Bloomington leaders are figuring out how to implement ranked-choice voting after voters opted in November to use the system in future elections.

Ranked-choice voting, an election method in which voters rank candidates for office in order of preference, is gaining traction throughout the metro area — Minnetonka also approved it in November, and St. Louis Park implemented it in 2018. Minneapolis and St. Paul have used the system for years.

Approval is just the first step. Bloomington needs to pass an ordinance that lays out the process for ranked-choice voting, such as deciding the number of candidates each voter may rank for each office and how to handle write-ins, recounts, ballot layout and the tabulation process.

A public hearing on the draft ordinance is scheduled for March 22. This year's Election Day, Nov. 2, will be the first time Bloomington puts the new method to use.

Kim Hyatt


No joke: Snowplows named for Ole, Lena

A snowplow naming contest inspired by one in Scotland drew hundreds of suggestions for Scandia's three snowplows, with voters from Sweden to Wyoming choosing from a finalist list of 35 names. The winners: Ole, Sven and Lena.

The names of fictional characters who star in legions of jokes are a fitting tribute to a city that prides itself on its Swedish heritage, said Mayor Christine Maefsky. "I was happy to see that the names were related to Scandia. They were not generic," she said after winners were announced last week. The winning entry was submitted by Scandia resident Jeff Blomseth.

Among the names plowed aside: No More Mr. Ice Guy, Dala Dozer, Snow Me the Way, Snowzilla, Bette Davis Ice and Harry Plowtter.

Matt McKinney

Anoka County

Adopt-a-drain challenge kicks off

Residents and businesses in Andover, Blaine, Columbia Heights and Fridley are competing to see which city adopts the most storm drains and helps keep them clean.

The friendly competition put on in concert with the Coon Creek Watershed District and the Anoka Conservation District runs through Oct. 31.

In March, participants can also name a drain, and a prize will be awarded to the winning entry. Other contests will be held each month to encourage people to participate in the challenge aimed at improving water quality by reducing pollution. Details are available at

Tim Harlow


Dog licenses no longer required

The Ramsey City Council has repealed an ordinance requiring dog owners to register their pets with the city. The license change will go into effect March 28, said City Administrator Kurt Ulrich.

Dog licensing in Ramsey dates to 1967, although the ordinance has been modified several times. The City Council on Feb. 23 eliminated the requirement for the license, which was $20 per dog, or $10 if an animal was spayed or neutered. Licenses were good for as long as a rabies vaccination — up to three years, Ulrich said.

Dogs must still have an ID tag affixed to the collar or a microchip. Dogs considered dangerous must be registered with the city.

Tim Harlow