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Minneapolis City Council Hopeful Has Racked Up 209 (!) Property Violations

Plus a bridge reopening, info on how Minnesotans die, and the debut of a dirt-bike park in today's Flyover news roundup.

Facebook: Scott Graham for Mpls|

Scott Graham, who seems to “lord” over properties that appear “slummy.”

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

We Have Some Questions About Scott Graham

What do we know about Scott Graham, the All of Mpls-endorsed candidate for Ward 7 city council member? Well, we learned a bit from today's Star Tribune story by Zoë Jackson. The 61-year-old “real estate agent and business owner” has deep DFL political connections (he was a Senate district chair and he’s outgoing Council Member Lisa Goodman’s pick), and he’s “approaching public safety and affordable housing with an optimistic lens” as he squares off against 30-year-old rival Katie Cashman next month. Oh yeah, and he once owned and managed properties that had 209 violations registered by the city.

Curious about that last bit? The Strib story doesn’t probe into the issue, instead quoting Graham as saying that  the "vast majority" of the 209 violations were, in the Strib’s paraphrase, “from property inspections of units managed by his company discovered following applications for rental licenses.” Apparently, per the Strib, one of Graham's past tenants has been posting on social media with complaints about property management. Seems like an issue the renters of the city (we outnumber the homeowners, you know) deserve to hear more about before the election.

Finally: 3rd Ave. Bridge Illuminated by Orbs, Ready for Re-Opening Party

Remember the Third Avenue Bridge? The 102-year-old, 2,223-foot-long, Mississippi River-spanning beauty closed for construction waaaaay back in January 2021, and has been snarling downtown Minneapolis car, bike, and pedestrian traffic ever since. But, following recent delays, the landmark bridge is finally set to reopen on October 28. The benefits of the $129.3 million project appear numerous: improved multi-use paths on both sides, new pavement, repairs to the historic ornamental railing, and, as we learned Monday from the Development Tracker Minneapolis, giant orb-shaped lights! For a surprisingly robust suite of Third Avenue Bridge intel, consult this MnDOT construction page that offers renderings, videos, and even winners from a bridge-themed poetry contest. And click here for details on the October 28 reopening party, which’ll feature remarks by MnDOT (thrilling!), plus historic walking tours, lawn games, "up-close experiences" with construction vehicles, and a food truck.

Diggin into the Death Data

How are you gonna die? Not in like a morbid, Halloween-y, Ghostface-asking-the-question kind of way, but really—how are Minnesotans dying? Chris Ingraham dug into that question for the Minnesota Reformer and found that the pandemic had a tremendous impact on the way we die. In 2022, relative to 2019, overdose deaths were up 56% (mainly driven by fentanyl and other opioids), while excessive drinking-related deaths were up 40%. Homicides? Those were up 22%. These so-called "deaths of despair" are up in other states as well, with experts citing social isolation, economic stress, and anxiety among the causal factors. Of course, while these deaths are up, they're nowhere near the leading causes of death for Minnesotans—as Ingraham notes on Twitter, it's wild just how far ahead cancer and heart disease are. (Ingraham himself beat a "one-in-a-million" cancer diagnosis earlier this year.) And there is some good news: For example, Minnesotans still live roughly five to seven years longer than folks in other states.

New Off-Road Bike Park Drops Tomorrow

Richfield's Taft Park got a glow-up this summer. Located at 62nd & Bloomington Ave. (right off the Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail), the park now boasts a new off-road bike route featuring challenging curves, bumpy hills, and ramps that will propel you in the air. The space was previously used as a hockey rink. "This is pretty unique," Luke Skinner at Three Rivers Park District tells WCCO. "This is really giving cyclists a look at a mountain bike trail, in the middle of a city.” On Wednesday, Three Rivers will host a special ribbon-cutting ceremony, where folks can check out the new space, enjoy food truck eats and refreshments, and ride the trail from 5 to 7 p.m. In the meantime, you can experience the track vicariously via this sneak-preview from a local bike enthusiast. 

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