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Wanna Buy the Portland Avenue Shark House? (Shark Included!)

Plus Minneapolis Public Schools in the red, goth license plates, and watch out for police dogs in today's Flyover news roundup.

5:03 PM CDT on June 12, 2023

Cardinal Realty Co.|

Can you spot the shark?

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

We've Heard of Left Shark... But Lawn Shark?!

The property listing for 3324 Portland Ave., a lovely 1900 Queen Anne-style home that just hit the Minneapolis market, rambles on about gorgeous original woodwork, updated windows, brand-new HVAC, and quartz countertops before we get to the good stuff: "You can even keep the shark!" Now we're talkin'! The tastefully updated five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,535-square-square-foot house would appear fairly priced at $425,000 before you factor in the Great White conversation piece. And any south Minneapolitan worth their (sea) salt is familiar with the shark statue in question; it’s hard to miss, at about 20 feet long, beached in the yard with its dead eyes and razor teeth aimed toward southbound traffic.  

At this point you might be asking yourself: Racket, you’re a so-called journalism shop, why don’t you tell me the backstory behind the damn shark? Well, we tried! Efforts to reach the listing agent were unsuccessful, and the owner’s name didn’t yield conclusive Facebook results. So anyone who’s dying with intrigue will have to play the role of citizen journalist and ask for yourself at two open houses this weekend: noon-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Start workshopping some “You’re gonna need a bigger…” jokes now. H/T to Thrifty Traveler's Kyle Potter for spotting the listing, like a true Robert Shaw. If the Tyrannosaurus Rex sedan down the block ever becomes available, we'll be all over it.  

School's Out (Of Money)

If you think your bank account looks bad, at least you’re not the Minneapolis Public Schools. Deena Winter at Minnesota Reformer reports that the school district is nigh on insolvent, and the state Department of Education might soon be statutorily required to step in. (When a district dips too deep into its reserves, it must submit a plan to the state or lose the funding that accounts for half its revenue.) This shortfall isn’t exactly a surprise. MPS has relied on $262 million in federal pandemic funds to balance its budget in the past three years, leaving a mostly new school board (five of the nine members were replaced in January) and interim superintendent to patch up the hole. The story quotes community organizer and public schools advocate Sara Spafford Freeman as saying “They inherited a s*** show.” (A soup show? A surf show? A shoe show?) Anyway, somebody better think of something quick or the district is gonna start scraping bottom sometime in 2025.

We Got Goth Plates

Oh, so "blackout license plates" are OK, but when I'm blackout behind the wheel it's a problem. [Ed. Note: This is a JOKE, please don't drink and drive.] Lawmakers did in fact approve the introduction of so-called “blackout” plates, which are popular south of the border (in Iowa), here in Minnesota during the most recent legislative session. The plates look cool as hell, and it's estimated between 100,000 and 200,000 Minnesotans will order them—with a special plate fee and a $30 annual fee, that should bring in a good chunk of change for the state. And that's not all! MPR reports that a slate of new pro sports plates have been approved—Vikings, Timberwolves, Lynx, Wild, Twins, and Minnesota United—along with a Lions Club International plate and a missing and murdered Indigenous relatives plate. Maybe license plates will become cool enough that Tesla owners will even start using two of 'em like the rest of us. In semi-related news: To discover the 10 things we learned while reading Minnesota's 93,188 personalized plates, click here.

State Patrol Dogs are Above the Law

That’s basically the decision a Minnesota appeals court made today concerning a case where a state patrol dog bit an employee at the Owatonna Motor Company car dealership in 2019. While most dog owners can be held liable for injuries if their canine attacks someone unprovoked, that rule does not apply to the state patrol. Why? Sovereign immunity, the court ruled. The dog at the center of the case, a drug sniffer named Diesel, was chilling near the service garage when a trooper asked the employee to put the dog back in the car. When the employee did so, the pup chomped down on her hand, causing "permanent" injuries that required surgery. "The decision creates a unique distinction where if a dog owned by the government bites you, liability will depend on whether it's a county or municipal dog, in which case the government's liable, and if it's a state dog, the government is not liable," the victim's attorney, Grant Borgen, tells the Strib. Borgen plans to appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

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