Richfield residents will vote Tuesday to fill a City Council seat opened by Pat Elliott’s election as mayor earlier this year.

Four candidates are vying for the seat: Gordon Hanson, who works in marketing; Brandt Krueger, a technology consultant; marketing consultant Zack A. Olson, and business attorney Simon Trautmann.

The winner will serve from May 30 through the end of 2020.

Hanson, Olson and Trautmann answered questions earlier this month in a public forum organized by the Richfield League of Women Voters. They discussed issues such as affordable housing, organized trash hauling and the border with Edina.

A recording of the forum is available online at

The council has had a vacancy since January, when former Mayor Debbie Goettel left to join the Hennepin County Board. Elliott was elected mayor in March.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Miguel Otárola


City hikes affordable housing targets

The St. Louis Park City Council last week voted to increase the percentage of affordable housing units required for all new market-rate complexes that get public funding.

New housing complexes now will have to offer 18 percent of their units to renters making up to 60 percent of the area median income. The percentage of units at that level had been 10 percent.

Developers also have the option of targeting 10 percent of their units to renters making 50 percent of the median income. Complexes with units for sale would need to sell 15 percent (rather than 10 percent) of those units to buyers making 80 percent of the median income.

The council approved the updated percentages on a 6-1 vote, with Council Member Susan Sanger casting the lone dissenting vote.

The amended housing policy prohibits landlords from discriminating against anyone who pays rent with federal, state or local public assistance. Minneapolis approved a similar measure for Section 8 voucher holders earlier this year.

St. Louis Park aims to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city and “promote economic and social integration,” according to city documents, but without deterring developers from building in the city.



City to vote on Target liquor license Monday

The Minnetonka City Council is slated to vote Monday on Target’s latest request to add a liquor store at its Hwy. 7 SuperTarget store.

The retailer is asking the city to reconsider its denial of an earlier request to add a 2,000-square-foot liquor store to the store, the first SuperTarget to be remodeled by the company in 2015. Target has dedicated $7 billion to revamping stores nationwide, a company executive told city leaders recently.

The City Council denied Target and Total Wine’s initial requests for liquor licenses due to concerns the suburb had too many liquor stores. It was the first time Target had been denied a license since adding liquor to its Minnesota stores.

Earlier this month, the council approved a second request by Total Wine, which is buying and closing a couple of liquor stores.

According to company officials, Target sells liquor at nearly 1,400 of 1,850 stores in 38 states, including seven stores in Minnesota. A company survey showed that 66 percent of its customers buy liquor on a regular basis.

Target has another Minnetonka store, at Ridgedale.



City declares Nelson W. Berg Day on June 30

The Hopkins City Council has declared June 30 as Nelson W. Berg Day in honor of the former mayor and longtime community activist.

Berg, a longtime Hopkins attorney, was the city’s mayor from 1989 to 1993. Mayor Molly Cummings said Berg had stuck firm to the motto of “Service above self” for more than 40 years.

In addition to being mayor, Berg was a member of task groups for both the city and the Hopkins school district.

He was a founder and chairman of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Miguel Otárola


St. Therese school opens outdoor center

St. Therese Catholic School of Deephaven on Sunday, May 21, will mark the grand opening of its new Outdoor Learning Center, encouraging preschool and kindergarten students to learn and play outside.

According to school officials, studies show that learning outside can help kids develop socially and physically. The grand opening will run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as part of the annual parish picnic. St. Therese is at 18325 Minnetonka Blvd.