Area Briefs

TAX RELIEF FOR FAMILIES WITH STUDENTS IN K-12

MOORHEAD – If you have students in grades K-12, you may be eligible for a tax relief program through the Minnesota Department of Revenue. 

 Two programs, the K-12 Education Subtraction and the K-12 Education Credit, help lower taxes and may provide a larger refund when you file Form M1, Individual Income Tax.

To qualify for either program, you must:

Have a qualifying child attending K-12 at Moorhead Area Public Schools.

Have paid “qualified education expenses” during the year for that child’s education.

Note: You may not use the same qualified education expenses to claim both the subtraction and the credit.

 For more information on this program visit www.moorheadschools.org news section.

MOORHEAD AREA PUBLIC SCHOOLS ANNOUNCES RETURN TO LEARN PLAN

MOORHEAD – The Moorhead School Board approved the 2021-22 Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan for Moorhead Area Public Schools at a special board meeting on Wednesday, August 4. The plan has been developed by Moorhead Area Public Schools administration based on input from staff and families, guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Health and local COVID data. 

All Moorhead Area Public Schools students in grades E-12 will return to in-person learning five days a week with a normal school day and class schedule. A limited online learning experience will be offered based on projected demand and instructional budget parameters. 

In accordance with state guidance, masks will be recommended, but not required while indoors at schools. Face coverings will be required on student transportation in accordance with federal mass transit mandates. The district will be conducting contact tracing and quarantines when necessary to continue to keep learning spaces safe. Vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine in most instances.   

The safe learning plan also addresses areas like social distancing, facility cleaning, personal hygiene and ventilation to ensure a safe educational environment.

“We are excited to welcome our students back to the classrooms and are committed to the health and safety of our Spud staff and students. We remain grateful for the support and partnership of our staff, families and community as we make these complex plans to provide safe educational environments where our students can thrive,” said Superintendent Dr. Brandon Lunak.

Regular student meals will continue to be provided during the 2021-22 school year at no charge with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

MOORHEAD PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH USES MANUFACTURER’S COUPONS TO STRETCH GRANT FOR HELPING HOMELESS

MOORHEAD – A $3,231 grant from Essentia Health will help Moorhead Presbyterian Church provide health and hygiene products to guests of Churches United. It will be used to purchase items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, diapers, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, personal hygiene products, disposable razors and cough and cold remedies.  

Caring for Neighbors in Need (CNN), a community mission program of the church, strategically uses manufacturer’s coupons to increase the amount of health and hygiene products delivered to Churches United.  Using coupons increases the spending power of the grant by 28 percent, or about $900.

Karen Pifher, West Community Health Manager for Essentia Health, said the program was awarded the grant dollars because it aligns with the goal of improving community health outcomes. She added that the grant committee looks for programs that support people experiencing disparities in the community.

“We’re thrilled that Essential Health has joined us in our efforts to help neighbors in need,” said Robert Drake, pastor of Moorhead Presbyterian Church.  “Our church is a founding member of Churches United, and this program is an extension of our concern for those experiencing homelessness.”

Caring for Neighbors in Need developed this program over the last two years. Volunteers seek grants and individual donations, purchase and clip coupons, plan shopping trips, purchase products and deliver them directly to Churches United.

To date, the program has turned manufacturer’s coupons into over $1,000 of product, in addition to the $2,700 in product obtained from prior grants.

AWESOME PINK ENVELOPES: Paying it forward in Cass and Clay counties

On Saturday, August 14th, the Cass-Clay Chapter of the Awesome Foundation will celebrate its five-year anniversary of giving by distributing pink envelopes with undisclosed amounts of cash around Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo, and various other communities in Cass and Clay counties.

“We are so excited to be able to celebrate our anniversary in such a fun way,” says Brandi Malarkey, dean of the local Awesome Foundation chapter. 

For five years, the chapter has given away a $1,000 each month for awesome ideas of all sorts. On the 14th, pink envelopes will be distributed by chapter trustees and helpers between 6am and 2pm for random members of the community to find. The finders are free to use the cash as they wish, but a note will encourage the finder to use the cash to add a spark of awesome to their community, like getting a coffee for a stranger, buying flowers for someone, or making a donation to their favorite local charity. The note will also suggest activities that do not require money to pay it forward.  

Finders can let Awesome Cass Clay know what they did with the money by e-mailing cassclay@awesomefoundation.org or post it on Facebook @AwesomeFoundationCassClay.

The group also invites people to apply for their monthly $1,000 gift.  Recipients do not need to be associated with a non-profit. Applications can be made at awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/cassclay.

XCEL ENERGY HOLIDAY LIGHTS PARADE ANNOUNCES 2021 DATE

FARGO – Though the weather may still be hot, the Downtown Community Partnership (DCP) is already planning for its signature winter event. The Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade is back on after taking a year off due to the pandemic, now with a new date. Traditionally, the parade was held on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving. This year, the parade will take place on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. With the change in date, the DCP is hoping more of the Fargo-Moorhead community can take part in the event and experience Downtown before and after the parade, as well.

The route begins in Moorhead, before crossing the river into Downtown Fargo. Businesses, nonprofits and civic groups are invited to participate in the annual parade. Entries are encouraged to be decorated with lights to stand out in the winter night.

The parade is a free community event thanks to Xcel Energy who has been sponsoring the event for 15 years.

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