Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Milwaukee Avenue Marvel Hits Market
Minneapolis's Milwaukee Avenue, with its wide pedestrian boulevard and matching gingerbread-style homes, is rare stretch of the city. I (Em) still remember, years ago, biking to Tracy's Saloon and being baffled by the adorable, closed-to-cars Seward boulevard I encountered on the way. Real "am I having a fever dream?" moment. Rarer still? That any of its homes hit the market, but that's the reason Mpls. St. Paul Mag's Rebecca Mennecke takes a look at the unusual avenue this week. The turn-of-the-century home at 2017 Milwaukee Ave. has three bedrooms, one bathroom, and truly boundless charm, and it's listed now for $419,900.
But the real cool thing about this story is the history: Milwaukee Avenue is the way it is because activists fought to preserve it, arguing that the small houses and narrow, pedestrian-friendly street were better for the environment, and that saving them would protect the city's social heritage. "While many historic neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, such as St. Paul’s Summit Ave., highlight the social elite—including lumber barons, railroad tycoons, and real estate moguls—few historic districts highlight the lower-class, often immigrant laborers, who built the foundation of the Twin Cities with their bare hands," Mennecke writes.
We're *This Close* to Legalizing Marijuana
The Minnesota House and Senate have all but finalized the marijuana legalization bill, folks! Minnesota Reformer's Christopher Ingraham had a story yesterday on the bulk of the compromises, which include an agreement on a two-pound home possession limit (much higher than the threshold in most states with legal marijuana). Today, lawmakers hammered out the rest of the fine print, agreeing to a 10% gross receipts tax. All that's left to do, essentially, is for the House and Senate to vote on the finalized version of the bill, which they're expected to do this week, and Gov. Tim Walz has long pledged that he'll sign it. LFG!
Lens Co. Gets Massive Fine for Kickbacks, Glamour
Of all the shady corporate shenanigans out there, the lens industry wasn’t even on our radar. But it sure is now, as it turns out that Bloomington-based Precision Lens has been buying its way into doctors’ hearts via tickets/vacations to Broadway shows, the Masters Tournament, the college football national championship game. The end goal, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, was to ensure that their products would be used in lens-related surgeries such as cataracts operations. "Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to know with certainty that their physician's decision-making has not been compromised by a private flight, expensive ski-trip, or any other unlawful inducement," attorney Bahram Samie said in a statement. The courts heartily agree; while a jury chose to fine the company $43 million, U.S. District Judge Wilhemina Wright elected to bump that figure up to $487 million. Precision Lens, which was hoping for a fine capped at $20 million, called the verdict “unconscionable,” and plans to appeal.
Mystery Poop Falls from Sky
Can airplanes take a dump mid-flight? Carisa Browne is investigating. On Monday afternoon, she was in line at a Burnsville Caribou Coffee drive-thru when a brown, stinky substance suddenly rained down onto her car. "The odor was so strong that the woman who was handing me my coffee noted how much it smelled," Browne told WCCO. "I mean, my cat had something similar to it this morning, so I've had a lot today with the poop." Confused, she got out of the car, saw that no birds were flying overhead, then noted that airlines frequently fly over the area. While no issues have been reported to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, Browne is pretty sure she was hit with sky shit, and she’s not letting it go: "I had my A&P license, I went to school to be an aircraft mechanic, and I didn't know if there was even a way to release it mid-flight, so that's why I'm a little confused, I'm gonna look into it."