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Frey: ‘It’s Cool to Feel Good About Our City’

Plus casual voting at the Capitol, HealthPartners fined, and a Lego burger comes to town in today's Flyover.


Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Frey Says Mpls Is on a 'Rebound'

This afternoon, Strong Mayor Jacob Frey gave his State of the City address, opening with a pause to “give each other the permission to feel happy about where Minneapolis is going.” The main theme of his talk, which clocked in at under an hour, was “rebound,” touching on the housing market, being a sanctuary city, stuff the cops are doing right, and making downtown hip and alive again. A few takeaways:

Taste of Minnesota is coming back, is met with mild applause 

Taste of Minnesota was a multi-day festival that used to take place in St. Paul during Fourth of July weekend. Eventually, it was canceled because it kinda sucked. Frey says the food and rock fest is coming to downtown Minneapolis "on the Mall" July 2-3. (Curiously, the Downtown Council is lobbying for $1.8 million from the state for this event.)

The city is also “expecting Superbowl-sized” crowds when Taylor Swift comes to town June 23-24, which is also the same weekend as Pride. So, everyone crowded into one spot not venturing further into the city?

On downtown:

Frey acknowledged that downtown is never going back to pre-pandemic levels of office occupancy. (“I do get the sweatpants on Mondays thing; it sounds pretty appealing.”) Instead, he’s proposing that businesses aim for in-office work days Tuesdays through Thursdays (my dude, that ship has sailed, too). “These are days where they can create culture,” he pitched. Mmmm, corporate culture! 

“Some of the best memories of my entire life are of hanging on Nicollet Mall or Washington,” Frey reminisced, to which we'll respond... this Nicollet Mall? He also suggests we refer to Thursday as “Thriving Thursdays” or “Thirsty Thursdays.” “Whatever you want to call it—come back,” he pleaded. 

On where he hangs when his coastal elite friends come to visit: 

“Karmel Mall, Mall 24, Midtown Global Market, Mercado Central.” 

On climate:

“We’re planting as many trees as we possibly can,” said Frey to applause. 

“Let me tell you, the North Side is on a roll”/”The South Side is rocking too”

Ah yes, the two sides of Minneapolis: north and south. Frey took the time to give shout-outs to North Commons Park and the V3 olympic-sized swimming pool, as well as Eat Street Crossing. He also says that he hopes the old Kmart will be sledgehammered by this time next year. (That sounds very unlikely!)

On safety:

Frey started his talk on crime by letting everyone know he pays attention to data and facts. So, some data: homicides this year are down 43%, carjackings are down 41%, and “Cops have recovered a record amount of guns.” (“Our communities will feel the change… people will feel it in the interactions they have on the street.”) Idling cars: bad for the environment, but tough on crime.

House Party

The vibes at the Minnesota House? Pretty casual, the Minnesota Reformer's Michelle Griffith reports today, in a story with one of the most delightful lead images you've ever seen of a governing body. While it's not technically allowed, it's also not at all uncommon to see members leaning over the voting buttons on their fellow lawmakers' desks, recording their "yes" or "no" vote while their seatmates are MIA. “They are the member’s vote,” House Speaker Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park) tells the Reformer, adding that, hell, her own vote is often cast by someone else while she's busy with negotiations or other important stuff. “It’s a way to allow members to be human beings while they’re doing their job.”

State Fines HealthPartners $150K

The Minnesota Department of Commerce has issued a consent order against Bloomington-based HealthPartners for allegedly violating mental health parity laws, MPR News reports. Sounds bad, but what does it mean? Well, under state and federal law, health insurers must evaluate mental health diagnoses or treatments the same way they do other forms of care. The state alleges that HealthPartners “excluded some coverage for residential mental health treatment,” reconsidered claim denials for medical and surgical procedures more frequently than mental health care denials, and failed to “document its internal coverage reviews or meet required timelines.” HealthPartners will be fined $150,000 and the department will monitor the company for one year to make sure it’s following its newly adopted procedures. The lesson here? According to Sue Abderholden, executive director of NAMI Minnesota, "It helps to complain.” So if you're pissed at your insurer (what are the chances, right?), tell the commerce department.

Depressing Burger Concept Coming to South Minneapolis

This holiday season, a Lego-ish pop-spot on south Lyndale is coming for your wallet, offering $47 novelty burgers that look dry as fuck. It's called Brick Burger, and basically offers sandwiches made with bread baked to look like a Lego. “Our brick-themed restaurant is designed to immerse you in a playful and exciting world of bricks,” the release states. So, yeah. For $47 you can choose from a beef burger, chicken patty, or some kind of veggie option. You also get a drink with that; choose from pop, wine, or beer. (Go for the wine, it’s probably the most bang for your buck/expensive option.) This thing will be in town December 9-10. Start saving now!

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