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Report: Minneapolis Is Growing, No Matter What Your Anoka County Uncle Says

Plus a ploy to make office work fun, secret ShotSpotters in schools, and cops attempt to rock in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:50 PM CDT on May 31, 2023

Matthew Paulson via Flickr|

Hello, Minneapolis.

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

Minneapolis: A City on the Grow!

If you read certain reactionary crank websites, Minneapolis remains a Mad Max-ian hellscape overrun by crime and, crucially, twerking, resulting in a population exodus that validates their decisions to live in homogeneous exurban isolation. (Seriously though, these dog-whistling freaks are obsessed with twerking.) But if you read just-released data from the Met Council, you'll learn that Minnesota's largest city is getting even bigger. Between 2020 and last year Minneapolis added 6,978 residents, according to the new report, bringing the estimated total population to 429,956. Haters will surely note that the 2019 Met Council figure for Minneapolis was 435,885, but hey, our city has been through some shit. As a whole, the report found that Hennepin County is up 11,088 folks over the past couple years, while Ramsey County appears to have lost 1,157; Washington, Scott, Dakota, Carver, and Anoka counties are all in the black. Worth noting: Numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau released earlier this year showed Hennepin County's population still in decline, so choose whichever numbers best fit your narrative—just know that ass-shaking is not a major factor.

Will Flour Sack Races Save Downtown?

When Strong Mayor Jacob Frey gave his State of the City address earlier this month, he asked downtown businesses to explore Tuesday through Thursday in-office work weeks, going so far as to christen Thursdays “Thriving Thursdays” or “Thirsty Thursdays.” “Whatever you want to call it—come back,” he begged, strongly. This Thursday, we’re going to get a taste of just how thriving things can get when The Commons (the grassy, bifurcated dead zone outside U.S. Bank Stadium) hosts Downtown Field Day, a lawn party featuring foam jousting, flour sack races, balloon tosses, and meet-and-greets with team mascots. You know, the kind of things adults want to do with their coworkers in the middle of the day. But it’s not a total dud of any event: If you're willing to stay downtown after hours you can enjoy a free show at 6 p.m. from indie rockers Bad Bad Hats.

Readin', Writin', and ShotSpotter

A fascinating consequence of the cyber attack on Minneapolis Public Schools earlier this year: It's not just student and teacher data that's been unleashed, but information the district itself wanted hidden. The 74's Mark Keierleber noticed contracts between MPS and ShotSpotter, the surveillance company that alerts police departments to gunshot blasts—efforts the district has tried to keep secret. "For nearly a decade," he writes, "Minneapolis Public Schools has made northside campus buildings available to bolster a massive surveillance network that peppers neighborhoods with microphones designed to detect, analyze and geolocate gunfire."

Teresa Nelson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, told Keierleber that though she commends efforts to control gun violence in schools, this agreement “adds a layer to the idea of policing in our schools” that concerns her. ShotSpotter might send police who are “ready for an extremely dangerous confrontation” to campuses “for no reason,” she says, due to false alarms from other loud noises. Paired with racial disparities in ShotSpotter locations, and the secretive nature of their collaboration with Minneapolis's public schools, the whole thing seems bad. Click here to revisit a 2019 Strib story about whether ShotSpotter is "a useful tool or an unproven sales pitch." 

Remember When Minneapolis Police Rocked?

As Jessica’s series of ElimiDATE recaps has taught us, YouTube is a veritable treasure trove (and really, is there any other kind of treasure trove) for archived footage of the many times trashy syndicated shows have zeroed in on Minneapolis over the years. And, really, what show was trashier than COPS? On Twitter, @travistiempo aka (extremely Cary Grant voice) Travis Travis Travis alerted Racket to the 1990 episode of COPS, set right here in Murderapolis, called "Women Cops," when he noticed a familiar face behind the drum kit: Officer Janee Harteau, who would one day be Police Chief Harteau and, even later, former Police Chief Harteau.

As you may recall, Harteau’s rockin’ ways were a major part of her origin story: She sang in a cover band in Hibbing called Magnum in her youth, and here she's in a duo with her partner, Officer Holly Keegel, who would later become Harteau's wife, and even later become Harteau's ex-wife. Cops! They’re just like us! (Or at least they’re just like your roommate who’s in that second-rate new wave revival band.) You can read a bit about Harteau's past, and about how many people were sure she’d turn the ol’ MPD around, in this 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul story by Steve Marsh. And you can watch Harteau rock out here:

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