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Today’s Flyover: Samuelses, COVID, and Bears!

Ballot question questioned, COVID not over, bears unbearable.

A bear eats grass in a field.
This blank stare speaks only of a half-bored interest in food.
Photo by Pete Nuij on Unsplash

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

More Questions About Ballot Question

Don and Sondra Samuels are back in the news—and back in court. The northside Minneapolis couple, who have made themselves the public face of opposition to the public safety ballot question, are asking a court to toss out the question for being “misleading.” (They’re joined by real estate developer Bruce Dachis.) You may remember the former city council member (Don) and nonprofit CEO (Sondra) from such previous lawsuits as “The Charter Says We Need More Cops.” (Which, you may also remember, they won.)  When it comes to funding the battle over the ballot question, the Strib reports, the “money spigot” has been opened. Good time for any scammers out there to form some new group called Neighbors Reimagining Safety Together or All Minneapolis Is Now One or something. If you want to understand the ballot question, though, don’t listen to those groups. Just read this.

COVID Still Exists in Minnesota

As the pandemic lingers, Minnesota hospitals are beset by staffing shortages, according to the Pioneer Press. “All the beds in the world are worthless without skilled, experienced health care workers to staff them and to provide care,” says Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for the Minnesota Department of Health. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state senate, who’ve dubbed their anti-health agenda a fight for “medical freedom,” are targeting Public Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and making misleading claims about Minnesotans dying from COVID-19 vaccinations, according to MPR. At least there’s some good news out of Rochester: The Mayo Clinic reports that it has developed an antibody treatment that can be effective against COVID. 

Sometimes the Bear Eats You(r Food Donation)

People have been incredibly generous to Minnesotans who’ve been displaced by the Greenwood Fire—and black bears want a piece of that action. The problem is that ordinarily conflict avoidant beasties get ornery when there’s food involved. (I can relate, bears!) Officials up north are asking that further donations be made to food banks or fire departments. Thanks to moderate weather and ceaseless human effort, the Greenwood Fire is now 37% contained. Rain later in the week may also help with containment efforts.

Fair Attendance Still Down

It wasn’t the rain—or at least it wasn’t just the rain. Minnesota State Fair attendance has remained low even as the weather has improved. Attendance nearly broke 150,000 on Monday, but though that was the biggest day this year for the fair, it was still below average for recent years. In other fair news, here’s a bizarre thread of people getting angry that KSTP said it was Military Appreciation Day at the fair “according to fair organizers.” (Isn’t every day Military Appreciation Day in the U.S.?)

State Rep Loses Fingers to Power Saw

Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL-37A) cut off three of her fingers in a power saw accident yesterday. Thanks to the quick response of an EMT, a surgeon was able to attach one of the Spring Lake Park resident’s fingers. (Sadly, Koegel has lost the other two.) There’s a Go Fund Me to help provide care for her two-year-old daughter as Koegel recovers