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The Old Streetcar Tracks Are Reclaiming Uptown

Plus MNHS union triumphs, plans to help trans visitors from out-of-state, and an APM castoff gets new life in today's Flyover.

4:55 PM CST on March 9, 2023

Mike Norton on Twitter|


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

Minneapolis Potholes: 'Never Forget What They Took From You'

It's pothole city out there right now, folks. The endless freeze-thaw we experience at the tail end every winter-meets-spring season feels like it's been particularly whiplash-y this year, and, as a result, the city's roadways are more hole than street here in early March. Do you have a favorite pothole in Minneapolis right now? Folks on Reddit shared their picks over the weekend. (Go see if your favorite gets a mention!) One pothole grouping that gets a nod there, and is now making the rounds on Twitter, is located at Lake and Hennepin in Uptown, where the pavement has deteriorated so much that the old rail car tracks are now visible below. Check this out:

Pretty neat! Now imagine if they never paved over the streetcar tracks in the first place...

MN Historical Society Union Wins First-Ever Contract

On September 1, 2021, when around 300 Minnesota Historical Society workers alerted management of their union campaign, they heard crickets. The taxpayer-boosted nonprofit org eventually declined to recognize the AFSCME Council 5-affiliated union, though their hand was forced that November when workers voted to officially unionize. Over a year later, MNHS workers told Racket that their initial contract demands had been met with "heel-dragging, defensiveness, and indifference."

The news that arrived Wednesday was more pleasant: The Minnesota Historical Society union has reached a tentative agreement with the bosses, and that their first-ever contract should be ratified within a month, according to Molly Jessup, a MNHS program specialist and union president. “People in the state of Minnesota entrust us to take care of important objects, papers, buildings, places, and stories for the next generation," Jessup told us last year. "For us, as workers, this isn’t just a matter of ourselves right now, but also who’ll come after us and work for the Historical Society. How do we set them up to be successful?” Click here to see the basic framework of the contract, which took 40 weeks of bargaining to hammer out.

Will Minnesota Become a Trans Refuge?

We’ve already seen Minnesota become something of an “abortion access island” after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Now, as anti-trans legislation and state action proliferates across the country, we may also become a refuge for trans people as well, Grace Deng at the Minnesota Reformer writes. Yesterday, Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order directing state agencies to ensure that no one who seeks gender-affirming care will face legal repercussions. That would include people from out-of-state who come to Minnesota—under Walz’s order, state agencies cannot cooperate with states that have criminalized gender-affirming care. 

Proposed legislation from Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul) would enshrine these protections in law, while providing further protections to anyone who travels from a more restrictive state to Minnesota for gender-affirming care. In January Finke introduced the “Trans Refuge Bill,” and she is working on getting it to the House floor. Deng’s piece quotes trans people and their families discussing the effect on their lives the bill might have, looks at the history of gender-affirming care, and handily deflects some criticisms from right-wing activists.

APM’s Award-Winning Podcast ‘In the Dark’ Sold to The New Yorker

When Racket reported on the state of Minneapolis Public Radio last June, the status of its In the Dark podcast was still unclear. In May, American Public Media Group (MPR’s parent company) had announced that APM Reports, which produced the show, was ceasing operations. “After almost three weeks, MPR management has not provided us with any information regarding the fate of the work and the employees of APM Reports,” members of the MPR News/APM Reports union told Racket at the time. It seemed like an odd move; the longform investigative program had already won two Peabody awards for its deep dives into the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling (season 1) and wrongful imprisonment of Curtis Flowers (season 2).  

Well, it turns out there was money, not blood, in the air: In the Dark will live to see another day, as it was sold to The New Yorker. Huzzah! A third season of the show is currently in the works, and the first two seasons will soon be available on the site. The New Yorker confirms that host/lead reporter Madeleine Baran, managing producer Samara Freemark, and much of ITD’s former staff will be returning. The announcement also teases further collaborations with the Conde Nast-owned magazine, including possible new narrative series.

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