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Wendy Reuer, Published January 13 2014

Moorhead's first female mayor sworn in

MOORHEAD – The standing-room-only crowd at City Council chambers here Monday night erupted into cheers when Moorhead’s first female mayor, Del Rae Williams, was sworn into office.

Williams declared that 2014 will be a great year for the city in her 2014 State of the City address.

Williams said she expects the new year will cultivate growth in business and residential areas, as well as an increased focus on culture and the arts.

She said she has heard that the Botanical Gardens Society is interested setting up shop in the city and Fargo’s Theatre B may be interested in relocating to Moorhead, among other arts-related projects for the city in 2014.

New council members were also sworn in Monday night: 1st Ward Councilwoman Mari Dailey, 2nd Ward Councilman Jim Haney, 4th Ward Councilman Chuck Hendrickson and re-elected 3rd Ward Councilwoman Brenda Elmer.

“I’m very excited about working with this city council,” Williams said. “This will be a year of collaboration and good communication.”

Williams said as 2014 progresses, she looks forward to working with the residents of Oakport who will become Moorhead residents after Oakport’s annexation on Jan. 1, 2015.

City Manager Michael Redlinger said communications with Oakport residents will begin in late spring and will be a priority as the annexation nears.

Redlinger said one form of communication to all residents, the city’s website, has recently been improved. The new user-friendly site is now operational and traffic to the site has been up 15 percent, he said.

Redlinger said more than 2,300 hours of staff time contributed to the more than 1,000 updates to pages within the city’s site.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530