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Area Children Demand Ice Cream Shop at Nicollet & 43rd

Plus zombie fires in Canada, the hell of homebuying, and a Dunn Bros. lawsuit in today's Flyover news roundup.

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A drawing demonstrates what a Sebastian Joe’s by Lowbrow could look like.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

The People (Kids) Demand Justice (Ice Cream)

The children of Minneapolis's Kingfield neighborhood are displeased with the dearth of ice cream shops near their homes, so they’ve taken a civic-minded approach to remedying that: by writing a letter to their local newspaper, Southwest Voices. The hand-written, hand-delivered petition, signed by 21 individuals, was penned by Norah (13) and Ryan (11) “as a voice of all kids in Kingfield.” They’re asking that one of the buildings up for lease at Nicollet & 43rd Street become a Sebastian Joe’s. They’ve clearly thought this through: “The factory is right across the corner so it would be perfect,” they note, including a drawing showing the new ice cream shop right next to Lowbrow. Make is so, Kingfield!

Just Our Luck: Zombie Fires Are a Thing We Have to Worry About Now

Did you know that wildfires can continue to burn and smolder under snow? Ain’t science neat? Cathy Wurzer and Lukas Levin learned all about these occurances yesterday via this MPR chat with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildfire operations supervisor William Glesener. Remember those brutal 2023 wildfires from Canada last summer? The ones that helped trigger some of the 23 air quality alerts this year in Minnesota and broke air quality records at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, prompting Viraluae to wonder if smoky skies are here forever?

Well today over 100 of those ticking timebombs, commonly referred to as peat or ground fires, are still living underground in Canada and could resurface if they’re not caught in time. Glesener warns us to be ready for a “busy year.” According to him, Minnesota gets a handful of fires like these a year too; putting them out often entails digging through the soil then flooding the area. It’s all just another thing we have to manage as we let the world burn. “We’re gonna have this type of smoke as a normal feature of the weather for several decades to come,” Lee Frelich, a forest ecologist at the University of Minnesota, explained to Viraluae last summer. “They’re not going to come under control until we reverse climate change.”

Oh, You Want to Buy a Home? Good Luck With That.

According to this thorough number-crunching report from Stribbers Jim Buchta and MaryJo Webster, a lot of mid-income families are being priced out of the Twin Cities. “A household with an income of less than $91,000 (the metro-area median household income) was able to afford a median-priced home in only 21 of 155 metro-area cities last year,” they write. And while the spendiest area of our state is no surprise (around Lake Minnetonka), if you’re on a tighter income and wanna live in a ‘burb, an inner-ring one like Lauderdale could be your ticket; if your household is pulling in at least $76,828, you can afford a median price ($265K) home there. That’s if you can find a home for sale. Minneapolis Area Realtors President Jamar Hardy tells the Strib he recently saw a $319,900 four-bedroom in Maplewood receive 30+ offers, and that’s apparently just the norm these days.

Nope Hope for Dunn Bros. Coffee

A Dunn Bros. in Eagan is losing revenue, and its owners say a nearby breakfast joint is to blame. According to a lawsuit filed in Dakota County District Court, the franchisee is alleging that their landlord, Sup II Diffley Marketplace, violated their lease agreement when the Florida-based property company allowed Hope Breakfast Bar to move into a nearby space. "Defendant conducted no due diligence and it otherwise failed to verify that Hope Breakfast Bar did not derive 20% or more of its gross revenues from the sale of coffee or coffee products," the suit argues. A quick perusal of Hope’s menu reveals that, while the spot has plenty of coffee offerings, it also has a full bar with fancy cocktails, a beer and wine list, burgers and other lunch-y items, and tons of breakfast fare (they also donate 3% of their sales to local charities, nice!). Still, this Dunn Bros. owner views Hope as direct competition, and wants the landlord to reimburse them for losses, which includes a 10.4% sales drop during the second half of 2023. 

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