ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota’s Great Umlaut Crisis is over – and without Gov. Mark Dayton having to use his paint and brushes.
At Dayton’s order, road crews on Thursday restored the two small dots above the ‘o' in Lindström (LINDT'-stroom) on two highway signs on the edge of the central Minnesota city.
He got involved Wednesday when he issued an executive order directing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to change the signage.
People in the city, nicknamed “America’s Little Sweden,” had complained when highway signs without umlauts were put up two years ago to suit federal guidance.
The umlauts had appeared on earlier signs erected for a centennial celebration in a gesture of respect for the visiting Swedish king and queen, said city administrator John Olinger.
Prior appeals were denied. Then Dayton chimed in.
Dayton, who has German heritage, offered to paint a new set of accent marks on the signs himself. But transportation department spokesman Kevin Gutknecht said the simple fix was made, for less than $65, before it came to that.
Olinger was elated by the fix and flattered by the international attention the umlaut scandal has generated for his town.
“Maybe it says something that heritage is important,” he said, “even though we are a melting pot.”
Dayton said a governor has to be responsive to even the smallest of concerns.
“I'll take a drive by Lindström sometime soon,” Dayton said.