Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Ex-UnitedHealth CEO Scores $142.2M Payday
David Wichmann must’ve done a bang up job of selling a product everyone hates last year. The former CEO of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group stepped down in February, and his 2021 compensation package of $142.2 million “might be the largest ever” paid by a public Minnesota company, the Star Tribune reports. No need to waste a copay on that throbbing forehead vein—you’re experiencing a healthy reaction to that news. Over the past decade, Wichmann oversaw UniteHealth’s stock post a total return of 1,057%, almost triple the S&P 500's return during that span. “Greed and gouging” is one of the main reasons Americans have the world’s most expensive healthcare, Harvard Magazine found, yet we’re still among the sickest countries on earth. Blood is all over Wichmann’s (presumably) designer white collar, considering that ghastly system is entrenched by the $4+ million UnitedHealth spends annually on lobbying, in part, to kill popular things that could help people like Medicare for All. We wish Wichmann a happy and healthy retirement.
God Smote Split Rock’s Parking Lot
If you were in northern Minnesota yesterday, you know that the weather was wild: We’re talking giant hail, high winds, and epic thunderstorms. Split Rock Lighthouse, the iconic structure dramatically perched on a rocky cliff, was struck by lightning last night. Well, the actual lighthouse wasn’t; a tree in the parking lot was, which then traveled to a light pole, and then sent a big zap to the visitor center. Thankfully, no one was hurt and no damage to any of the historic properties were sustained. The Lighthouse’s social media page reports that the electrical current simply messed with some of their internal systems, and as a result they’ll be closed today and Wednesday while they test and sort things out. The lighthouse, which is owned and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society, was finished in 1910. Over 100 years later, it is enjoyed by many as a striking photo op and a cool bit of local history.
Looks like someone’s mistaken St. Louis Park for Jellystone Park! Sunday night SLP resident Judy Houseman captured footage of a large black bear in her front yard on her security camera. “He was just passing through,” she says, casually. There have been more than 30 bear sightings to reported the DNR in Hennepin County this year. That’s a lot of bears! I don’t really have anything else to say about this, but it reminded me of the time Jason Lewis was worried that social workers wouldn’t be able to defend us against a bear invasion.
Don’t Threaten the Snow Plow Drivers!
With harassment and threats against Minneapolis city employees apparently on the rise, the Minneapolis city council is on the verge of creating a safety committee to address these concerns, reports Solomon Gustavo of MinnPost. Interim city coordinator Heather Johnston (who Jacob Frey would like to make permanent city coordinator) says public works and traffic control are reporting the most incidents. There’s broad support for the proposal, apparently, though different members are highlighting different areas of concern. For instance, according to the MinnPost story, Ward 2 council member Robin Wonsley Worlobah thinks she knows why: The most publicly visible city employees, the police, are quite unpopular with many residents, and that has an effect on how city workers are seen as a whole.