Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Operation Everyone Look Busy
The exasperated sighs you hear across town today are coming from journalists tasked with turning a buzzword-packed, detail-deficient new Minneapolis anti-crime initiative into a meaningful news story. What exactly is “Operation Endeavor”? Well, per the great communicator himself, Jacob Frey, it is a “data-driven” collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies determined to prove that “safety is not a priority right now on the agenda—it is the priority.” (“[Safety] is the thing I think about every morning when I wake up. It is the last thing I think about before we go to sleep,” Frey assures us, in his typical all-about-Jacob speaking style.)
So what exactly is the plan for this collab? “Everything is on the table,” says Community Safety Commissioner Cedric Alexander, providing the sort of crisp, no-nonsense answers you can also pay to hear him provide. Since the beefed-up presence will be centered downtown, even though that’s hardly the epicenter of violent crime, some might say this may amount to a cosmetic attempt to assuage the fears of Vikings fans rather than to curtail gun violence. Are we being cynically unfair to this nebulous, perhaps good-faith public safety effort? The Frey management technique of letting the public in on as little as possible certainly makes it hard not to be.
Oh, and as a reminder, winter is coming.
Locally Based Crypto Firm Goes Bust, Owes $500M In Real Money
Back in May, right as the crypto wave continued crashing down, Racket embedded our very own Jessica Armbruster inside U.S. Bank Stadium for the hilariously timed, grift-tastic VeeCon hype-fest of all things blockchain. Her colorful takeaways included terms like “snake oil” and “multi-level marketing schemes.” Fast-forward to today, and the perfect posterchild for the crypto implosion has emerged in our own backyard. Eden Prairie-based Compute North, one of the biggest crypto-mining data firms in the U.S., just filed for bankruptcy, Yahoo reports. In February, right as plans for the celeb-packed VeeCon were being hatched, Compute North announced that it had raised $385 (!) million in funding. Now, with its CEO headed out the door, the company owes an estimated $500 million to “at least” 200 creditors. Compute North operates four data-mining hangars—two in Texas, one in Nebraska, one in South Dakota—and the immense amount of energy required for such facilities is well-documented. Tom Emmer, please advise.
Phillips Activists Don’t Want People to Inhale Rooftop Depot’s Arsenic Plume
For nearly five years, the city of Minneapolis and Phillips neighbors have fought over what to do with the property at East 27th Street and Longfellow Avenue. The issue has grown so acrimonious that this week, when the Minneapolis City Council held a vote on whether or not to demolish the warehouse there, protestors showed in hopes of delaying the vote, which passed 7-4. “How can you conduct a meeting right now? This is not OK,” one activist shouted. Mayor Jacob Frey was not pleased. “Our government depends on the ability to conduct business,” he said after the meeting.
The city of Minneapolis, which owns the property, wants to demolish the structure and build a water distribution site that would house equipment. Activists want the building to be remediated if possible, as there are concerns that tearing it down would release a huge arsenic plume into the neighborhood. They’d also prefer the space be used as an urban farm. In May, Frey offered a compromise: East Phillips Neighborhood Institute would receive three acres of land while the city would build its facility. There was a caveat, of course: EPNI would have to drop its lawsuit against the city. EPNI has so far refused to sign the agreement; they want to see the city’s findings from the geotechnical consultant they hired to see if the building can remain.
St. Cloud Superman: Still Bad!
Until today, we had never heard of the St. Cloud Superman. The real-life John Fillah came across our radar when his most recent exploits—allegedly terrorizing St. Cloud State students by driving through campus while blaring his horn and yelling slurs—caught the attention of an area crime watch page. (The mugshot is worth checking out; the superhero jawline is real.) Superman was super arrested and super charged with disorderly conduct and blocking an intersection, according to the page, landing him in Stearns County Jail for the first time since 2016. But all that only partially answers: Who the hell is the St. Cloud Superman? For a more complete picture, we turned to Racket’s St. Cloud correspondent Stu Neuman, the friendly local Twitter personality/former St. Cloud resident. Stu writes:
“The St. Cloud Superman has been around forever. I moved to St. Cloud in 1989 and he was there, wearing a Superman costume and waving an American flag by the Dairy Queen. Weird, but benign. The years haven’t been kind to him. Trump/Facebook/conservative media radicalized not just your outstate family but also him. The American flag became a Confederate flag. Handwritten “HITLERY FOR PRISON” signs. Not great! St. Cloud is a much more diverse city than it used to be, particularly St. Cloud State, where he would go to exercise his free speech rights by railing against diversity, Hillary Clinton, affirmative action, basically an average Fox News viewer list of grievances. His torrent of slurs are (allegedly) racist as shit. It’s not funny anymore.”
Well there you have it. If you’ve made it this far in life without encountering the St. Cloud Superman, keep it up!