Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
We Stole Everything… Have a Park Pass?
We’ll start with an obvious disclaimer: It’s a net-positive that members of Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations won’t have to spend $35 each year for State Parks & Recreation Areas vehicle permits beginning in January. The Minnesota DNR spearheaded the initiative for free park access last year, MinnPost reports, and state lawmakers recently compiled. “It’s a step in the right direction,” Kelly Applegate, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s commissioner of natural resources, tells Walker Orenstein. “We never put all those political boundaries, like state parks and state lines and counties and townships and cities. That was all imposed upon us—the concept of ‘you can’t come on these lands.’” The trifling nature of this colonial mea culpa is, however, screamingly fucked up. MinnPost’s piece goes into great historic detail regarding the bureaucratic meatgrinder responsible for such feckless lurches toward justice, noting that free park passes, for some, do signal increasing trust between tribal nations and the DNR.
Don’t Drink the Water in Andover or Gem Lake
Industrial chemicals from two corporations have left two separate towns and more than 50 homes without drinking water. The culprits, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, are two businesses with a history of pollution problems: the Waste Disposal Engineering (WDE) Landfill in Andover (now-closed) and Water Gremlin, a plant near the city of Gem Lake. Dozens of wells were found to be contaminated with dioxane, a carcinogenic toxin used in solvents and adhesives. While the city has been providing affected homes with bottled water, it is unclear if their wells will ever be safe to use again.
Cops Are Fucking Up the City Budget
The Minneapolis Police Dept. is negatively impacting the city’s bottom line, Minnesota Reformer’s Deena Winter reports. Why is the department hemorrhaging cash? Workers’ comp claims paid to officers, many of whom are claiming PTSD following the police murder of George Floyd, and lawsuits tied to police brutality. The city’s self-insurance fund pays for those types of things, but the fund balance has nose-dived from $21 million in 2016 to negative $98 million at the end of last year. It’s looking even worse this year, and Minneapolis taxpayers will have to come to the financial rescue, Winter reports. Read the whole piece for dire fiscal details related to the current state of Minneapolis policing.
Great. Some Luggage Delivery Service Says Minnesota is No. 3
In news no one asked for, baggage movers My Baggage has proclaimed Minnesota the third best place to relocate to, just behind Kansas and Nebraska. “Google searches for ‘how to move to the US’ are up 40% since last year–showing the American dream is very much still alive,” the blog post proclaims. While we don’t know that you can determine where the American dream stands in the current zeitgeist via Google searches, My Baggage used things like employment, cost of living, “happiness,” and job prospects were all things considered when making this very important, presumably influential list. Well, Minnesota does have a lot of baggage these days…