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Mayor Frey: If You Work From Home You’re a ‘Diddling’ ‘Loser’ With a ‘Nasty Cat Blanket’

Plus Emmer's whoopsie, Jade Tittle opens up about stalker, and RIP Lutsen Lodge in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:30 PM CST on February 7, 2024

Frey via YouTube; Francesco Ungaro via Unsplash|

What does this mustachioed mayor have against cats?

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Frey Comes Out as Anti-Diddling, Pro-Office

This afternoon, the Minneapolis Downtown Council joined real estate developers, local businesses, and city employees at The Armory to celebrate upcoming construction projects and modest residential growth in downtown. Mayor Jacob Frey took the opportunity to applaud businesses that require workers to report to the office.

“You all are here because you’re committed to downtown. And you’ve stuck with it. You’re bringing your employees back, right?” Frey told the biz-booster crowd. “You’re bringing your employees back.”

He went on to call folks who elect to work from home "losers," citing hard research from a mysterious, unnamed, and apparently fictional loser study. 

“I don’t know if you saw this study the other day,” Frey said. “But what this study clearly showed is that when people who have the ability to come downtown to an office don’t—when they stay home, sitting on their couch with their nasty cat blanket, diddling on their laptop—if they do that for a few months, you become a loser. It’s a study. We’re not losers, are we?”

I have questions. First, what does he think is going on with cat blankets? Does he think offices stop creeps from diddling on computers? And is he aware of the, uh, bluer meaning of “diddling”? How did this (possibly Beck-authored) study quantify loser-ness?

Anyway, don’t feel too bad if you're a loser, per the mayor's definition. Apparently Gov. Tim Walz is one, too.

Oops! Tom Emmer is Bad at Voting Math

As U.S. House Majority Whip, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is dutybound to know if there are enough votes for a bill to pass before it goes to the floor. But when it came time to vote Tuesday on the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, he basically discovered there weren’t enough “yeas” along with the rest of us, and the bill failed 214 to 216.

The bill was supposed to demonstrate how Republicans are tough on border policies, but instead they're looking like the party of miscommunication. Emmer didn’t anticipate four GOPers voting no: Ken Buck (R-CO), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Blake Moore (R-UT).

“The problem is that they fail to identify an impeachable crime that Mayorkas has committed,” McClintock writes in a memo. “In effect, they stretch and distort the Constitution in order to hold the administration accountable for stretching and distorting the law.”

Emmer may also have been counting on Rep. Al Green (D-TX) not coming in to work that day, as he had been out for surgery on Monday. But, ultimately, Green showed up to vote “nay"—much to the dismay of the very serious and competent whip.  

The Current's DJ Jade Left Gig Due to Stalker

Last last October, Jade Tittle announced that she was leaving 89.3 the Current after 15 years as a DJ and music director.

“It was my childhood dream to be able to just talk about music with people all day and get paid to do it,” she said at the time. “The thing about dreams is that they change as you grow and I’m ready to move on to my next dream.”

Unfortunately, there was more going on behind the scenes. In a new interview with KARE 11’s Jana Shortal, Tittle reveals that she left her because she was being stalked by Patrick Kelly, the same man who stalked fellow Current DJ Mary Lucia for years.

"I wasn't leaving the house; of course I am frightened," Tittle says. "Someone you don't know is making claims over your body and physical space. That is terrifying.”

Tittle says Kelly started coming to her house daily in 2021, writing letters, and sending her items, including a burner phone. Eventually it got to be too much, and Tittle, much like Lucia, felt she had to leave her job for her own safety.

“It’s sort of that catch-22," she told Shortal. "I can stay at a job I love and continue this pattern with someone who wants to harass me, or I can take myself out of that and allow myself to live a life that is peaceful... and I choose peace."

Kelly has been to jail multiple times for stalking Lucia and Tittle; he’s currently civilly committed for mental illness.  

A Sorrowful Architectural Obit to the Lutsen Lodge

For many, it wasn’t just a building on Minnesota's North Shore—it was the beating heart of the North Shore. Over its 144-year-history, Lutsen Lodge has hosted countless weddings, family reunions, and friendly ski trips along the shore of Lake Superior. So when it burned down this week, many folks were understandably heartbroken.

Star Tribune real-estate reporter Jim Buchta, a frequent guest of the lodge, is one of those mourners, and his tribute to Lutsen Lodge might make you feel things. I especially love the following bit about Edwin Lundie, the building’s architect. Lundie planned every detail of the U-shaped structure that combined the scale of European stave churches with the aesthetics of Adirondack cabins, always paying special attention to the function and needs of the space.  

Lundie did something rarely done today. He designed virtually every element and nearly every detail inside, from the hinges to the doorknobs to the light fixtures.

"He drew everything," [Twin Cities architect Dale] Mulfinger said. "If his clients would pay him to keep drawing, he'd draw right up until the building was finally built. Even after, he'd given his clients beautiful drawings as Christmas gifts."

"I'm grieving," Mulfinger added.

The Lutsen Lodge Facebook page states that the raging—and mercifully injury-free—fire resulted in a “total loss,” with pictures and videos from the scene showing only the mighty chimney remaining. (Lundie's work replaced a previous structure, which burned down in 1951.) Owner Bryce Campbell, who has been dealing with various financial troubles, denied having anything to do with Tuesday's fire, the Star Tribune reported Wednesday.

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