ST. AUGUSTA (AP) -- Gov. Jesse Ventura, who used to be James Janos, is understanding when it comes to names changes.
Officials in the township of St. Augusta, which is south of St. Cloud, want to graduate to city status with a high-profile name: the city of Ventura. Township Clerk Harlan Jopp said officials have already broached the name idea with Ventura.
''We sent him a letter and asked if it would be OK for us to do that, and we just received a reply back just recently that yes, we got his blessing,'' Jopp said.
The name change idea adds a twist to the township's year-long effort to incorporate as a city. Township officials say becoming a city would give them the taxing ability they need to provide sewer and water and other services.
But St. Cloud city officials oppose the township's attempt to become a city. They worry that it would block off the southern end of St. Cloud from expanding.
St. Augusta, with a population of about 3,200, originally sought to be called the city of Neenah.
Jopp said the St. Augusta Town Board then chose the name Ventura because of Ventura's stand against special interests and to further what Jopp called the governor's struggle to return the political process to the people, via a unicameral Legislature.
''The St. Augusta Town Board can think of no more fitting tribute than to name what it hopes will be Minnesota's newest city after a governor who is fighting to return control of Minnesota's Legislature to its rightful owners, the people of Minnesota,'' Jopp said.
The Legislature put St. Augusta's request for city status on hold last year. Hearings on the matter began Monday before an administrative law judge. They're expected to last into next week.
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