By Steve Brandt, Star Tribune staff writer
Gov. Mark Dayton issued an executive order Wednesday requiring the Minnesota Department of Transportation to reinstate the use of umlauts on roadway signage when appropriate.
The governor issued the order days after a Star Tribune report about city officials in Lindström upset that the town's new signage did not include the two dots over the ‘o’ in the town’s name.
“Nonsensical rules like this are exactly why people get frustrated with government,” Dayton said. “Even if I have to drive to Lindström, and paint the umlauts on the city limit signs myself, I’ll do it.”
Umlauts had been used on city signs in Lindström for more than two decades, until the signs were replaced following the most recent U.S. Census. When the signs were replaced, MnDOT omitted the use of umlauts because of new federal guidance known as, “Standard Alphabets for Traffic Control Devices.”
Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL—Eagan, said she has been working with MnDOT on the issue with the city of Lindström.
“The Swedish heritage in the Lindström area and the rest of our state should be celebrated," Halverson said. "Lindström is a tourist hub in Minnesota, attracting many international visitors including the King and Queen of Sweden and even Ingrid Bergman during the 1940s."
Halverson grew up in Lindström and is a fifth generation descendant of Swedish settlers in the Chisago County area.
Dayton has instructed MnDOT to work with Lindstrom city officials to replace the city signs as soon as possible.