins are available – and all opportunities are first come, first serve. The Farm in the Dell pumpkin patch is family-friendly, and all ages are welcome – bring the whole family and celebrate the changing season at the farm.

For more information, visit us online at farminthedellrrv.org

Farm in the Dell Pumpkin Patch open September 25 – 29 and October 2 – 6 | 9am – 12pm located at 7426 40th Street N, Moorhead, MN.

Individual pumpkins range between $1 – $20. Cash, check, and card accepted.

In addition to the U-Pick Pumpkin Patch, there will be pre-picked pumpkins outside of the greenhouse for sale. 

MOORHEAD POLICE EXPLORER POST ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

MOORHEAD – The Moorhead Police Explorer Post is accepting applications for membership. Exploring is a program for students ages sixteen through twenty one that have an interest in the law enforcement field. This group meets on Tuesday nights throughout the school year and focuses on teaching youth different aspects of the law enforcement profession. In addition, explorers help with community events, earn scholarship money for college and can participate in ride-alongs throughout the year.

Applications are available online at www.moorheadpal.org. For additional information, contact lead advisor Sydne Mark at sydne.mark@moorheadmn,.gov.

MOORHEAD MAN IN CUSTODY AFTER SUSPECTED ARSON AND STANDOFF

Sean Holtz, age 41, of Moorhead, is being held on several charges.

MOORHEAD – On Saturday, September 9, the Moorhead Fire Department and the Moorhead Police Department responded to an active fire in the 800 block of 7 Avenue South. Upon arrival, officers noted a male run back into the home where the fire was happening. A short time later, the male emerged onto the home’s roof. While the fire department was actively fighting the fire, the male refused to come down and threatened to jump if anyone approached.

The fire department extinguished the fire and began the investigation regarding the cause. The police department continued communicating with the male on the roof and investigating the situation. During the investigation, it was determined the male had been involved in a disturbance with a female who lived in the home.

With the assistance of the Red River Valley SWAT Negotiators, officers were able to take the male into custody after several hours. Holtz is currently being held at the Clay County Corrections Facility on a long-form complaint requesting charges for Felony 1st Degree Arson, False Imprisonment, 3rd Degree Assault, and 5th Degree Domestic Assault.

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