Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Modist Brewing Announces Not-So-Modest Redo
Since 2016, Modist Brewing has served beers in the North Loop while also hosting drag brunches, private parties, community fundraisers, and makers’ markets in the humble open lounge area just off to the side of their main brew hall. Soon, that lounge will transform into a full-blown event space, with a private entrance, pre-event bar/check-in area, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The Minneapolis brewery announced today that it's investing $2 million into a 7,000-square-foot update to their business. “Our team intentionally involved various user groups to build a North Loop modern, tricked-out, punk rock, and chic-designed event space,” owner Daniel Paul Willendorf says of the project. Those “punk-rock” design elements will include a glitter concrete floor, more large murals, lots of glass (including a mirrored ceiling), and neon light fixtures. While the focus is on the buildout of that event space, the brewery is also adding new offices and a new brewing lab for staff. Amazingly the contractors, Kraus-Anderson and Minority Business Enterprise’s J. Benson, say that the work is set to be completed this July. You can see mock-ups of the space on Modist's website.
Shark Tank’s 'Mr. Wonderful': Moorhead Is 'Like Cuba'
The ideologues over at the Center for the American Experiment, ever on the lookout for ways to bash Minnesota, are now touting an interview in which a famous TV man is saying North Dakota is a better state to invest in. Kevin O’Leary, aka “Mr. Wonderful” on Shark Tank, recently sang the praises of Fargo, then had this to say about its Minnesota neighbor, Moorhead: “Go across the bridge, the place looks like Cuba.” Of course, O’Leary, part of an investment group that’s dropping $45 million in North Dakota, is hardly a disinterested party here. But it’s his, uh, inventive history of the two cities that caught our eye.
Weirdly, O'Leary insists that Fargo and Moorhead were the same size 25 years ago (Fargo’s population was three times that of Moorhead in 2000), and that anti-growth policy has reduced Moorhead’s population by nearly half since then. In reality, Moorhead has grown, not dramatically but steadily, by about 12,000. In fact, not a single population statistic O’Leary mentions is correct. Personally, I’d be a little leery (get it) of investing with someone who makes up numbers on the fly like this. (You'd think that recent history might have taught us in general not to trust everything that people who play rich people on TV have to say.) But apparently CAP’s John Phelan is cool with anything that fits the anti-regulatory narrative.
Workers at 3 Local Starbucks Went on Strike Today
It’s widely believed that, early last year, ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz returned to the helm for the third time to nip his company’s growing union movement in the bud. It didn’t work. More than 100 locations filed union petitions under Schultz’s brief, union-busting interim CEO stint, bringing the total number of union shops to 287. (Earlier this month, the National Labor Relations Board rules that the coffee giant’s violations of federal labor laws were “egregious and widespread.”) On Monday, a week ahead of his scheduled clash with Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Schultz announced that he’d bravely be stepping down early and immediately.
Which brings us to today: Three unionized Twin Cities Starbucks locations (300 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul; 3704 Silver Lake Rd. Ne, St. Anthony; 4712 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis) joined 100+ others throughout the U.S. on a one-day strike to demand “basic rights like livable wages with consistent scheduling, safe and respectful workplaces, and the right to organize free from fear and intimidation,” according to Starbucks Workers United. The strikes were staged one day ahead of company shareholder meetings. “We make all of their profits for them. We have all of the power in this situation,” worker Kasey Copeland told us last August during a one-day strike at her Cedar Avenue shop. In Minnesota, nine Starbucks have attempted to unionize, resulting in six wins, two losses, and one withdrawal. Here's a video of the Snelling Avenue picket line, courtesy of our buddy Fred Melo at the PiPress:
Designing a Somali Immersion Program
The Strib has an insightful Q&A today with Abdi Mahad, the St. Cloud resident who designed the first high school-level curriculum for native Somali speakers in the U.S. and is now at work on the nation’s first elementary Somali immersion program. “We completely reinvented the way that Somali language meets Western educational standards and teaching methods,” Mahad says of the methods he and his curriculum team used for the immersion program, which will be adopted by the St. Cloud School District and four others. (He also plans to add a dual English/Somali immersion program next year.) The interview also touches on the importance of maintaining fluency in a first language while learning a second and the formation, Diverse Voices Press, the publishing company that Mahad and his wife Hudda founded to provide stories for children of "underrepresented identities." Worth a read.