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OK, This Time Uptown Is REALLY Dead

Plus MPS backs down (for now?), the rich getter richer, and the most college-educated town in northern MN in today's Flyover.

2:13 PM CDT on May 23, 2022

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

More Like SUBurban Outfitters

Bad news for Minneapolis residents who like wearing urban outfits: Southwest Voices reports that the Urban Outfitters on Hennepin in Uptown is closing on June 20. (The somehow-still-thriving retailer can still be found in area malls.) This isn't a huge surprise, as the location has been up for sale or lease for two-and-a-half years—before the pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, and the beginning of the current bike lane controversy, fwiw. Following on the heels of a retail exodus out of the area, you could take this as further proof that rents in Uptown are too high to support commercial outlets and the business district needs a drastic reimagining, even if it means short-sighted developers who bought high have to take a soak. Or you could just complain about parking. (Incidentally, I once bought the crummiest brown cords of my life at that Urban Outfitters. The wales were rubbed practically flat in about a month. Just absolute garbage.) UO has long endured negative press because its diehard Philly-based Republican owners supported Rick Santorum, yet somehow this never eroded the biz's faux-chic hipster identity. I guess, to paraphrase Michael Jordan, Republicans buy crappy clothes too.

Beloved North High Principal Is Back… For Now

What is going on with the Minneapolis Public Schools? On Friday, North Community High School principal Mauri Friestleben announced that she’d been fired from her position because she’d joined her students in protesting the death of Amir Locke in February. Not fired, MPS quickly corrected her, but placed on leave. Now, after a weekend of social media outcry, the district has apparently changed its collective mind, saying that Friestleben will finish out the year as principal. School board members are calling the district’s actions unwarranted. "If this comes before us," the Star Tribune quotes El Amin as saying, "we're not going to vote to pass it." By all accounts an inspiring educator and leader, Friestleben was featured in a 2019 KARE 11 documentary, Love Them First.

On a happier note, look how sharp these North prom-goers look. I'm more grateful than ever that my own prom pics are not on the internet.

Minnesota’s Mega-Companies Are Having a Blast

International media outlets are happy to report what local ones not looking to upset Sunday Target ads don’t: Massive companies are jacking up prices and claiming that it’s due to inflation, all while profits skyrocket. “Media framing likely influences public perception,” the Guardian points out, noting that the press often cast companies in forgiving terms such as the “latest victim of ever-increasing inflation.” That, of course, is bullshit. The Star Tribune, to its credit, at least lets readers put the pieces together themselves via its annual survey of the top 50 publicly traded Minnesota companies. In this year’s edition, we see vampiric health insurance ghouls UnitedHealth Group Inc. at No. 1 ($17,285M in profits, up 12.2%), far outpacing anti-union zealots Target Corp. ($6,946M, up 59%) at No. 2. Titans of finance like U.S. Bancorp ($7,963M, up 60.6%), electricity like Xcel Energy Inc. ($1,597M, up 8.4%), and freaking snowmobiles like Polaris Inc. ($493.9M, up 295.8%) are all doing great as you do worse. 

The Brainy Tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead

A map depicting which counties boast the highest percentage of college grads recently blew up on Reddit’s popular r/dataisbeautiful page. The main takeaway, in terms of up-votes? Cook County—home to the BWCA, Grand Marais, and not a whole lot else—is a glowing spear of rural bookishness. “Grand Marais must have something special going on to have so many college grads in the middle of nowhere,” theorized the top vote-getter. (The conversation then devolves into chatter about how often Grand Marais residents must drive their hulking brains to Duluth for supplies.) Anyway! Sure enough, 45.2% of Cook County residents have college degrees, according to the latest census data, significantly higher than the statewide figure of 36.8%. Considering the growing societal suspicion that higher ed might be a scam, this northern Minnesota anomaly doesn’t suggest an inherent advantage or certainly greater virtue. It’s simply interesting enough for Redditors and the No. 4 Flyover blurb.

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