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Our Long Local BK Nightmare Might Be Over

Plus more Uptown Theater sign drama, more legal weed logistics, and Rob Thomas wasn't wrong in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Let her die!

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

Nicollet Burger King Finally Abdicates

For as long as anyone cares to remember, the former Burger King at 3342 Nicollet Ave. in south Minneapolis has been fenced in and unoccupied. And for almost as long as anyone can remember—well, at least since 2019—the chain’s corporate office has been tussling with the city to allow the restaurant’s drive thru to reopen. Well, that’s all come to a close, reports Dan Niepow at Twin Cities Business. CBRE, the Texas-based commercial real estate firm that owns the site, has put the land up for sale.

Let's briefly recap the long Burger King wars. In late 2019, the chain sought to reopen its drive thru. But several months earlier, the city had passed an ordinance banning drive thrus, and the chain’s application was denied. Then, thanks to the valiant lobbying efforts of former City Council President Jackie Cherryholmes, an appeal to the Minneapolis Zoning and Planning Commission went through, and Burger King thought they'd once more be serving Whoppers to lines of idling motor vehicles. That's when Adam Wysopal, who lives across the street from the fallen Burger King, stepped in. It took two separate lawsuits, but Wysopal eventually wore Burger King corporate down. Hennepin County estimates that the site’s market value is $854,200.

The WHAT Theater?!

Last fall a Racket reader wondered what the hell was up with the landmark, 50-foot-tall vertical UPTOWN sign disappearing from the Uptown Theater. Slavish in our devotion to you, the subscribing reader, we reached out to city of Minneapolis comms man Casper Hill, who told us “none of [the renovation] permits included any changes to the building’s iconic sign” and that the city was investigating. We checked back with him again this past March, which yielded... 

“The owner [Swervo Development] removed the letters prior to receiving a Certificate of Appropriateness from the [Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission ] to do so," Hill said. "The owner has indicated to City staff that they intend to clean and repair the letters, and possibly change out the lighting. However, we cannot confirm this because no plans have been submitted to the city.”

Fast-forward to today: Wedge LIVE! has yet another update. The freshly renovated 107-year-old concert hall is still missing its exterior signage from 1939, though elements of it have resurfaced along the interior walls as decoration. “Here's a real crime against history,” tweeted (xeeted?) Wedge LIVE!’s John Edwards. “Without city permission, the Uptown Theater's new owners removed 18 historic vertical letters from three sides of the building's sign. Six of those letters were reinstalled horizontally on the wall inside the theater.”

The other 12 letters? They were allegedly trashed by contractors due to their unsalvageable conditions. A Swervo rep reportedly told Council Member Lisa Goodman that a refabricated/re-lit sign could be ready within six months, helpfully adding that the process is expensive; Goodman urged them to hurry. Click on Edwards's... *sigh*... "X" thread for more juicy details on the sign saga.

Legal Weed + Car = Lawsuits

It’s illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired, and weed will impair ya. But when the green stuff is legally green-lit next week, it’s unclear exactly how that law is going to be enforced. For starters, we don’t have a way to test if drivers are high right now or if they just got high last week. “We’re going to have to prove that they were impaired by the marijuana,” prosecutor Bill Lemons tells MPR

That’s no easy task! While saliva tests are in the works, that technology isn’t readily available yet. In the meantime, the Star Tribune details how cops are prepping for a new war against drugs. That includes $10 million in state funding set aside this year for a PSA media blitz and “training more drug recognition specialists to spot signs that a motorist may be impaired, including dilated pupils, bloodshot eyes, body tremors, and slurred speech.”

And that is where the lawsuits will come into play, whether police arrest someone they believe to be stoned or bust people for having weed in their car. “I would expect that every marijuana case we charge going forward will be challenged in some way if the drugs were obtained via a vehicle search,” Washington County Attorney Justin Collins warns MPR.

It Has Only Felt 7 Inches from the Midday Sun 67 Times in Twin Cities History

OK let's unpack that. If we're to believe that Santana and Rob Thomas define "a hot one" (i.e. days that feel seven inches from the midday sun) as 100+ degrees, and Racket absolutely does, then by that criteria the Twin Cities has only experienced 67 such days since 1873. How could we possibly know this? Because MPR's Paul Huttner, an honest-to-god meteorologist, checked with the Minnesota Climate Working Group, who told him:

The temperature reached 101 degrees F at the Twin Cities International Airport on June 20, 2022. This was the highest temperature recorded at the airport since July 6, 2012, and the first triple-digit temperature since 100 degrees F was recorded on May 28, 2018 (Memorial Day).

100-degree temperatures are relatively uncommon in the Twin Cities.  Looking back to 1873, the maximum temperature at the Twin Cities official measuring site has reached at least 100 F on just 67 days, covering 32 different years. Thus, these ultra-hot days only occur once every 4-5 years in the Twin Cities, but years that do have them often have more than one. The most was in 1936, with nine days.

The last time high temperatures reached or exceeded 100 degrees F twice in the same week was in July of 2012, and the last year with three or more100-degree maximum temperatures in the Twin Cities was 1988, when there were four.

How about that? Anyway, it's gonna be hot as shit out for the next few days, possibly even breaching that Santanan-Thomasonian mark. Stay cool!

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