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MN Fed Survey: People Want New Jobs That Pay Better

Plus NYT praises Gai Noi, private-public spying programs, and a skeleton mystery from the past in today's Flyover news roundup.

5:22 PM CDT on September 19, 2023

krakenimages via Unsplash|

A typical scene from a Twin Cities office.

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

MN Fed Sez: There's More to the Job Market Than Unemployment Numbers

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota has done something we’d like to see more of: Instead of just gauging “the job market” based on certain factors and telling us whether it’s “good,” they’ve surveyed actual workers to understand “how job seekers view current opportunities in today’s labor market.” Though the market is tightening after a few slack years, the Fed has found, people are still anxious to find new jobs. So what’s driving folks to look for new opportunities, and what’s holding them back? Workers report that wages are stagnant, the cost of living is increasing, but newer jobs don’t pay well enough to justify the jump. A typical quote: “I would stay at my current job, but the pay has not risen with inflation, and they refuse to give us raises.” A health care worker from western Minnesota chimes in, “There’s no daycare, jobs don’t pay much, and you can barely make ends meet with inflation.” These sentiments won’t come as a surprise to most of us, but they’re too rarely included in the mix when we hear upbeat reports on low unemployment and the booming stock market.

The NYT Loves Gai Noi

Big congrats to chef Ann Ahmed and Gai Noi—it's one of 50 restaurants to appear on the New York Times's third-annual Restaurant List. "Gai Noi is the most noteworthy restaurant yet opened by the veteran Twin Cities chef Ann Ahmed, mainly because she has never leaned so hard into her native Lao cuisine," Brett Anderson writes of her recently opened Loring Park hotspot. "If customers appear at ease dredging sticky rice through one of the four kinds of jeow, or chasing hot bites of laab with juicy morsels of shrimp flake-dusted watermelon, it has something to do with Ms. Ahmed and others who’ve been spreading Southeast Asian flavors across the metro area." Last year, Petite León made the Times's list, and in its first installment the year prior, both Owamni and Sooki & Mimi made the cut. And it's hardly the first national nod for Ahmed; Food & Wine's editor called Khâluna's Bucatini Talay "the most boundary-pushing noodles" in her best bites of the year, while the restaurant appeared on Eater's list of the 15 best new restaurants of 2022.

MN Police Hope To Build Trust Via Spying, Data Collection

How do you build better connections and gain trust in a community? By using AI to cull data from residents posting on social media platforms, obviously. That's the route that Brooklyn Park Police Department and the cities of St. Paul and Woodbury took when they contracted with Zencity, a software firm that works with government agencies and law enforcement to monitor what people are saying about them. "Someone who says, 'I hate the Brooklyn Park Police Department,' we'd be able to see [that] negative sentiment," Matt Rabe, BPPD’s community engagement officer, tells WCCO. According to Zencity, data is gathered anonymously; they claim to collect info from public posts, comments, and shares to build reports on certain topics. It’s not a cheap service: Brooklyn Park and Woodbury are spending around $17,000 annually on it. St. Paul, meanwhile, is still on a free six-month trial, though officials say they will be canceling next month.

This Day In Minneapolis History: Sept. 19, 1923

Welcome to our newish Flyover series for slow news days, one that will help justify the annual fee we pay to access Star Tribune archives. Check out this must-read skeletal intrigue blurb from the front page of the Minneapolis Star exactly 100 years ago today:

Once you get to the body copy, it quickly becomes apparent how much heavy lifting that "possible" in doing in the subhead. Coroner Gilbert Seashore (what a name!) confirms that, yes, sewer workers did discover a human skeleton in a tunnel 40 feet beneath Nicollet Island, though after months of entombment, its condition prevented proper inspection. Seashore notes that the bones belonged to an elderly man, and the presence of a monkey wrench and rubber shoes suggests he may have been a laborer who died from sewer gasses. That didn't stop the author from using "possible murder" twice in the short blotter story, however. Was a curious onlooker who attempted to photograph the skeleton as it was removed none other than Amelia Earhart? It's possible!

Here's the full text:

A possible murder was disclosed this morning when sewer laborers inspecting a sewer tunnel on Nicollet Island discovered the skeleton of a man near which was an old monkey wrench. The skeleton had been in the tunnel for two or three months, according to Coroner Gilbert Seashore.

The skeleton was in the lower of two tunnels, which are connected by a manhole. It is nescessary to go 40 feet underground in the upper tunnel, and through the manhole to reach the spot where the skeleton was located.

Condition Prevents Inspection
The condition of the skeleton prevented an inspection for a possible skull fracture or broken bones. Investigation will be made in a post-mortem at the morgue this afternoon. The skeleton was that of an elderly man, Coroner Seashore said. Clothing and a rubber shoe indicated that he was a laborer. A possibility that he was a sewer laborer and was overcome by sewer gas exists, the coroner said. The skeleton was found by sewer laborers. Coroner Seashore, Patrolman Fred Olson and Detectives were summoned, and the skeleton was removed to the morgue. A curious crowd gathered to watch the removal, and a woman attempted to photograph the skeleton.

Update: Here's additional skeleton sleuthing from area history buff Chris Steller...

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