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Let’s Judge the Current Minnesota State Flag Finalists

Plus how Frey took his L, Dinkytown deathwatch, and Minneapolis tower history in today's Flyover news roundup.

Twitter: @bbierschbach

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

Flag Finalists Fail

Sadly, it appears only one of the goofiest designs (two-headed mutant loon) approached the finish line Tuesday as state officials whittled down the crop of 2,000+ submissions for a new Minnesota flag to 126 semi-finalists. Through a bizarre piano-scored ritual akin to choosing a new pope, five finalists will eventually be selected by the State Emblems Redesign Commission.

When, exactly? "Omg no idea," a weary reporter on the scene inside the Minnesota Senate Building tells Racket. "They are definitely doing another round of voting." (The 13-member commission has until January 1 to submit final designs that showcase "Minnesota's enduring values and aspirations" to the Legislature.) In the meantime, let's subject the nine remaining flag hopefuls to immediate and harsh criticism.

Dear god, how achingly boring! Not a showstopper in the bunch. What a dismal, graphic-design intern-level display of vexillological mundanity. Woof. And, as noted by Bierschbach's followers, the submerged star option is effectively the Somali flag and the middle one in the bottom row is a dead ringer for Duluth's. The leading state seal candidate, meanwhile, feels ripped off from the state lottery's logo; these icon-y, minimalist, illo-based branding conventions that took hold over the past dozen years or so must be stopped—bring back maximalism! Bad job, everyone involved. And to think, we could have rallied around the good dog...

Update, 9:52 p.m.: The quilt star one (bottom right) is growing on me.

How Frey's $15M Cop Carrot Got Smushed

Last week Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey barreled into a special City Council meeting, one that would decide whether to gift MPD more than $15 million intended for recruitment and retention bonuses. As far dealmaking political tacticians go, Frey proved to be no Wilbur D. Mills; the council rejected Frey and MPD Chief Brian O'Hara's proposal by a 8-5 vote.

How'd it all go down? MinnPost's Mohamed Ibrahim published a blow-by-blow account today, in which learn that the mayor's coalition of HR executives, cop bosses, and council toadies couldn't get past a progressive council coalition that felt blindsided by the plan. What's more: The $15.3 million handout would've blown through most of a one-time, $19 million public safety investment granted by the Minnesota Legislature.

"When he came to us last week with a plan to walk on this letter of agreement that is before us today, outside the normal budget process, we were stunned,” says Ward 11 Council Member Emily Koski. "The mayor has given no indication in the last six months that he was willing to collaborate... To be clear, I will not bow to fear or manipulation tactics and make a decision outside our normal process." MinnPost's story paints the picture of hubristic Strong Mayor who'll have to be more wise with his political capital among more skeptical city leaders—read the whole thing here.

DINKYTOWN DEATHWATCH: Still Alive

So reports a new deeply reported feature from the Minnesota Daily's Jack O'Connor. But, we learned, the once-quirky University of Minnesota-adjacent neighborhood is becoming increasingly dominated by chain businesses; rents are the rise as 59% of the area's shops, restaurants, and apartments have been acquired by non-independent owners. “We don’t want to turn into a completely chained-operated neighborhood,” says Tony Nicklow, the titular owner of Tony's Diner. “That would be a nightmare.”

Cover your ears, density-freaks, because Kristen Eide-Tollefson, owner of The Book House and cofounder of Preserving Historic Dinkytown, says the recent influx of glitzy new apartment complexes replacing historic buildings is killing the cultural character of Dinkytown. "The old buildings hold memories for every, every generation of students and alumni," she says. (Old-timers familiar with the 1970 Dinkytown Uprising know these concerns are not new.) Alison Kirwin has worked at Al's Breakfast for almost 30 years, and today she owns the beloved breakfast nook. “It went from being a place that was functional all by itself to a place that people only come to eat," she says of Dinkytown circa 2023.

Curious how the reimagined “Drunk Donald’s" plays into these trends? Stay tuned for our full review, which'll drop tomorrow.

Did Fuddy-Duddies Topple Terrific Tower?

Did you know a 30-foot structure resembling a mini version of Duluth's Enger Tower once stood at Farview Park in north Minneapolis? The lil stone cutie "offered majestic views" for decades after its creation in 1889, according to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Why'd we topple the tower? Apparently its winding iron staircase had been shut down for several before its 1960 demolition, and the reason for its demise may annoy you: “Midnight beer drinkers who left a good deal of noise and muss behind them" bothered the neighbors, per a 1958 newspaper article. Great job, middle-century Minneapolitan dorks! A steal and copper sculpture by artists Norman Anderson and Katherine Schaefer, intended to be homage to the castle-like beaty that once stood at 621 N 29th Ave., has existed in the tower's onetime footprint since 2005.

Minneapolis Park and Rec Board

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