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Ventura Aspires to Become the Face of MN Weed

Plus YWCA closures, weird food fees reconsidered, and more Lizzo drama in today's Flyover news roundup.

5:14 PM CDT on August 3, 2023

WWE|

Mr. Ventura in a past life.

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

The Body. The Mind. The Dealer.

Jesse Ventura has been gung-ho about recreational THC for decades, and now that Minnesota has become the 23rd state to legalize it, the former governor is going public with his entrepreneurial ambitions for the plant. Ventura aspires to become the “first major politician in America” whose likeness is emblazoned upon weed brands, we learned Wednesday via Marijuana Moment. Speaking this past weekend on a Canna Connect-hosted panel, the Navy SEAL/wrestler/actor/politician/conspiracy junkie/weed booster bragged that Minnesota has the potential to produce the “best cannabis in the world.”

He continued: “I want involvement in this. I want involvement in the state of Minnesota; Minnesota grown, Minnesota produced, and promoted by Minnesota’s governor, or former... This is an ego thing for me. I want to have my name considered with cannabis.” His motivations appear as pure as lab-grown Maui Waui: Ventura says he wants Minnesota's new cannabis market to be dominated by locals instead of big, out-of-state pushers. He went on to volunteer tidbits about his own use, telling the audience that he mostly vapes pot to treat neuropathy of the feet, PTSD, and sleeplessness. For lack of a pithy closing line, we present you turkeys this endlessly watchable clip of our stoner ex-guv:

YWCA Announces Closures of Uptown, Downtown Locations in Extremely Mindful-Sounding Fashion

After reading this afternoon's email update from YWCA CEO Shelley Carthen Watson, you might be left wondering... so is this good news or bad news? We'll spare you the tedious language about "restructuring to further disrupt the systemic issues plaguing children and youth": The impending closures of the nonprofit's Uptown and downtown locations—plus the cleaving of almost one-third of its workforce—amounts to certifiable bad news. Both buildings will halt fitness, gym, and pool offerings on November 1, the email from Carthen Watson reads, and the org will then attempt to sell 'em. The YWCA Midtown location at 2121 E. Lake St. is set to remain fully operational throughout its upcoming "reimagining," and a "downtown or downtown adjacent" new location for the Early Childhood Education Center is being scouted. In total, 112 Y workers will be out of work.

Why is this happening? To hear the CEO tell it, the "strategic pivot" is all about "resetting program priorities and redeploying capital and resources toward higher-impact programming." In practice, that'll mean more funds directed toward admirable initiatives around childcare, youth, and racial equality. Kelly Smith at the Star Tribune dug deeper into other potential reasons, like the fact the YWCA posted a $2 million deficit last year, despite receiving a $2.5 million PPP lifejacket during COVID-19. The Y has shed almost 60% of its membership since 2019, Smith reports. We reached out to the YWCA PR person for additional intel, but received an automatic out-of-office reply; click here for a FAQ sheet on today's announcements.

Some Restaurants Dump Weird Fees

They're newish. They're confusing. They're certainly not un-scam-like in appearance. They're the head-scratching service fees that've been popping up on your dinner bill in recent years, and Axios' Audrey Kennedy reports that some Twin Cities restaurants, including Butcher & the Boar and Broders' Restaurants, are now ditching 'em. Angie Whitcomb, the CEO of trade group Hospitality Minnesota, tells Axios that other restaurants have quietly killed those fees, but she (hilariously) declined to name any. (Elsewhere, Khâluna swapped out its service fee for a 5% "wellness fee"... no additional details regarding what the hell that means.) Places like Brasa, Terzo, and Kyatchi have side-stepped fees and tipping altogether, instead opting to raise menu prices across the board for simplicity.

"Guests don't like having their control taken away, so we gave them back control. But ideally, they'd understand… it ensures equity across the playing field," Brent Frederick, the co-owner of Butcher & the Boar parent company Jester Concepts says, adding (hilariously) that suburban customers revolted the hardest. Crucially, Kennedy notes, "unlike tips, which are the sole property of the employee, there's no legal guarantee that service fees are actually going toward wages." She quotes local service industry vet Alex Warren, to whom we'll give the final word: "This shouldn't be a [servers] versus us argument, because one can't do the job without the other. Businesses should be building labor costs into prices so we can all receive a fair and stable wage, not putting that on the customer."

Quick Lizzo Update

Minnesota-launched pop star Lizzo has hired Hollywood crisis PR lawyer Marty Singer to help bat away accusations of sexual and workplace harassment raised this week in L.A. court by former dancers. Among his past clients: Chris Brown, Bill Cosby, Jonah Hill, Brett Ratner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Johnny Depp. Yeesh. "For every story Singer kills or gets taken down, there's another he's delayed, or defanged, or pushed off the front page, or had corrected or retracted," Vanity Fair wrote in a 2017 profile. “Singer is a kind of legal termite.” With elite legal counsel in hand, Lizzo issued... a freaking Notes app statement earlier today via Twitter (we're just gonna keep calling it Twitter). And we'll keep this as Page 6/TMZ-y as possible and leave you with the following, barely related viral TikTok gos:

@brooklynelizabethbrown

As far as I know they are still together. I wish them peace and happiness.

♬ original sound - Brooklyn Elizabeth Brown

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