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Twin Cities Mask Mandates Are Back, Baybee!

Plus Hutch blamed 'Not Me,' forgetful Republicans, thrifty small towns, and a deep dive into trash in today's Flyover.

Photo by Jacek Pobłocki on Unsplash

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

Mask up, Motherfuckers!

It’s a dark day for the inalienable right to spread infectious diseases here in the Twin Cities. In response to the Omicron variant and the growing number of COVID cases, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are reinstating the ol’ mask mandate in government buildings and businesses, effective tomorrow at 5 p.m. You can read the announcements here and here.

Warrant: Drunk Sheriff Hutch Tried Shaggy “It Wasn’t Me” Defense

Maybe Dave Hutchinson became a cop because he’s so bad at breaking the law. After an early morning SUV crash last month on I-94 near Alexandria, the intoxicated Hennepin County sheriff pled guilty to a DWI. (No jail time; $610 fine—perks of the job, huh?) In a TV interview with WCCO where he announced that he would not resign, Hutch responded to a question about whether he’d driven drunk before with “I think everybody has at some point.” Photos of the wreckage revealed Delta-8 gummies in the totaled vehicle. And according to a State Patrol search warrant application, we recently learned, the deputy on the scene said that Hutchinson initially denied that he was the driver, saying “he called a cab and that the cab driver was driving the vehicle.” I can see why he didn’t stick to that story.

MN GOP: January 6 Insurr-what-shun?

Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of armed rightwing hordes storming the U.S. Capitol to insist that the presidential election must have been stolen ’cause their guy didn’t win. Here in Minnesota, as elsewhere, elected Republican officials don’t have much to say about the attack on the federal legislature that injured 140 law enforcement officers, cost $1.5 million in damages, and, you know, sought to violently undermine the democratic process. After all, that was, like, a whole year ago. Republican members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation have declined to comment, and, says MN GOP chair David Hann, “I have not been spending a lot of time thinking about it, and I don’t know anybody else who has other than Democrats and I guess the media.” Well, that settles that.

Small MN Towns Pass on Fed Bucks

Over at the Minnesota Reformer, there’s a fun little survey of the tiny towns in Minnesota that didn’t bother to collect their federal COVID funds. There are 506 towns, “with populations ranging from five to 2,329 people,” that never bothered to seek emergency payments of, on average, $23,000. Why didn’t they? The typical answer is that they didn’t need the money. Chickamaw Beach thought about using the money to build a city hall but decided against it, while the city clerk for Solway told the Reformer it’d take 20 years for the 73-person town to spend that much cash. Me, I’d just split the money up among the townsfolk, but that’s because I’m a devious city slicker, I guess.

See Where Your Compost Goes to Rot

If you’re anything like us, you’ve never given a second thought to those compost bags you toss in your lil green compost bin. If you’re anything like MSP Mag’s Darby Ottoson, you’ve given surplus thought to Minneapolis’s organics recycling facility. Ottoson’s findings have been fascinatingly collected in this recent feature, which takes readers on a smelly tour of the four-acre Rosemount facility where your egg shells, coffee grounds, and pumpkin guts rot away. Launched in 2016, the city’s curbside recycling program produces 6,000+ tons of waste annually, Ottoson writes, and managing the subsequent decay is more interesting than it has any right to be. “Talking trash is fun!” as recycling coordinator Kellie Kish points out. We agree.