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Tree Spree Beleaguers Bonsai Buffs

Plus rent strikers, prolonged ballot battles, and Hmong 'whiplash' in today's Flyover.

If you see a tree like this, don't steal it.
Image by pixaoppa from Pixabay

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

Tree Crimes Growing

The recent theft of several bonsai trees in Hopkins, including 80-year-old Japanese and Korean Hornbeam trees and a 250-year-old Ponderosa Pine, each worth thousands of dollars, has cultivators of the delicate growths setting up alarm systems, Fox 9 reports. The incident follows similar thefts in Minneapolis and St. Paul, though authorities are unsure if they’re related. Our question is: What’s happening to these trees? They require an intense amount of care. Are there fences who traffic in rare stolen bonsai trees? Is there a black market for these goods? Should Racket set up a sting operation on Facebook Marketplace posing as bonsai enthusiasts to catch the perps?

Renters Strike Back

With a rent control authorization proposal on the ballot in Minneapolis and an actual rent control ordinance on the ballot in St. Paul, we oft-overlooked non-homeowning tenants are atypically in the spotlight these days. Over in the Strib, Susan Du spoke with the occupants of a south Minneapolis apartment building who, with the support of several tenants’ rights groups, are holding a rent strike, protesting rent increases, vermin infestation, and unmade repairs. The building owner and management company claim they’re doing their best. (Guess which side most of the commenters take. Just guess.) 

Ballot Question Questioned Again

Don’t you hate these sequels? The public safety ballot question is back in court for a third time, as something still just doesn’t sit quite right for Don and Sondra Samuels (and that other guy). According to WCCO, the attorneys arguing to have the question struck predict “chaos and anarchy” if the proposal passes; attorneys defending the language say this is an argument over the merits of the bill disguised as a problem with the phrasing. The ballot does have to head to the printers by tomorrow afternoon so absentee ballots can head out on time. At this point, maybe Judge Jamie Anderson, who apparently has the perfect words in mind, should just write the question herself. 

St. Paul’s Asian-American Community Faces “Whiplash”

Last week, white supremacist vandals defaced a Tish Jones poem painted on the front of the Hmong Cultural Center Museum, the latest indicator of the recent rise in hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Today at Sahan Journal, Abe Asher spoke to Kang Vang, who teaches language and citizenship classes at the center, and the center’s executive director, Txong Pao Lee, about what the past year has been like for the Hmong community. “Whiplash is a good way of explaining it,” according to Vang.