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‘How Many More People Got to Die?’: City to Issue Plan for Emergency Fentanyl Funds… Eventually

Plus a brewery changes hands, a car is miraculously retrieved, and an unspeakably sad obit in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:17 PM CDT on August 10, 2023


From the DEA’s vast gallery of fentanyl photos.

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

Fentanyl in the Twin Cities: Still Really, Really Bad

A little over a year ago we spoke with local experts about the massive fentanyl problem in the Twin Cities. Conditions remain dire, according to this new two-part series from MinnPost's Ava Kian. In it, she explores how fatal overdoses of the drug, which went up by 130% from 2017 to 2021, are impacting the community. Today’s first part introduces readers to Howard Dotson, a local humanitarian who distributes sandwiches, clothing, and, when available, doses of Narcan—a drug that can reverse fentanyl overdoses—to needy folks around town. “Last summer was a wild, Wild West,” Dotson reports, adding that things have slightly improved this year. “We had six dealers in the entryway [to Merwin Liquors on West Broadway Avenue]. It looked like a flea market.”

We also meet Christopher Burks, a recovery coach with the Twin Cities Recovery Project who provides services all over Minneapolis’s North Side. He understands the importance of Narcan—it once saved his life. Both Dotson and Burks express immense frustration over how slowly the city intends to distribute $11 million in aid it began receiving last month from a 2021 agreement between opioid manufacturers and the U.S. Attorney General; the money is intended to fight the still-raging epidemic, but there’s no concrete plan for distribution of the funds. There is, however, reportedly a plan to make a plan. “They should have had a plan by 2024,” Dotson tells Kian. “It’s like how many more people got to die for you to get a plan?” Great question, and hopefully this MinnPost series spurs some quicker answers out of City Hall.    

612Brew Sold, Will Be Renamed Padraigs

Since opening in 2010, northeast Minneapolis taproom 612Brew has sold thousands of barrels of beer, brought in tons of live music to is patio, and hosted numerous pop-up markets, bar crawls, and Art-A-Whirl events. Now, a decade later, big changes are coming to the business, as three guys (Patrick Carey, Jason Myrold, and Steve Wankewycz) have purchased 612 with plans of renaming it Padgraigs Brewing and shifting the focus to Irish-style pints. "We are very proud,” original owner Robert Kasak tells Nick Halter at Axios. “Because, you know, oftentimes people sell out of desperation or they shuttered their doors because they just don't want to do it anymore. We sold because we wanted to exit and do something else with our lives." The barroom will retain its staff, including its brewmaster. 

Guy Uses Reddit To Find His Lost Honda Civic

It’s the stuff of (adult motorist) nightmares: A 2014 Black Honda Civic coupe was parked somewhere in a downtown Minneapolis ramp, but the owner had no idea where. So he turned to Reddit for help. His details were sparse, as he wasn’t even the one who lost it; his cousin had pulled into a ramp near-ish Capella Tower, left her ticket in the car, went about her business, and couldn’t remember where she had parked when she tried to get back. “The only description that I have is that it was a very small, single-lane pull-in ramp entrance,” he states in this Reddit post from two days ago. “There was a guard rail on the left along with a button to hit for a ticket. Next to the ticket booth, there was a red board with white lettering stating the $5 or $6 rate per 1-2 hours.” This was a needle in the haystack challenge, and, miraculously, that needle was found in the Impark/NRG Parking Garage on Eight Street thanks to another user. “The fact that people on Reddit were like 'it's this one,' I think that's amazing and I think it really shows that there are good people out there," he tells Zoë Jackson at the Star Tribune. Even more miraculous? It was only $20 to get the car out.

Read This Crushing Obituary, Subsequent Remembrance

Wow, what a heartwarming story you just read about Redditors banding together to pull a reverse Ashton Kutcher/Seann William Scott.

Ready to feel sad again?

Let us direct your attention to this devasting obituary for Brian Eldridge that was published Sunday in the Pioneer Press. It was authored by his brother, Steve:

May 1947-July 2023: Brian was a quiet shy boy and man. He was bullied as a child and teenager because of his shyness and vulnerability. As an adult he didn't fit in. He never learned to use a computer or a cell phone, which kept him from applying for most jobs. He worked and supported himself through paper routes, aluminum can recycling and janitorial work. He was exploited by employers. His last job, was cleaning a bingo hall at midnight for $10 per hour 7 nights a week 364 days a year with just less than the minimum weekly hours to have any rights or benefits. His employer fired him on Christmas Eve with no notice. He had worked there for over 15 years. He had no friends or family who kept up with him. He was quiet, smart, generous and lonely. When found in his apartment he had been dead at least 4 days. I'll miss him.

The "brutally honest" obit resonated deeply with PiPress readers, inspiring staffer Mary Divine to write an empathetic and humane portrait of Brian, who deserved a helluva lot better from this world. We encourage you to read the whole thing.

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