Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Your 2022 James Beard Awards semifinalists are here, and they are... good… but also a little confusing! Let's start with the unsurprising stuff: Sean Sherman, head chef of the much-lauded Owamni, is shortlisted in the Best Chef Midwest category. He's joined by Union Hmong Kitchen's Yia Vang, along with Jorge Guzmán of Petite León and Erik Skaar of Spring Park's Vann. Owamni and Union Hmong Kitchen are also Best New Restaurant semifinalists. Where it gets *extremely Minnesota voice* interesting is in the Outstanding Restaurateur category, which includes Kim Bartmann of the Bartmann Group as a nominee. That's quite a choice, given that "outstanding" most recently referred to wages Bartmann owed her staff; they launched a petition in 2020 to recover thousands of dollars they were never paid before the pandemic shutdown. The restaurateur was the subject of an investigation by the state attorney general's office that culminated in a $230,000 settlement last year. Just seems like a funny choice, is all. You can find all the semifinalists here.
Tick Tick Tick
Teachers’ strikes in Minneapolis and St. Paul became that much more of a possibility today, as union reps in both cities announced that they would file an “intent to strike.” Union members already authorized a strike last week; this is a legal requirement that starts the clock running and permits a strike to begin 10 days from now. St. Paul has set a hard deadline: a new contract or a March 8 strike. In Minneapolis, this would be the first teachers’ strike in 52 years, and the last one was considerably different. Let’s hope for a speedy resolution to these contract disputes, for the sake of union members and students— and also so we’ll be able to tell our Twitter followers apart again. Because right now our notifications look like this.
New Prague Racism Plague
St. Louis Park High School has announced that its students will no longer compete with New Prague High School after the latter’s hockey players allegedly made racist insults against a player on the SLP team. Bring Me the News has the whole rundown: According to a St. Louis Park player, members of the New Prague team called an opponent a "monkey" and told him to "go back to the 1860s." New Prague seems scarily committed to this “monkey” thing. During a girls varsity basketball game against Cooper High School earlier this month, fans allegedly made monkey noises toward the visiting players, while in a ninth-grade basketball game, two girls in the stands reportedly Benilde-St. Margaret's player as a "monkey" as he shot free throws. St. Louis Park Athletic Director Andrew Ewald made this statement: "As I said when New Prague High School was applying to the Metro West Conference, 'I will not stand for your community and students to have teachable moments at the expense of our students.' Therefore, I will not tolerate or allow our students to further experience any racism while participating in athletics against New Prague High School."
CenterPoint Gives It the Gas
CenterPoint Energy didn't become a Fortune 500 company by caring about its customers or the environment. As temps dip, customers get gouged by soaring heating bills; as corporate PR machines whir to spin natural gas as environmentally friendly, more facts about the dirty fossil fuel emerge. A new report from the Energy & Policy Institute neatly encapsulates the Texas-based utility's ingrained disdain for people and the planet. In it, writer Karlee Weinmann details how CenterPoint dangles cash and luxury vacations in front of builders as incentives to equip new constructions with gas appliances. For each gas appliance installed, builders receive “Builders Club” points from CenterPoint that they can redeem for trips to Mexico, Croatia, and other destinations. All of this flies in the face of the company's pledge to go net-zero emissions by 2035, considering electric appliances are reportedly better for the climate and customers' wallets; home and business gas use accounts for 80% of total CenterPoint emissions, EPI points out. Meanwhile, Minnesotans saw their year-over-year CenterPoint bills pop by 63%. “I’m praying, praying, praying, because every day that bill is on my mind," Bebe Brandt told Minnesota Reformer.