Digital marketing executive Ryan Kulka and City Council Member Tim Busse will face each other in the Bloomington mayoral race this fall, after finishing first and second in the city’s primary Tuesday.

Only 38 votes separated Kulka and Busse, with Kulka winning 38.5% of the vote and Busse winning 37.9%. The winner in November will succeed Mayor Gene Winstead, who isn’t seeking re-election after 20 years in office.

The other candidates were Dan Niziolek, deputy director of St. Paul’s Department of Safety and Inspections, who captured 18.6% of the vote; legal secretary Sharon Christensen, 4.2%; and businessman Rainer Einsmann, less than 1%.

Kulka owns Social Boom, a digital marketing company. Busse has served on the City Council since 2012.

Katy Read

Blaine

City gets top AAA bond rating from S&P

Blaine has received a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s, the highest awarded and a step up from the AA+ rating the city has held since 2010.

The high rating, which reflects the agency’s judgment that Blaine is well-managed and has a strong economy, enables the city to get the best interest rates when bonding for construction projects.

For instance, officials said that the city received an interest rate of 1.46% on the sale of $4.2 million in capital improvement bonds earlier this month.

“This is a major achievement, with the direction and policies set by the City Council,” said Acting City Manager Joe Huss, who also credited former City Manager Clark Arneson and city staffers.

Kevin Duchschere

Inver Grove Heights

Police dog Kato joins department

Inver Grove Heights’ first K-9 was introduced this month at a City Council meeting.

Police Chief Melissa Chiodo said that Kato and his handler, Officer Ryan Rose, were the most impressive pair at their graduation from a 15-week training program in late May. Kato “is a shining star for our department,” she said.

Kato, who has been deployed about a dozen times this summer, will go back to school this fall for narcotics training, she said. The Belgian Malinois and German shepherd mix lives with Rose.

Former Interim Chief Sean Folmar said in 2017 that adding a police dog would cost the department about $20,000, including three months of training with St. Paul police and squad car modifications.

Erin Adler

Cottage Grove

Community center plan to go to voters

Cottage Grove residents will vote next year on a proposal to build a $19 million community center, following the City Council’s decision last week to put the question to voters.

The community center would be located on a 14-acre site at the Shoppes at Cottage View development, off Hwy. 61 and Innovation Road. It would include an inflatable sports dome, indoor playground, climbing wall, community rooms and space for early childhood education.

If voters approve the project in November 2020, work could begin in spring 2021. The project would increase taxes by $47 for a resident owning a home valued at $300,000.

The center is “one we’ve been waiting for and dreamed of for many years,” said Mayor Myron Bailey.

Mara Klecker