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Lowering value, property taxes is goal of West Central Turkeys petition

$50,000 in annual tax revenue losses a concern for Pelican Rapids City Council

By Louis Hoglund

Jennie-O Turkeys is seeking a reduction in the taxable property value at its Pelican Rapids West Central Turkeys plant, which could slash its taxes–and also reduce revenue to the city of Pelican Rapids by nearly $50,000 a year.
The company filed a petition with the St. Paul-based tax court, which would reduce its current per square foot value of about $25 down to $15.
The current total value of the industrial complex is at  about $8.9 million, according to Otter Tail County assessor Doug Walvatne.  Under the preliminary agreement, which is awaiting final action in tax court, the value of the Jennie-O industrial property in Pelican Rapids would be reduced to about $5.5 million.
“We’re seeing a lot more filings on larger industrial operations, along with big box retailers like Target, Lowes and Menards,” said Walvatne. Petitions have been filed at both Otter Tail County retail locations of Shopko–Fergus Falls and Perham.  read entire story. . . .

Islamic center planned at  former Pelican bowling lanes

One of the largest Islamic community center and mosque complexes in the state of Minnesota may replace the old bowling lanes in Pelican Rapids.
The Islamic Society of Fargo-Moorhead has purchased the former bowling center on the north end of Pelican Rapids.
Details are still unfolding, but the city’s planning and zoning commission learned about the plans at the April 21 meeting at Pelican city hall.
Attending the session was Nidal Omar, a leader of the Islamic Society.  The group requested a special use permit for an Islamic worship and event center at the site–which is zoned commercial.
The former bowling facility is in the process of being renovated and remodeled.  read entire story. . . .

Interest rates under 2 percent benefit Pelican school taxpayers

Board OK’s bond issues to refinance debt; bring in new maintenance money

By Louis Hoglund

Taxpayers will save up to $190,000 as a result of the refinancing of about $1.7 million in Pelican Rapids school debt.  
Highly competitive interest rates produced the savings.  The winning bid on the general obligation bonds was only 1.72 percent.  
As recently as 2014, the rate for building bonds for institutions like schools was 3.4 percent, said Kelly Smith, the Pelican school’s financial advisor for the transaction.  
The debt dates to 2009, for improvements and updates primarily at Pelican’s Viking Elementary School–including heating, ventilation and air-handling.
Superintendent Deb Wanek explained that the decision to refinance the debt does not bring more dollars to the school district.  It is actually property tax relief, because it lowers the bond payback over the life of the bonds–which will mature in 2029.  While the savings for each individual taxpayer will be a relatively small sum  when amortized–it is still a $190,000 total savings over the life of the bonds.  read entire story. . . .

Housing needs in spotlight in Pelican

Office hours for those in search of housing set for May 2 at city hall

Housing has become a forefront issue in Pelican Rapids, including the formation of a task force to addresshousing needs.
Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership Inc. will be offering assistance to individuals and families beginning Monday May 2 from 12:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Mahube-Otwa will offer these services to the community every other Monday–with the next date being Monday, May 30.
Services will be provided at Pelican Rapids City Hall, 315 North Broadway.
Please contact Marie Fouquette, Family Development Housing Case Worker at (218)739-3011 or mfouquette@mahube.org to schedule an appointment.
 read entire story. . . .

Musical salute to veterans

In song and spirit, band entertains Pelican Rapids audiences–and those who served

By Louis Hoglund

It was a reunion of old soldiers, sailors and airmen–families, shirt tail relatives and old friends–when the Red River Valley Veterans Band came to town April 21.
“Of all the communities we perform, Pelican Rapids has the most living World War II and Korean veterans,” said Dale Rollie, one of the musicians, singers and spokespersons for the near 50-piece band. At least a dozen Veterans, including familiar local World War II veterans Cecil Femling, Ken Larson and Elroy Backstrom, stood to be recognized and were applauded vigorously.
The Veterans band’s annual tour to Pelican Rapids included a concert at the Pelican Valley “Riverfront on Main” assisted living center, followed by a performance at a nearly-packed VFW Club.
Pelican area connections to the band were numerous.  Dale Rollie, who often proudly announces that he is a native of the lost village of Lawndale, west of Pelican, had numerous family and relatives in the audience.  read entire story. . . .


