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Just in Time for Halloween: Downtown Mpls Ghost Cops

Plus the new encampment at City Hall, why it's good to be lazy with lawn upkeep, and stealing bikes is not cool in today's Flyover.

Tony Webster via Flickr

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

Idling, Empty Police Cars Assure Vikings Fans They Are Safe

Just in time for Election Day, “Operation Endeavor” was in full force this weekend. Meaning, people downtown for the Vikings game could see that there were cop cars parked throughout the area. Minneapolis’s anti-crime initiative is more about perception than prevention, after all. Or, in Frey’s words, to prove that “safety is not a priority right now on the agenda—it is the priority.” Yesterday afternoon, Fox 9 ran a pro-police-presence segment on the matter, noting that idling squad cars around U.S. Bank Stadium were intended to deter crime. “Downtown is getting back to what it used to be: A lotta people moving around!” proclaimed a downtown resident. “I actually like the police presence, definitely,” said a nameless man as the clip panned to a police logo. Minneapolis Twitter is still dubious about the program, however. “Are they idling? Does Minneapolis not have an anti-idling ordinance?” asked one user, while another equated Operation Endeavor to putting up a few scarecrows. Also worth noting: If it’s reported that crime went down this month, it’s because it always does.

Newest Encampment? City Hall.

While empty police cars (and breathless Fox 9 reporters) have been reassuring visitors to Minneapolis of their safety, and our new community safety commissioner has been half-heartedly apologizing for erratically tweeting, the MPD has been out there smashing up longstanding homeless encampments. Last Thursday, police destroyed encampments at Van White, Cedar-Franklin, and Near North 205 Girard Ave. N., and disbursed their residents. “They rolled up on us like it was a military operation,” one resident was quoted. In response, activists began setting up a protest encampment of their own outside City Hall last night. “Near North Encampment created stability and access to necessary social services for the residents,” according to a press release from an eyewitness at the camp, posting on Twitter. “It is much easier to connect community members with long-term assistance, identity documents, and medical care if they are able to stay in the same place and keep each other safe.” City Hall is closed for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but we’re sure the mayor will address this issue when he gets back to work tomorrow.

The Best Thing You Can Do for Pollinators: Be Lazy!

Hey, where are you going with that lawn bag?? More Minnesotans are planting pollinator gardens, MPR reports, which are full of native plants and grasses more friendly to our butterflies and bees. But helping them out doesn’t stop once the plants are done blooming—with the right fall cleanup, you can help them all winter long. Luckily, it’s as easy as… not doing much at all! Leave your dead plants and vegetation where it is, because bees, butterflies, and moths will attach to the leaves and soil while birds returning in spring can use the vegetation and seeds. Plus, you can be haphazard with the raking: Some leaf litter is good, as it better supports a variety of insect life. And don’t rush to clean up come spring, either, because waiting until early summer ensures those hibernating bugs have time to get out. MPR has outlined all the info in this handy Instagram infographic.

They Stole Woody’s Bike!

Nobody should steal anyone’s bike, obviously, but ripping off an MN skate scene luminary is just not acceptable. Woody (aka Erik Froland) was a Johnny Appleseed of Twin Cities skateparks back in the day, and a diehard contributor to the fledgling scene. He also donated his own personal bowl to the backyard of 3rd Lair SkatePark & SkateShop (which 3rd Lair estimates is worth tens of thousands just in materials). He winters in Arizona these days, but while he was up north, someone swiped his dirt bike from his backyard. Now 3rd Lair is helping him out with a GoFundMe for a new bike, so he doesn’t have to head south for the summer without wheels. Reminder: Don’t steal bikes.