Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Minnesotans Love Minnesotans
Are you a Minnesotan? Are you married to a Minnesotan? Then congrats: You're nothin' special at all! Kidding, kidding, we think all of our readers are very special. It's just that, according to a data analysis of marriages by state, Minnesotans are among the most likely in the nation to wed one another. The Washington Post story, noticed locally by MinnPost's Greta Kaul, took a look at marriages between 2017 and 2021 to determine the states in which it's most likely that both spouses are natives. We're not the most insular state—that would be our fellow upper midwesterners in Michigan, followed by Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Louisiana, and Ohio. But MN comes in sixth, and since 1900 it's only gotten more likely that one 'Sotan will marry another. Check out this chart from the Post...
Of note: Racket's only married staffer is a Minnesotan, married to another Minnesotan. So there you have it!
Roof Depot Demo Approved Amid Lawsuits
Yesterday, by a 7-6 vote, the Minneapolis City Council narrowly approved a contract to tear down the abandoned warehouse at East 27th Street and Longfellow Avenue. While the demolition is scheduled for February, that’s definitely not going to happen; at least two neighborhood groups have filed lawsuits against the plan.
There has been plenty of debate over the past four years as to what should be done about the old Roof Depot site in the East Phillips neighborhood. Residents want the space for affordable housing and a community garden. The city, which owns the property, wants to build a water distribution site that would house fleet vehicles and equipment. Neighbors say this plan would increase pollution and traffic in an area that already has high asthma rates. "I do not believe the specific site plan adds any pollution," Council Member Andrew Johnson said, not understanding that increased traffic contributes to pollution.
In an attempt to soften the blow, the Council also passed a Mayor Frey-approved compromise that would add a three-acre indoor farm and tree plantings to the area, along with attempts to assuage traffic and an increase in the number of solar-powered vehicles. "Seven to six is painful," Dean Dovolis, president of the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute, tells the Strib. "It's like watching a Vikings game where they don't quite pull it out… but we're not done yet."
Would the PRO Act Change Anything?
The short answer, according to this MPR News explainer, is “not really.” The longer answer would add “but maybe someday it might.” The DFL-backed Protect Reproductive Options bill, which the state House passed and the Senate will take up today, essentially codifies the 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision Doe v. Gomez, which ruled that abortion was protected under the state constitution’s right to privacy. So if a future state Supreme Court overruled that decision, the proposed law would add a second layer of protection. The bill does protect other reproductive care options related to birth control and family planning.
The story is crammed with other useful information about the state of reproductive law in Minnesota—there’s a whole lot more to this question than “Is abortion legal?” While a Ramsey County court found many laws restricting abortion access unconstitutional, they remain on the books; these laws are ready to rise like zombies under the wrong circumstances, legislators who want to ax them contend. Other things to note: Minnesota has no viability standards for abortion. (That’s good—no one aborts a healthy fetus in the third trimester unless there are serious risks to the pregnant person.) Also, minors have the same protections as adults under the Supreme Court ruling. And finally, DFL leadership isn’t ruling out a push for a state constitutional amendment protecting abortion.
Wanna Buy a Vintage Rainforest Café Cha! Cha! Tree Frog?
"Cha! Cha! is a wide eyed adventurer, curiously brave, and is Ozzie’s friend. Always the practical joker, Cha! Cha! likes to laugh and is a busy show off." Canonically, that's all we know about Cha! Cha!, the Rainforest Café tree frog mascot who, we just learned, is leader of the restaurant chain's Wild Bunch crew that also includes an ape (Ozzie), macaw (Rio), croc (Nile), baby elephant (Tuki), larger ape (Bamba), jaguar (Maya), and old, wise iguana (Iggy). Why are we telling you this? Because a vintage Cha! Cha! statue estimated to be 20+ years old is available locally via Facebook Marketplace for $300. "A one of a kind collectible! Very rare! Have only seen 1 other one in existence!" the seller boasts of the 15-pound, 18-inch wide froggy. Was this particular Cha! Cha! sourced from the Bloomington Rainforest Café, thus making it the perfect gift for MOA nostalgics? We reached out to the seller, but haven't back. A similar artifact is currently going for $21,750 on eBay. [Update: Eagle-eyed Racket reader Ian Rans emailed us, writing, "I call shenanigans! The photos from the eBay listing and FB are the same. Is someone trying to scam local Rainforest Café fans?"] Hm, maybe we should have kept this to ourselves... whatever, say TGIF, Cha! Cha!