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Strib Drops Cartoonist, Adds Weed Newsletter

Plus the Merwin Liquors problem, televised local music, and a beautiful glimpse into the soul of Minnesota in today's Flyover news roundup.

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One-hundred percent of Racket’s workforce used to work here.

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

Strib News: Cartoonist Position Eliminated; Weed Newsletter Sprouts

We had some fun at Mike Thompson’s expense when he stumbled out the gate as the Star Tribune’s editorial cartoonist this spring, following 40+ years of Steve Sack in that role. It would prove to be a short-lived gig: On Monday, the Strib announced that its new cartoonist has been demoted to a freelancer. The paper’s self-reporting, which mercifully doesn’t read like total PR copy, notes that the Star Tribune hasn’t been without a full-time staff cartoonist in decades, and Sack ain’t happy about that; the demotion is a "terrible decision," Sack says, calling Thompson a "very good cartoonist." Thompson, who said Monday he’s "excited to try something new,” got off to an inauspicious start in April with a debut cartoon that Racket’s Keith Harris described thusly: "To put the most charitable spin on the piece, it’s muddled hackwork working off the dumbest assumptions about city life." The paper yanked the cartoon after cries of Islamophobia, and newish CEO Steve Grove apologized for publishing it.

In cheerier Stribland news: Today digital projects editor Matt DeLong announced the arrival of Nuggets, a new weekly newsletter that'll chronicle (weed-adjacent term) the wavy, gravy to-dos of legal cannabis in Minnesota. Writes Delong: "Nuggets is a niche news product unlike any you've seen previously from the Star Tribune. It will be tailored for its audience, and will include exclusive content for Nuggets subscribers. It might not be for everybody, but we hope Nuggets will appeal to a broad cross-section of readers, from the cannabis-curious to connoisseurs." (He urges folks 21 and older to subscribe, but we're guessing there's feather-soft enforcement of that cutoff.) Set to drop soon, the first edition of Nuggets will feature a special report on how Minnesota tribes are faring as the state's first legal sellers of marijuana flower.

How’s Merwin Liquors Doing These Days?

Last fall, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison made headlines when he announced a civil probe into Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station in north Minneapolis. The parking lot the two properties share had long been a hotbed of violent crime, but this focused attention on that site seems to have worked—to a point. The parking lot is safer, the store is under new ownership, and Ellison decided not to initiate a suit against the new owners. Tonight, the city will hold a public hearing at the Northside Community Center regarding whether to issue those new owners a liquor license. But many in the neighborhood are saying the crime has simply shifted to a new locale, according to Mohamed Ibrahim at MinnPost. The concern is that Ellison and other officials will declare “mission accomplished” and abandon North Side public safety efforts. Says Paul Vliem, development director of the north Minneapolis housing nonprofit Urban Homeworks, “Our sense is that now that it’s off the public radar, it’s not getting the attention that it needs, the attention that our residents need.”

Live Local Music on the TV

What if Twin Citians had a localized version of Austin City Limits, and it went down in the wonderfully dark, cramped confines of First Avenue’s 7th St. Entry? Turns out we do! TPT just announced season three of its Stage series, which’ll debut October 13 via TV and the public station’s app. The stacked lineup should be familiar to even casual fans of local music—Doomtree rapper/singer Dessa, indie-psych rockers Night Moves, harmonious country bros Cactus Blossoms, singer-songwriter Chastity Brown, Native hip-hopper Tall Paul, and alt-rock standbys Soul Asylum. Stage episodes air Fridays at 8 p.m. through November 17.  

  • Oct. 13: Dessa w/ 29:11 
  • Oct. 20: Night Moves w/ Shady Cove 
  • Oct. 27: Cactus Blossoms w/ Jack Klatt 
  • Nov. 3: Chastity Brown w/ Humbird 
  • Nov. 10: Tall Paul w/ Joe Rainey 
  • Nov. 17: Soul Asylum w/ Loki's Folly

A Beautiful, Deeply Minnesotan Muffin Landscape Photo

Is it weird that we think this image of trash in a lake is poetry? Shot at the Lake of the Isles at sunset, this pic isn’t just about some asshole who threw a Cub Foods' baked good, clamshell and all, into the water. It also captures the classic Minnesotan struggle to never take the last piece, in this case a banana chocolate chip muffin, to the detriment of the environment. Anyway, John Edwards over at Wedge LIVE! shared the image last night, noting that he took the time afterward to pull the detritus out of the lake using a tree branch. We urge you to study it—really study it—as one would Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

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