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Truck Toting Taters Topples, Tangles Traffic

Plus the details on Hutch's DUI, what's going on at MN Shopkos, and thousands of Hennepin County workers are ready to strike in today's Flyover.

Rodrigo dos Reis

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Topple The Tater

Highway spill stories like these are always a lot of fun (for us at least, probably not for the driver). An early morning crash on I-94 near Albertville led to a truckload of potatoes getting dumped all over the road, and because it was -10 degrees out, the Star Tribune reports, those spuds instantly started freezing to the pavement. The interstate was blocked for hours as crews worked to de-tater the pavement. Pure Minnesota comedy, folks. At around 11:30 a.m., MNDOT spokesperson Jake Loesch issued a perfect update for the people of Twitter: “I yam pleased to report that the in-tater-state is cleaned up and yukon drive on it again.”

Hutch’s DUI Details 

Earlier today, The Minnesota State Patrol released the case files from Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson’s DWI crash, and good god, are they bleak. Journalist Tony Webster has the whole rundown on Twitter, with photos of the smashed up car and the firearms Hutch had in his possession at the time. It looks like the sheriff was driving 125 MPH leading up to the crash, and, as previously reported, initially denied that he was driving the car at all. “The first thing he said to me was ‘I wasn’t driving the car…it’s not my car, I don’t know whose it is,’” the first motorist to arrive at the scene said, noting a bottle of booze on the front seat by the guns. The files include audio and dashcam footage of the incident, and the whole thing makes you realize how lucky Hutchinson was to walk away from the crash alive.

Hennepin County Workers Are Ready to Strike

More than 3,500 social service and clerical workers are ready to walk off the job. The Hennepin County employees’ screamingly reasonable demands? Better wages, hazard pay, and improved protections against the raging pandemic. Should the county refuse, a 10-day strike is set to begin on February 2. “We are serious about getting what our members deserve for all the work they’ve been doing at the county through a global pandemic,” public health nurse Deb Konechne told Minnesota Reformer during a picket-line march Wednesday in Minneapolis. Represented by AFSCME, the workers–including nurses, child protection workers, psychologists, and folks with a whole lotta other important jobs–filed their intent to strike yesterday after they rejected what the country billed as its “last, best and final offer.” Contract negotiations began way back in June. Give ‘em hell, county workers.

Do You Believe in Life After Shopko?

Ever wondered what’s going on inside old Shopko spaces? Greta Kaul has, and today for Minnpost she’s rounded up what various Minnesota towns have done with the big box buildings since the grocery chain declared bankruptcy a few years ago. Some now host several smaller businesses, others are home goods stores, and some are just being used for storage, but it’s an interesting look at how different communities are making use of spaces that are far too big for most renters.