Absentee voting for Hennepin County elections this fall opened Friday for eligible residents who want to vote now rather than wait for Election Day.

Voters may either mail a ballot or cast a ballot in person from now through Nov. 6 at city halls, school district offices or the downtown Early Vote Center, 217 S. 3rd St., Minneapolis. Each location accepts only voters who live in that city.

Hennepin County voters may pick up an absentee ballot application or a voter registration form on the skyway level at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

To vote early by mail, voters must fill out a paper application to receive a ballot. Applications are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khmer and Amharic.

Voters do not need to be registered to vote absentee, but registration may make the process easier. Ballots will be mailed to voters within one to two days of receiving the application.

Completed ballots must be received on or before Election Day, Nov. 7. To get a list of local elections and find out where to vote, go to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.



Rookie police dog retired due to epilepsy

An Edina police dog that had just begun its service has been retired after being diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy.

Ike, a German shepherd, joined the department in January and was handled by Edina officer Mike Bengtson. He began his patrol in June.

“I am superbummed about Ike having to medically retire so soon after all of the hard work and dedication we have both put in,” Bengtson said.

Ike is under warranty from a police dog vendor, according to the city. The Edina Crime Prevention Fund, which sponsors the city’s K-9 program, is raising money to keep Ike with Bengtson, pay for his epilepsy medication and purchase a new police dog.

The Crime Prevention Fund’s plan to build a K-9 memorial won approval Tuesday from the City Council. It will be a full-size bronze sculpture of a police dog with granite markers bearing the names of former K-9s. The fund will pay for the memorial, expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

Three Edina police dogs have died since the K-9 program started, including one, Blade, that died of cancer in May. The council has not yet decided whether to bury cremains of former K-9s at the memorial.

Miguel Otárola


City listed as one of best places to live in U.S.

Money magazine has named Minnetonka one of the best places to live in the United States. Its annual rankings were released last week.

The suburb was listed as the 85th best place to live by the magazine, which identifies 100 cities that have strong economies, affordable housing and a high quality of life.

The magazine highlighted Minnetonka’s average commute time (20 minutes), median home price ($246,000), median household income ($82,750) and the number of clear days per year (196).

“This is a great recognition for our city,” Mayor Terry Schneider said.

Three other Minnesota cities — Eagan (No. 61), Woodbury (No. 67) and Burnsville (No. 84) — also made the list.

Miguel Otárola


Purple lights to illuminate domestic violence

The city of Maple Grove will display purple lights throughout October to raise community awareness about domestic violence and its victims.

The initiative developed after city officials were approached by members of Domestic Violence Action and Awareness, a social justice program at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.

The purple lights will be lit at the Town Green and on trees at the city’s public safety facility. Officials intend them to mean that the city listens to victims, offers support and resources for survivors and encourages dialogue about domestic violence. October is designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Kevin Duchschere

Brooklyn Park

City proposes licensing fee hikes

Business and liquor license fees could soon jump in Brooklyn Park if city leaders approve the proposed hikes next month.

The changes would affect alcohol, food, massage therapy, hotel and door-to-door solicitor fees, among others. A list of the potential increases is on the city’s website.

City Council members will consider the proposed changes at their Oct. 9 meeting, said Keith Jullie, Brooklyn Park’s rental and business licensing manager.

Hannah Covington