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What the HELL is a Rejected MnDOT Plow Name Doing on the Streets?

Plus free parking helps people, MPD goes to bat for Laura Ingraham, and explore polluted lakes in today's Flyover.

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

Our Watergate: The Investigation Into Sweet Child O' Brine

A U.S.-based snowplow has never officially been christened Sweet Child O' Brine, at least not in any above-board fashion. (Interestingly, a Scottish "gritter" truck has been awarded that very name.) Last year, SCoB appropriately finished 44th overall with just 2,859 votes in the second-annual MnDOT Name-a-Plow contest. So you can imagine our shock and, yes, horror when a tipster sent the photo you see above of a big-ass orange plow rocking that loser Guns N' Roses pun down the streets of Roseville. I pounded out an email to MnDOT PR dude Jake Loesch, demanding answers and hinting at conspiracies. “That isn’t a MnDOT truck–but I think Roseville plows are also orange,” Loesch told me. “My best guess is that it’s probably not a renegade or conspiracy, but maybe the City of Roseville named one of their plows? Good luck solving the mystery!”

That’s when I, a bad reporter, quit, telling Loesch I was satisfied. “Hahaha, but now I’m kind of hoping it IS some mysterious renegade snowplow!” responded the rare comms professional who instructs journalists to dig deeper. “Ya gotta get to the bottom of it, Jay…” So, chest puffed with renewed Seymour Hershian vigor, I sent a bulldoggish email Friday to the Roseville Public Works Department, yet again demanding answers. No word back yet. But know this much: We'll move heaven and earth (or at least send a polite follow-up) in pursuit of the plow-name truth.

Free Blizzard Parking Results in Easier Plowing

Car-free roads mean better snow plowing. That’s what we learned when we asked why bike trails get cleared faster and better. With that in mind, before this week’s debatably overblown blizzard hit, St. Paul and Minneapolis tried something a little different: free and reduced rate parking for all. The idea was that folks who normally park on the street could instead move their cars into covered lots, out of the way of emergency plows (added bonus: no digging your car out from the snow). Locations included the Walker Art Center, the farmers’ market on Lyndale, and several St. Paul rec centers. Minneapolis reports that 1,250 people took them up on the offer, while 750 in St. Paul used the open downtown ramps.

So, did it make things better for plowing? Kinda! Reps for both cities tell MPR that plowing has gone more smoothly this storm, and they attribute some of it to parking. But, as of last night, Minneapolis reps say they have ticketed 2,112 vehicles and towed 329 cars. That still seems high; according to this KARE 11 report, last year’s late November/early December snowstorm yielded 770 tickets and 220 vehicles towed in Minneapolis. But hey, this is a cool public service, and maybe those numbers will go down if this kind of thing is consistently available.

Minneapolis Cops Make Themselves Look Bad Again

Remember when Laura Ingraham rolled into town last year for her Minneapolis copaganda feature in front of that “monument to anarchy,” the 3rd Precinct? Well, apparently the two cops she was interviewing offered some good examples as to why so many city residents don’t trust them. According to Deena Winter at the Minnesota Reformer, when someone from the YouTube channel Capital Transparency started filming Ingraham’s chat with Sgt. Andrew Schroeder and Lt. Jeff Waite, the cops got feisty. Schroeder threatened to put up police tape to keep the filmer away, and then threatened to arrest him. “You constantly have people questioning how we do things and telling us that we’re not doing things right, and it’s just nonstop,” Waite whined to Ingraham. Maybe it’s because you’re constantly not doing this right, dumbass. You can watch the whole ridiculous incident here.

New Tool Lets You Explore MN's Filthy Lakes

In 2015, a five-year-long assessment from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency arrived at a grim, gross finding: Over half of the lakes and streams in southern Minnesota are too polluted for safe swimming and fishing. Armed with that knowledge, have fun zipping around this neat new interactive map from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The just-rolled-out lake edition of Watershed Health Assessment Framework (WHAF) allows users to click and see the health data of 2,939 Minnesota lakes, MPR reports. They’re all scored with a Madden-like 1-100 overall health number based on water quality, hydrology, biology, and more. As you might expect, the southern half of the map glows with polluted yellows, while the northern lakes shimmer with pristine blues. Only one Twin Cities lake, Lake Amelia in the northern ‘burbs, scored above a 50.

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