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Local Weed Company Might Test Lindahl’s ‘Arms Out’ Trademark

Plus Fischbach's Ag absence, restaurant comings/goings, and national plow-name news in today's Flyover.

3:10 PM CST on March 6, 2023

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The proposed billboard rendering.

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

Billboard Brinkmanship

Through his mastery of our dopey media, Kris Lindahl—the strange-tweetin’, doomed-Zillow-partnerin’, lake-lovin’ local real estate tycoon—spun his ubiquity into a full-on news cycle by trademarking his famous “arms out” billboard pose. (Multiple readers pointed out that Lindahl’s gesture is similar to one made famous by Jesus Christ, the famously crucified Christian leader, though that’d likely only be a legal conflict if Christ also hustled houses.) Months later, last August, Lindahl laid down the law, suing a Canadian counterpart whose arms-out Realtor marketing appeared eerily similar to his.

Which brings us to last week: Mike Norton, co-owner of THC edibles brand Baja Ontario, tells Racket that he attempted to run a parody billboard campaign featuring the image you see above—that’s Norton, arms outstretched. (Full disclosure: Baja Ontario is an occasional Racket sponsorship partner.) Problem is, he says, billboard company OUTFRONT Media was hesitant to green-light the ads due to concerns over Lindahl’s trademark. “Kris Lindahl isn't the only person with arms and a beard, this trademark is fucking absurd,” Norton says, adding that his company is exploring whether it’s worth the legal risk to plow ahead anyway. When reached for comment, Lindahl told Racket: “While I appreciate you reaching out, I can’t comment on this. I wish Mike and his company well.”

You Have One Job, Michelle 

When Republican Michelle Fischbach crushed Democrat Colin Peterson by 13 points in the 2020 election, there were questions about whether the new representative for Minnesota’s 7th District could stump for the state’s farmers as effectively as the outgoing congressman. After all, Peterson, from his seat on the U.S. House Agriculture committee, which he held for a quarter-century, had wielded immense control over the Agricultural Improvement Act, better known as the Farm Bill. The piece of legislation is up for renewal this fall, but, as Christopher Vondracek reports for the Star Tribune, Fischbach is not on the Ag Committee. Fischbach chose not to speak to the Strib about this issue, instead saying via statement: "I have a unique opportunity to play a pivotal role in the upcoming farm bill through my positions on the Ways and Means and the Rules Committees." Peterson was happy to talk to the Strib: “Asked whether serving on Ways and Means would be good for farmers, Peterson said, ‘It is for hedge managers.’"

Bid Adieu to Bev's; Hello Again, Zelo

After 28 years, Bev's Wine Bar has announced that it'll close at the end of March. "It's been a great and memorable run," owners Peter Kirihara and Paul Schula wrote in a Friday Instagram post, thanking their customers and adding that the last night of service will be March 25. Bring Me the News, which first reported on the closure, notes that KARE 11's Jana Shortal is among those who are bummed about the loss of Bev's; she wrote that it's where she's celebrated a number of milestones and where she first met her wife.

Elsewhere in the food scene: Zelo, the downtown Minneapolis Italian restaurant that dates back to the late '90s, has reopened following a nearly three-year COVID/crime hiatus. "We wanted everybody, including our employees, to feel comfortable to be back downtown and working and we've noticed—we've been monitoring over the last couple of years—we've seen a lot of improvement; seen a lot more people coming downtown," chef Jason Gibbons tells KARE 11, adding that Operation Endeavor, which he seems to believe is more than an opaque PR stunt, seems to be working.

Plowy McPlowFace, Blizzo Featured in WSJ Article

Naming stuff: Humans love to do it. These days, according to this feel-good article in the Wall Street Journal, communities all over the U.S. have gotten really into coining municipal service vehicles, including sweet sweepers, garbage trucks, and snowplows. MnDOT's annual Name-a-Snowplow contest features heavily in the piece, which mentions one (badly!) named winner, Plowy McPlowFace, and another far superior one, Blizzo. And apparently we’re naming storm drains now, as Hamline University has an adopt-a-drain program where Purple Drain is frequently suggested (along with Stormy Drainiels and Make America Drain Again). One plow name that’s popular but never makes the cut? Abolish ICE. “Sure, it’s a creative phrase,” MnDOT spokesman Jake Loesch tells WSJ, “but it’s also very politically charged.” Click here to revisit Racket's definitive rankings of the 2023 class of plow-name finalists.

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