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Has the Rudolphs Bar-B-Que Curse Been Lifted?

Plus popular MN names, divestment ahoy, and Naz Reid in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Looking bad, Rudolph’s!

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

Exorcism in Whittier

Perhaps you remember that two years ago, Racket chose “The 12 Most ‘Cursed’ Restaurant Spaces in the Twin Cities.” But do you recall the most cursed restaurant space of all? Rudolphs Bar-B-Que occupied the building of the northeast corner of Lyndale & Franklin for 43 years, but since it shut down in 2018 that prime bit of real estate has been a big old graffiti-strewn zero. Check out our 2022 story to read the harrowing tale of how a planned pinkwashed sports bar in that spot never opened, due in large part to its owner’s antisemitic social media comments.

But now, Finance & Commerce reports, a company called Team Steady has bought the space and has announced unspecified designs on reopening it as… something. “I think a lot of people had ideas or plans to just tear it down or turn it into a parking lot, but I had a pretty strong conviction that I think we could salvage the building and have it still remain a positive use for the neighborhood,” says company president Sam Steadman. Any suggestions?

Oh, and P.S.: Thanks to Dan Netter at F&C for the link to our “cursed spaces” story—and let this be a reminder that there’s no surer way to get your story blurbed in The Flyover than by linking to Racket. We are shameless and needy.  

No, Everyone Isn’t Naming Their Kid “Wrenley”

Every year, Jeff Hargarten of the Star Tribune whips up a fun little interactive story called “How popular is your name in Minnesota?” that uses data from the Social Security Administration to let us know what we are and aren’t naming our kids. This year, once again, “Charlotte” wins for girls, thanks to the enduring popularity of Sex and the City or E.B. White or (ugh, I know this is the correct answer) the British royal family. For the boys, Theodore came out on top, edging out Alvin and Simon. (Just a little Chipmunks humor, folks! O! K!)

You can check to see how popular your own name has been over time (sadly only five Keiths were born in Minnesota last year, for instance) and, perhaps best of all you can scan the odd list of "trending Minnesota names," which shows the names that have grown most in popularity since the preceding year. Colter? Haisley? Wrenley? Are people really naming their kids this?

Well... yes, but not that many people. Please let me now ruin this cute little tradition with MATH. The “Trending Minnesota names” chart is always packed with unlikely monikers: This year's winners—Tatum for boys and Wrenley for girls—both saw an increase of about 700%. But! That's because so few people named their kids that last year. Percentages lie! Never trust them when you see them in news stories!

Divestment Fever Sweeps MN

According to the governor’s office, the state of Minnesota has $116 million invested in Israeli companies and weapons manufacturers. And for the hundred or so protesters who showed up at yesterday’s meeting of the State Board of Investment at the Capitol, that’s $116 million too much, MPR news reports. The four-member board (Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, State Auditor Julie Blaha, and Secretary of State Steve Simon) heard from speakers who, among other arguments, stated that divestiture is hardly unprecedented: In 2009, Minnesota stopped investing in Iran, and it divested in Belarus and Russia in 2022.

Speaking of divesting from Israel, how well is the U of M following through on its pledge to provide details of its investments in Israeli corporations and defense contractors? Last week, the university listed the companies in question, in which it has invested over $5 million; this week, the school provided more information about how those funds are invested. But Adam Abu, a student representative from UMN Divest, says his group isn’t satisfied. “We want everything to be accessible and easy to read,” Abu told MPR. “It shouldn’t be hard, it shouldn’t take hours, it shouldn’t take days and weeks to research companies that are invested [in] by the university.” He’s got a point. (Hear from U of M protesters in their own words here.) 

All That Naz

We’re big fans of Jazz88 KBEM here at Racket. Or at least we were big fans of Jazz88. Now we’re big fans of Naz88, as the station rechristened itself this week, in honor of the Timberwolves’ sixth-man-turned-rally-cry Naz Reid. (I guess they couldn’t have gotten away with BringYaAss88.) All this week, program music director and all around good guy Sean McPherson will be singing (not literally) Reid's praises during his afternoon shows. Wolves—and I cannot stress this enough—Back.

P.S. McPherson recently reminded us of this revealing 2016 CP interview about his band Heiruspecs, whose 2004 album, A Tiger Dancing, almost broke 'em to the big time. It's worth revisiting as the album turns 20.

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