Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Minneapolis Students Are Revolting
The Minneapolis School Board held a meeting last night, and it got a bit raucous. With the 18-day teacher strike over, logistics must now be ironed out regarding how this school year will conclude. After the board voted 5-2 to modify the school calendar, extending the school day hours and adding days to the school year, students chanted in protest—”our schools!” and “we are the students, the mighty, mighty students!” The students argue things like summer jobs and internships will be upended, noting that their input has not been considered by the squabbling adults in power. Eventually, Board Chair Kim Ellison called a recess. Southwest Voices has a good play-by-play here, including this wonderful sentence: “Superintendent [Ed] Graff left the meeting during the recess because some of the student protestors were using profanity.” Here’s an incredibly funny clip of the ordeal, which concludes with the students chanting “coward!” as Graff slinks away from an age group he has pretty obvious contempt for. (Update: About 40 minutes after we published this blog, SW Voices reported that Graff has resigned; he’ll hold his position with Minneapolis Public Schools until his contract expires in June.)
Oh, But When Tom Cruise Does This You Cheer?
Disclaimer: Racket in no way condones climbing on top of a moving bus. (Or a stationary bus, for that matter.) But! This was pretty wild: Yesterday afternoon someone wiggled through the skylight onto the roof of a Maple Grove Transit bus on I-94 in north Minneapolis. Fortunately the driver quickly (but not too quickly) pulled to the shoulder, because the situation could have easily gotten out of control. Another passenger might have climbed on the roof and there could have been a knife fight! And both of them would have to duck when the bus drove under an overpass. Or one of them could have jumped on to a passing car full of accomplices with Uzis. I have seen movies so I know this all can happen. “Yesterday was a wild one,” MGT spokesman Mike Opatz told the Strib. “You have to be nimble to do that.” Miraculously, nobody was injured.
It’s Payback Time for the Philando Fundraiser Scam
As a nutrition services supervisor at St. Paul’s J. J. Hill Montessori Magnet School, Philando Castile would often buy lunches for kids who couldn’t afford it. After Castile was killed by a cop during a routine 2016 traffic stop, Metropolitan State University professor Pamela Fergus decided to organize a fundraiser that would pay for St. Paul school lunches for kids in need. She raised $200,000 in honor of his memory. Sounds like a nice story, right? Well, it’s not. An inquiry was launched when Castile’s mother, Valerie, was denied an answer after asking how that money was being managed. The Attorney General’s Office alleged Fergus committed a breach of charitable trust, and failed to keep proper records. Now they have reached a settlement agreement where Fergus won’t have to admit guilt, but she will have to pay $120,000 back. “Failing to use every dollar raised to help those children was an insult to Philando’s legacy and all who loved him,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. The money Fergus returns will go to its intended cause: St. Paul students who need to pay down school lunch fees. The fact we live in a country where children are burdened by school lunch debt? That’s a galling problem we’re taking baby steps toward kinda, sorta addressing.
And Then There Were Four
Racket told you about the first two Starbucks in Minnesota that decided to take steps to unionize. We told you when a third Starbucks did likewise. So why stop now? A fourth Minnesota Starbucks, on Lyndale & 54th, is moving to unionize its “partners,” as the company euphemizes its employees. “I don’t feel we’re being treated fairly,” supervisor Phoebe Dehring told the Minnesota Reformer. While Starbucks’ wages are relatively strong, they haven’t kept pace with inflation. “We respect our partners’ right to organize,” says Starbucks spokesperson Sarah Albanesi, whose company is refusing to recognize unions voluntarily. So come on, who wants to be No. 5? Will we still be doing this when it’s the 23rd or 105th Starbucks? Who’s gonna stop us? You?