Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Gallant Tiger Makes Smuckers Get Catty
Last month we told you about Gallant Tiger, the locally made take on crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from Stepchld owner/Nashville Coop founder Kamal Mohamed. They’re a great idea and I’m glad they exist! But not everyone is so happy about them—namely Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Co., makers of Uncrustables. The Strib reported yesterday that the company’s legal team is going after Mohamed and his cheffy pre-packaged PB&Js, saying they’re infringing on their trademark “round crustless sandwich design,” and saying they can’t show the sandwich on their packaging with a bite taken out of it. Smucker demands Gallant Tiger “permanently cease and desist from manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution of sandwiches that resemble” Uncrustables. Mohamed says: I don’t think so, pal (in so many words). “Either they can compete with us in the market, the good old American way, or they can invest in us,” he tells the Strib.
The Faces Behind 3M’s Massive Toxic Plume
It’s no secret that 3M knowingly dumped harmful PFAS—aka “forever chemicals”—around the east metro for 40 years. The human toll it took is just beginning to be revealed in exposes like this new two-parter from the Minnesota Reformer, the first installment of which arrived today courtesy of reporter Deena Winter. In it, we learn about the lunch table demographics at Oakdale’s Tartan High School—like the goths, the jocks, and “the cancer kids.” “It was such a normal thing to be around cancer, growing up in Oakdale,” THS grad John Leibel tells Winter. We meet another THS grad, Amara Strande, who has endured 20 surgeries related to a 15-pound tumor that was discovered on her liver when she was just a teen.
In 2018, a water pollution lawsuit filed by the state against 3M was settled for $850 million, though Attorney General Lori Swanson was seeking around $5 billion remediate the Maplewood-based company’s 100-square-mile underground plume. There’s a “limited nature of evidence indicating that PFAS cause harmful effects,” 3M insists today. Quotes from people like Strande hit a helluva lot harder: “I don’t know if 3M is responsible for causing my cancer… but they know that what they were producing was toxic. I wish they would just admit that they were dumping these horrible chemicals, admit that it was wrong and that they were doing it instead of hiding it.” Be on the lookout for Pt. 2 of “There Must Be Something in the Water.”
Doors Open Minneapolis Is Coming Back
Launched in 2019, Doors Open Minneapolis gave folks free behind-the-scenes access to the coolest buildings in town—the Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, the Main Post Office, and the Pillsbury A Mill, to name just a few of the 100+. Now, after taking a Covid break, the program will come back from May 13-14. Organizers tell us here’ll be returning favorites (Federal Reserve Bank, Prospect Park’s “Witch’s Hat” Water Tower) as well as new ones (The Dayton’s Project, Architectural Antiques). The full lineup is still being ironed out. In fact, if you’re the type of person who can grant access into neat landmarks, the team at Doors Open encourages you to join the civic party via this application. “This is an opportunity to explore that building—and by extension, the stories of our city,” Mayor Jacob Frey told the Strib’s Andy Mannix in ’19.
Terrifyingly Epic Nutcracker Army in Rural MN Waits to Come Alive, Probably
“There are now more nutcrackers than people living in Luverne,” an MPR article warns of Rock County Historical Society Museum’s collection. It all started with a 2016 donation of 2,500 nutcrackers from Betty Mann, a collector and former president of the society. Since then, more and more nutcrackers have come rolling in, including a donation of 1,300 ‘crackers from enthusiast Robert Black. There are old nutcrackers from Germany; there are nutcrackers as pop-culture characters like Darth Vader; and there’s an abstract nutcracker made of Legos. Some are tiny, some stand eight-feet tall. And there are many of them. This year, the museum announced that it has amassed over 5,000 nutcrackers, about 54 more than the people living there. Mann says that not everyone in town likes the festive tourist trap, but she couldn’t care less. “There are people in Luverne who were not very fond of the nutcrackers and that’s fine,” she says. “It’s their personal feeling. But for me, I did it to draw people into the museum, and it has done that job.” Take a little tour of the collection via TikTok below.