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MN Country Singer Cancels Gig at WV Bar Offering ‘Kyle Rittenhouse Special’

Plus a job opening at WCCO, St. Paul may OK public drinking, and the inexcusable state of COVID in prisons in today's Flyover.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Rochester Musician: ‘This Is Glorifying Hate’

Luke Hendrickson grew up in the countryside, loves “redneck shit,” and doesn’t care if you fly a Biden flag, a Trump flag, or a “Flying Spaghetti Monster” one. However, the big-bearded country singer/songwriter from Rochester, Minnesota, took issue with what he saw ahead of a gig last Friday in Weirton, West Virginia. In a Facebook post explaining why he declined to play that night, Hendrickson posted a photo from Shooterz Bar advertising the “Kyle Rittenhouse Special”—a beer and three shots. Another sign urged customers who support the “worthless, inept, and corrupt” Biden White House to take a hike. “This is glorifying hate. This is not just a ‘difference of opinion’ thing,” Hendrickson writes. “Our principles remain intact, and we’re the ones willingly minus a paycheck tonight.” After Hendrickson informed the bar of his decision, someone apparently scrawled “BANNED: LUKE HENDRICKSON (FAGGOT)” on the barroom chalkboard, prompting the musician to wonder, “If I had stayed, would I be dead?” Hendrickson didn’t respond to our request to chat more about the Easy Rider-ish scene; you can check out his music here.

Update: We just heard back from Hendrickson, who told us:

“Since this happened, I’ve gotten a flood of responses on social media. It’s been kind of overwhelming. Plus, I’m still out here gigging, driving, gigging, driving. Thinking back on the incident in Weirton, it was a surreal, short-lived moment. From the second I walked in there, I got bad vibes. Combined with the ridiculous signs on the door, my hunch told me that I didn’t want or need their money. That hunch turned out to have been fortuitous, as evidenced by the bar’s response… referring to me as a ‘fa@@ot.’ One commenter online said something like, ‘Those people are completely eaten up by hate. Just leave them to it.’ And that’s the route I’m gonna take. I don’t need to go blasting them and getting into comment wars. They’ve made up their minds, as have I.”

Liz Collin is Liz Coll-OUT at WCCO

After nearly 14 years, WCCO’s sometimes-embattled news anchor Liz Collin is stepping down from her post. Collin’s marriage to despised former Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll brought her under scrutiny in recent years, drawing protests over the potential conflict of interest—at one point folks smashed piñatas of Collin and Kroll outside their home. (At least Collin’s marriage would provide an excuse for copaganda, which is more than we can say for most policeophile news outlets.) Collin announced the move today in a cryptic message that stated “the truth makes me tick” (yikes, that sounds like a Riddler clue) along with a passage from the Gospel of John about how “the truth will set you free.” What truths has Collin been unable to reveal to us until now? Interestingly, Collin’s profile page has already been removed from WCCO’s site. If only 15 more people had signed this petition.

Drinking in Parks: Now More Legal!

The St. Paul City Council is set to pass an amendment tomorrow that would allow people to consume alcoholic beverages of up to 5.5 ABV in a variety of parks, making it even easier to get buzzed in nature. If this passes, people aged 21 or older will be able to drink in designated areas, be they dudebros with a pack of Hamm’s, joggers enjoying a post-run White Claw, or wine moms meeting for a picnic. (Sorry, no sneaky teenagers or old guys with flasks—you’ll have to keep your shenanigans hidden in the woods.) This is a step up from a previous measure which allowed 3.2 beer; a Pioneer Press story states that cops have had a hard time enforcing the rule (and, let’s be real, stopping people from drinking in parks in general). If the amendment passes, at least 11 parks will have drinking areas, including Como Park, Harriet Island Park, Raspberry Island, Highland Park, and Phalen Park.

COVID-19 in Prisons: It’s Really Bad

That’s according to the latest batch of figures released by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Almost 19% (!) of “clients” (aka prisoners… gross phrasing) have the coronavirus–1,389 of the 7,364 people currently incarcerated. So far, through the pandemic, 12 prisoners have died of the virus while in custody. Minnesota is 83.8% white, according to census data, yet about half of inmates inside the state’s 11 prisons are people of color. Native American activist Leonard Peltier, the country’s longest-serving political prisoner, recently told HuffPost that covid-era imprisonment is “a torture chamber for the sick and old.” As Dostoevsky famously once said: “A society should be judged not by how it treats its outstanding citizens but by how it treats its criminals.” What a brutal indictment of ours.