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Where’s the Best Tap Water in the Twin Cities?

Plus workplace progress for the disabled, Rep. Omar's advisor speaks out, and the return of hockey hair in today's Flyover.

Facebook: City of Richfield|

Lotta love for Richfield’s water.

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

Water, Water Everywhere—And Varying Quality Levels to Drink!

Regardless of its supposedly neutral flavor, the taste, smell, and clarity of tap water can vary wildly throughout the state. So where can you find the tastiest glass, where is the water too cloudy to drink, and which water may give you cancer? That’s the topic of this admittedly often anecdotal, kinda fascinating Reddit thread. A few takeaways: People really, really like the water in Richfield and Columbia Heights, perhaps because the latter uses a state-of-the-art filtration plant to process water purchased from Minneapolis. "Yeah, five wells into a mile deep aquifer. Richfield. No contest, IMO," writes one Redditor.

Turns out, Minnesota boasts some award-winning water. In 2021, St. Paul won Best in Tap from Minnesota American Water Works Association, and Bloomington ranked 12th in a nationwide a 2016 blind taste test. Meanwhile, Minneapolis’s H2O is viewed as mostly OK, with one person reporting their Uptown water is often cloudy but tastes fine. (This 2020 Strib feature provides a nice rundown of how Minneapolis renders Mississippi River water drinkable.) What water should you avoid? Redditors say Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Woodbury, and Cottage Grove. But that’s not because the tap tastes bad; they’re considered potentially toxic thanks to 3M dumping chemical waste into Washington County waters for decades.

A Potential Win for Disabled MN Workers

Nobody in Minnesota journalism embodies the ethos of "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" better than Chris Serres. In his latest, the heavyweight Strib reporter informs readers that Minnesota has the highest percentage of workers earning subminimum wages in the U.S., a loophole that's exploited by "sheltered workshops" employing folks with disabilities. That appalling financial caste system affects 4,000 Minnesotans, and a new bill introduced this month would abolish it by 2025. "Fundamentally, this is a civil rights issue," Natasha Merz, assistant commissioner at the Department of Human Services, tells Serres. Elsewhere, we’re compassionately introduced to disabled workers whose labor once was exploited by that loophole—often working menial sorting jobs paid based on productivity—who’ve now found dignity in the workplace. "Before, I didn't know what was out there," says Todd Beck, a beloved 49-year-old worker at the Holiday in Two Harbors. "I love everything about my work now."

Afraid of Slevin 

Slate has the most in-depth interview to date with Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Senior Adviser Jeremy Slevin, who's become almost as much of a target as his boss in recent weeks. Slevin is no stranger to the hate that can come with being a non-white, non-Christian member of Congress; he also worked for current Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim congressman in U.S. history. But Slevin, who is Jewish, has recently been under fire from critics due to is association with Omar; he's been called a “self-hating Jew," a "Jewdas," and, in the intensely hyperbolic words of one Newsweek editor, a would-be "'proud' foot soldier for the Hellenizers in the civil war against the Maccabees." 

“It’s certainly not what you sign up for as a staffer,” Slevin told Slate's Aymann Ismail. “Obviously, working for the most vilified politician in America, who’s constantly getting death threats and hate and vilification because of her faith—you see how strong other people can be in the face of much, much worse. So, this is nothing.”

The All Hockey Hair Team is BACK

Remember a few years ago, when the Pulltab Sports guy said it was going to be his last All Hockey Hair Team compilation ever? Thank the hairy heavens he wasn't serious. This year's Star Wars-themed flow-down brings you, as always, the best "salads and skullets, mullets and manes" from the boys state hockey tournament, with all the usual deadpan drape analysis and topical riffery to boot. ("If you thought you saw another Chinese spy balloon, don't worry—it was just the Mahtomedi Mushroom Cloud.")

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