The Red River Valley Veterans Band tour lead to Pelican Rapids April 21–with concerts at Riverfront on Main and at the VFW 5252 Club.
Veterans stood to be recognized during the concerts, and were enthusiastically applauded
Patriotic music is included in every performance, but the band's music is not limited to marches and anthems. Audiences hear Broadway show tunes, TV theme songs, big band swing, Dixieland, rock and roll, and even Latin music.

Lakeshore, ag land value overview offered at Scambler tax meeting

Lakeshore and residential property value trends were outlined April 4 at Scamlber Town Hall.
The meeting offered a snapshot of property values for lakeshore, as well as residential and agriculture. The numbers were outlined by Dave Rundle at the annual Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting.
Following are some of the property value trends, from the minutes of the April 4 Scambler meeting
• Pelican Lake property value trends were largely unchanged from 2015–at an average of about $5,000 per running foot of lakeshore. The western third of Pelican Lake is located in Scambler, and the rest of the lake surrounded by Dunn Township.  read entire story. . . .

RV park permit granted

After two years of on-again, off-again deliberation at the Scambler Township Hall meeting chambers, a permit for a 150 unit RV Park was approved April 14.
By a 4-1 vote, the Scambler Township Board granted a Conditional Use Permit that would transform the Rolling Hills Golf Course into an RV park.  
Numerous conditions were placed on the park, which the Scambler board believes will ensure orderly and environmentally acceptable development.
But the safeguards and conditions may not be enough to prevent a legal challenge from the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association, which delivered a document the day of the Scambler meeting. Prepared by attorney Tami Norgard, who has represented the property owners group in the past, the document concluded that the town board’s action is “subject to legal challenge.”
The property owners and attorney Norgard also called for a thorough  updating of the environmental review–including the prospect of an extensive, and costly, Environmental Impact Statement. As developer, golf course owner Cyril Flem would be expected to pay the expense, noted the PLPOA.  read entire story. . . .

Possibilities for Earth Day

From the neighborhood recycling bins; to windmills on the landscape; to sun-soaking solar panels--‘green’ movement has grown steadily in Pelican area since April 22, 1971

Forty-six years ago, on April 22, millions of Americans of all ages and from all walks of life participated in Earth Day celebrations from coast to coast. They made it clear they were deeply concerned about the deterioration of our environment and the dissipation of our natural resources.
That day permanently changed politics in America; thrusting the issue of environmental quality and resource conservation into the national dialogue.
Much has changed for the better since that first Earth Day. Many Americans use cloth rather than disposable plastic bags for shopping, using fewer fossil fuels.  Many recycle, even in small towns where it takes more effort.  
In large cities, alternatives to the automobile – walking, biking, public transportation are becoming more popular. Even power companies are beginning to shift from dirty coal to green wind and solar.  read entire story. . . .

Pelican ‘boarders’ may gain new freedoms from skateboard persecution

Skateboard restrictions will be under review in Pelican Rapids.
“I have a personal interest in the issue,” said Pelican City Councilman Steve Strand, somewhat sheepishly. “...because I have two sons who are breaking the law.”
“Skateboarding is prohibited” was the headline in a notice in the April edition of the Pelican Rapids city newsletter.
Quoting the ordinance: “No person shall ride or propel a skateboard upon any public street, public street right of way, public sidewalk, public parking lot, private parking lot, public alley, or in any public or private parking structure.”
Not a lot of gray area in that language, which appears to shut down any rolling through the town of Pelican–except at the antiquated, underutilized skate park on the west end of town, near the soccer and old football field.  read entire story. . . .