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Police Chief Denies Seeing Video of Incident He’s No Longer Denying He Knew About

Plus free land in MN, covering IVF under insurance, and another reason not to go to Florida in today's Flyover news roundup.

Minneapolis Police Department Facebook|

Chief Brian O’Hara, explaining something

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

O'Hara's Story Shifts

It’s getting hard to keep track of what Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara says he didn’t know about and when he supposedly didn’t know about it. Last April, Deena Winter of the Minnesota Reformer reported that Tyler Timberlake, a new MPD recruit, had been arrested for using excessive force during his time as a cop in Virginia. In response, O’Hara claimed he had “just learned” of the incident, that he was as shocked as anyone, and that he would begin looking into a number of issues, such as why an easily Googleable incident had apparently slipped past the folks vetting Timberlake. 

But the chief’s denial came under renewed scrutiny last week after the department “separated” from Timberlake. (No one is saying whether he was fired or quit.) Over the weekend, the Star Tribune acquired emails showing that O’Hara had known of Timberlake’s arrest at the time he denied knowing about it. And today we got the chief’s response. "I did not know of the existence of video capturing a use-of-force incident involving this individual until after receiving a media inquiry," O’Hara said carefully. Of course, no one was really talking about whether O’Hara had seen the video, but since the chief isn’t talking to the press that’s all we’ve got for now.

Land Ho! 

Committed Racket readers are already aware there’s free land to be had in Middle River, Minnesota—home to our friends at The Honker newspaper. That Marshall County city of 302 ain’t alone in offering freebies, either. A land-seeking gumshoe on Reddit recently compiled this list of Minnesota communities offering similar homesteader specials: Tyler, Halstad, Hendrum, Argyle, Claremont, and New Richland. Among the advertised perks: no utility connection fees in Halstad; two years of free utilities in Hendrum; special financing in New Richland; and, in sweet home Middle River, goodies galore, including a year-long subscription to The Honker. (The Grand Forks Herald wrote in depth about the programs in Argyle, Halstad, and Middle River, all of which are located in northwest Minnesota.) As noted by several Redditors, the federal government is set to firehose Minnesota with $652 million in broadband funds, and our state legislature recently earmarked $100 million for rural broadband. So, should you decide to build your country dream home on a gratis lot, cross “the ability to browse Racket” off your list of worries. Millennials seeking to avoid stereotypes should stay away modern farmhouse constructions—aka the recently explored "Gaines Effect."

Should MN Insurers Cover IVF Treatments?

Editorializing wildly here: yes. The question is at the center of Briana Bierschbach's latest story for the Star Tribune, in which she reports on the exceedingly high costs associated with infertility treatments and the families that are advocating for insurance providers to help cover them. The number of people seeking treatment has been growing, and the number of IVF cycles at a number of Minnesota clinics hit record highs in 2021. But these treatments come with a hefty price tag, with a single round costing anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000. "People are taking out second mortgages on their home, cashing in their 401(k)s, maxing out credit cards and throwing bake sales just to start a family," Sen. Erin Maye Quade (DFL-Apple Valley), the bill's sponsor, tells the Strib. "We want people who want to be parents to be able to become parents." Right now, 21 states require insurers to cover infertility treatments; just 14 include IVF in that coverage. For a heartbreaking, deeply scientific glimpse at couples struggling with infertility—including one from the Twin Cities—watch this recent episode of Nova.

*Deep Sigh* Florida Update

Need another reason to avoid Florida? The state's latest crackdown on life and liberty is a law designed to target undocumented immigrants by invalidating driver's licenses from Delaware, Connecticut, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Beginning October 1, when Minnesota's Driver's License for All law goes into effect, allowing residents to get a license regardless of their immigration status, KSTP reports that Minnesota could join that list. Sure sounds unconstitutional for one state in the union to refuse to recognize IDs granted by another state, but what do we know? We stand with Hibbing's Doug Rosnau, who declares: “I think it’s a bunch of baloney."

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