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What Twin Cities Places Provide the Best and Worst Vibes?

Plus a photojournalist's last days, good news for drivers moving to MN, and celebs in Fergus Falls in today's Flyover news roundup.

jpellgen (@1179_jp) via Flickr; @clockworkcrypt via Twitter|

On the left, you’ve got the universally beloved Stone Arch Bridge. On the right, a very specific stretch of skyway near Government Plaza that gives folks the willies.

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

Localized Vibe Check!

To paraphrase a famous U.S. Supreme Court utterance, vibes are tricky to define but you know 'em when they hit ya. Two local tweeters—@dat_briguy (aka Racket contributor Brian Fanelli) and @mollywidstrom (aka Molly Widstrom)—recently attempted to crowd-source the best and worst vibes throughout the Twin Cities.

Fanelli prompted first by asking for the negative takes, which quickly flooded in. Among the top poorly vibing locales: the half-baked Commons Park in downtown Minneapolis; the strange stretch of skyway near Government Plaza featured above; the zombie-like Psycho Suzi’s bar/restaurant; the ill-maintained Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue light-rail stops; a heinous intersection near the Quarry Taco Bell; and North Loop's abominably named Graze Provisions + Libations food hall, the site of a dystopian "silent disco" that this reporter (aka Jay) once witnessed, much to his horror. (While scrolling through, please ignore several racist and/or classist replies. Twitter!)

Widstrom's call for good vibes yielded responses like: Lakewood Cemetery, the escalators at Menards, the Riverview Theater, the Stone Arch Bridge, Spring Street Tavern, Mill City Farmers Market, the Twin Cities River Rats, and the always desirable @CrimeWatch block list.

We will say: Some of the responses to those two Twitter threads seemed to have misunderstood the assignment by simply naming places they don't enjoy like Cowboy Jack's. But does Cowboy Jack's have bad vibes or just Cowboy Jack's vibes, the latter of which must be fun for blackout drunk faux honky-tonkers? Maybe we're splitting hairs here, but hyper-specific nominations like that uncanny skyway dead zone seem more apropos. In any case! What say you, Racket readers? Where can Twin Citians experience the best and worst vibes in town?

An Intimate Look at a Photojournalist's Last Days

You’ve got to appreciate a well-crafted obituary, and over at the Star Tribune, Rachel Hutton has done right by the late photojournalist Bill Alkofer. To help demystify the process of dying, Alkofer invited Hutton and photographer Alex Kormann to document his stay in hospice as ALS began shutting his body down. The result is a feature that incorporates a standard look back at Alkofer’s career with the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Orange County Register and his larger than life personality, as well as intimate look at one man’s final days. Along the way, we watch Alkofer sip his Grain Belt through a straw, learn that “close friends openly called him an asshole,” learn that apparently the Strib will print the word “asshole,” and observe what it’s like to die with grace but without changing your ornery personality. 

No More Driver’s Tests for MN Transplants?!

Yep! Starting August 1, as long as they have a valid license from another state, folks who move here won’t have to take a written driver’s test to obtain a Minnesota license. “It just makes sense," says DVS Director Pong Xiong via this Minnesota Department of Safety blog. “Eligible drivers are already licensed in another state; they've proven they can drive safely." The move is in line with many other states across the nation who have either dropped their test or never required one the first place. The change is also a strategic one, as the DMV is anticipating an influx of paperwork when undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for licenses starting October 1.

Some may worry that out-of-state drivers won’t understand the nuances of the Minnesota road without taking a written test. As (mostly) out-of-towners here at Racket, we can assure you that no test can prepare us for the weird stuff you do: your unwillingness to zipper merge; your artful interpretation of four-way stops; and the ubiquity of cars traveling 40 mph in the left lane. Though, if they're like me (Jessica), they might spend a year driving here before they realize U-turns are mostly legal.

Fergus Falls Celeb Sighting!

What were Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher doing at a Fergus Falls Caribou Coffee on Thursday? No idea, but Bring Me the News tracked down a worker, Caribou employee Keirstin Bristow, to confirm that the husband-wife duo of That '70s Show fame did in fact pop by their west-central Minnesota drive-thru. (The couple ordered smoothies, Bristow says, and kindly consented to a selfie from the drive-thru window.) BMTN's Adam Uren notes that the pair are "on somewhat of a Midwestern tour along I-94," according to recent Instagram posts—they visited the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in western North Dakota on Tuesday and the Frontier Village in Jamestown, North Dakota on Wednesday. And here's that Caribou selfie, courtesy of Bristow:

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