With two Mendota council vacancies, only one candidate runs

Although Mendota is dealing with a small pool of candidates this November, the tiny town at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers has some huge projects to handle. 

Mendota Mayor Brian Mielke is running unopposed to stay in the 200-resident city's top spot. Only one candidate, Melody Rasmussen, is running in the Mendota City Council race, although there are two vacancies. Another member will need to be appointed to round out the five-person group.

Rasmussen, 57, was appointed to the council in March. She is married to James, and is a banquet manager at the Knights of Columbus in Bloomington. She earned a master's degree in floral design at Hixson's School of Floral Design in Ohio.

Rasmussen says she's enjoyed working together with neighbors and friends in the council role, something she hopes to continue to do, if elected.

"I felt it was time to give back to the community," she says. "I've lived here all my life."

Since heavy rains hit the state in June, the city has been trying to find a way to recover. As mudslides tore through the area, the river bluff was weakened and a deep fissure opened in the middle of Upper D Street, which is higher up the bluff. With an annual budget of less than $200,000 and facing up to about $700,000 in repairs, the city asked for a financial boost from the federal government, which was denied. The state is now stepping up to help fund the flooding recovery.

"That whole bluff project is so huge down here," Rasmussen says. "We're trying to come up with solutions to that problem and trying to find the money."

The city, whose populace is diverse, young and old, does have a hard time filling its leadership roles, she says, particularly because there are so few potential candidates to choose from.

Even with its recent bumps and bruises, Rasmussen says the good things about Mendota "don't change."

"It's such a tight-knit little community," she says. "It's nice to see it stay that way.

"Everybody works together and pitches in to keep that feeling going down here."

Mielke, who started on the council in 2002 and was elected mayor in 2010, did not respond to requests for comment.

—Kaitlyn Roby


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