Skip to Content

Report: Minneapolis Only Has to Breathe Burning Trash for Another 17 Years

Plus Heavy Table's croissant-o-rama, making it harder to feed the hungry, and VeeCon revisited in today's Flyover news roundup.


Our beautiful trash incinerator

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

We Don’t Make Trash, We Burn It

Every single day, 200 dump trucks transport 2 million pounds of trash to the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center in downtown Minneapolis. That waste is incinerated and the heat is used to provide electricity for Xcel. But HERC is meeting increased opposition from activists, state legislators, and nearby residents who’d prefer not to breathe burning garbage, Dan Kraker reports for MPR News. HERC went into operation in 1989 as an alternative to landfills, but opponents of the incinerator say the county needs to discontinue incineration and step up recycling measures.

State legislator Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) calls the incinerator “an environmental catastrophe” as well as an environmental justice issue; Nazir Khan of the “Minnesota Environmental Justice Table says shutting down HERC “will necessarily increase zero waste efforts. Because it frees up investment. It’s going to shift the political will.” So today's report from county officials that proposed winding down the plant in 2040 did not go over very well. "This is not a shutdown plan," said Mary Blitze of the Sierra Club. "This is just a report that says 'maybe 2040.' That's not progress."

A Croissant Gauntlet

Lord knows we love a stunt food ranking here at Racket, and the folks at Heavy Table have outdone themselves with this taste test of 19 (!) different croissants from Twin Cities bakeries. Heavy Table's four testers couldn't see where each croissant came from, and they ranked each on a 50-point scale: 20 for texture, 20 for flavor, and 10 for appearance and miscellaneous observations. Just one croissant topped 40 points; one beloved south Minneapolis bakery walked away with a frankly abysmal 13.75 points. There are some surprises here—Bellecour fares just slightly better than Lunds, which itself fares better than Patisserie 46—and some not-so-surprising outcomes, too. (We won't tell you who takes home top honors, but most Twin Cities foodies can probably figure out the St. Paul bakery that outshined all others.) Situated solidly in the middle of the pack, my beloved May Day Cafe got one of my favorite notes from testers: “Probably not how a croissant is supposed to taste, but I really like it!”

Bummer: Feeding Saint Paul Has Shut Down for Now

Since 2020, Feeding Saint Paul has hosted weekly events in a park area across the street from the Dorothy Day Center in downtown St. Paul. Every Sunday afternoon, volunteers fire up a grill, pack to-go boxes, and serve the food-insecure and unhoused free of charge. The fate of the organization is in limbo, however, as police shut the gatherings down in late August. Their reason comes down to the event messing up traffic, folks parking illegally to pick up food, and trash being left behind. The City of St. Paul wants FSP to apply for an event permit, but founder Mike Brendale estimates that they’d have to come up with $13,520 annually to obtain the paperwork needed. "We're trying to regroup, trying to figure out a new plan," he tells James Walsh at the Strib. "Right now, we're hoping we can find private property to do this."

Remember the Massive NFT Rally at U.S. Bank Stadium?

For one long weekend in May last year, Minneapolis rolled out the red carpet for the first-ever VeeCon. The naked NFT grift-a-palooza came courtesy of tech huckster Gary Vee, who was warmly greeted with a Minneapolis-is-back embrace from Mayor Jacob Frey. Our local press previewed the four-day U.S. Bank Stadium event with maximum credulity, even when its spokesperson condescended with lines like, "We really wanted to go to a market that we can actually put on the map in terms of going to a place that people have never been before." ("There is a huge opportunity for those who have zero knowledge of NFTs or web3 to come to this event," added the shameless Maha Abouelenein.)

Fast-forward to today, and you'll encounter headlines about a new study that found NFT values are trending higher than ever. Just kidding! About 95% of 'em have lost 100% of their value, according to a survey of 73,000 NFT collections by dappGambl. Attendees of May's VeeCon 2.0, this one held in the unknown market of Indianapolis, Indiana, hopefully saw this slow-motion crash coming. Gone were the A-listers like Spike Lee, Eva Longoria, Snoop Dogg, and Mila Kunis who jetsetted into MSP in 2022; the top-billed celeb shills appearing at Lucas Oil Stadium included Minnesota's own Yung Gravy, Neil Patrick Harris, Busta Rhymes, and sobbing scab Drew Barrymore, followed by a steep dropoff in star power.

Why are we telling you all of this? As a roundabout way of suggesting a re-read of Jessica Armbruster's on-the-ground report from VeeCon '22, perhaps the only instance of honest reporting to come from the star-studded bamboozle. Concluded Jessica:

So why are they so fixated on indoctrinating you through conventions, celebrity endorsements, and endless talk about revolutionizing the world? Because, as with all Ponzi schemes, some schmuck has to be left holding the bag when everything implodes. This is not a peoples’ revolution. This is just a new way for the rich to get richer.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter