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Coming Soon: Peppermint Hippo, a ‘South Park’-Inspired Strip Club

Plus insurance scams, bottled water from Minnesota, and the end of St. Paul's trash wars in today's Flyover news roundup.

'South Park'|

The Peppermint Hippo

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Minneapolis Gets More Topless People

Soon downtown Minneapolis will have another spot to see boobs: The Peppermint Hippo, a strip club named after South Park’s own nudie joint. Minneapolis City Council approved requests for adult, late-night food, and liquor licenses today, though Council Member Michael Rainville asked that CEO Alan Chang grab a coffee with him sometime soon to discuss the spot's 3 a.m. closing time, because “nothing good ever happens after midnight.” Brianna Kelly at Downtown Voices snapped some pics yesterday showing there's already signage up at 251 Third Ave. S. 

But don’t expect to see any nods to Cartman or Kenny; a quick perusal of the website suggests that this is a goof in name only. In fact, the Peppermint Hippo, which first opened in Vegas in 2022 is a goof within a goof (a goofception!). The South Park strip club name is a play on Spearmint Rhino, a prolific chain of gentlemen's clubs (there’s one at 725 Hennepin Ave.) where Chang worked for seven years. Sounds highly litigious, right? It sure is! Spearmint Rhino is suing Peppermint Hippo for copyright infringement, and both companies are seeking a trial by jury sometime this year. In the meantime, PH is thriving and surviving in places like Neenah, Wisconsin; Akron, Ohio; Pineville, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; and, soon, in downtown Minneapolis.

Did You Know That You’re Missing a Foot?

Health insurance companies have a hunger for money that can never be sated, so it’s maddening—and, yet, no surprise—that the Wall Street Journal did some number-crunching and uncovered some exceptional bullshit: Insurers are sending doctors to clients’ homes for checkups where they discover new diseases that they don't actually have. Patients get a $50 gift card, while insurance companies collect billions from taxpayers. Conveniently, the conditions being added to charts are the kind of things that score insurers the most money: diabetic cataracts, HIV/AIDS, dementia, schizophrenia, and, in one incredible case, a missing foot. According to the WSJ, patients and their regular doctors often don’t know about these diagnoses, meaning they’re not getting treatment. That last part is probably OK though, since typically the diagnosis is wrong (yes, including the case of the missing foot). 

Minnesota-based United Health, when it’s not busy buying up the medical practices it bankrupts and incorrectly denying all kinds of medical claims, is by far the biggest offender. “Insurer-driven diagnoses by UnitedHealth for diseases that no doctor treated generated $8.7 billion in 2021 payments to the company,” the WSJ reports. “UnitedHealth’s net income that year was about $17 billion.” 

Niagara Gets Millions To Sell MN Water

Would you pay to drink bottled water from Minnesota? If you’re a fan of Kirkland Signature, Target’s Good & Gather, or Walmart’s Great Value bottled water, then you might soon be drinking the same thing you'd get from the tap down the street, as Elko New Market has made a deal with Niagara Bottling to build a plant in town.

The suburb, about 40 miles south of the Twin Cities, is giving the Kansas City-based company big incentives to sell their groundwater: $4.3 million in forgivable loans, tax rebates, and cheaper zoning and hookup fees. According to Madison McVan at the Minnesota Reformer, the plant will require “13 million gallons of water per month—more than the entire city of Elko New Market use—leading some opponents to question why state and local government are giving incentives to extract a valuable resource, given the uncertainties of climate change and the future of water quality and quantity.” Back in June, Elko New Market was given permission by the DNR to increase its water usage from 135 million gallons to 365 million. 

Spanish Company To End St. Paul’s Trash Wars

Spain has brought us tapas, tempranillo, and, starting in 2025, a new era of trash management in St. Paul. FCC Environmental, a subsidiary of a Barcelona-based waste management company, will start managing St. Paul’s solid waste in April. But, as Bill Lindeke notes over at MinnPost, this signifies the end of the city's notorious trash wars, a time when St. Paul operated under a garbage consortium where a dozen or so fleets were contracted to manage different neighborhoods and half of contractors subcontracted their contracts to even more contractors. It was as confusing and inconsistent as it sounds. It was also time when discarded couches and mattresses roamed the streets, appearing in yards and local parks because people didn’t want to pay dump fees. Enjoy your new trash era, St. Paul.

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