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MN Leg Sez: Let Booze Flow from Painted Turtle at Lake Nokomis

Plus more MPD fuck ups, General Mills' plastic problem, and a cute story on Prince's love of basketball in today's Flyover news roundup.

The Painted Turtle|

Huzzah! You can drink beer here soon.

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

Thank God: The Painted Turtle Can Now Sell Beer and Wine

When the Painted Turtle moved into Lake Nokomis’s snack shack last year, its owners assumed they'd be able to sell wine and beer, just like the previous tenant, Sandcastle, had. Then came the buzzkill: Minnesota liquor laws require businesses to have at least 25 indoor seats, which the south Minneapolis space was never in compliance with. "It turns out that an oversight by the state has allowed beer and wine to serve at this location for the last 12 years and only now have they realized their mistake,” read a statement from the owners at the time. Well, now openly drinking lakeside is (legally) back, thanks to a few brief lines in the Minnesota Legislature's most recent mega-omnibus bill. While the Painted Turtle is still building a structure to meet the seating requirement, it has been green-lit to start selling drinks regardless, and “could be serving beer and wine by mid-summer,” according to its website. Hell yeah!  

More Lack of Accountability Bullshit from the MPD

The pro-cop crowd might want to be “tough on crime,” but what about being tough on police when they commit safety, protocol, and behavioral violations? Turns out the Minneapolis Police Department often prefers a softer, less documented approach. This excellent article by Andy Mannix and Liz Sawyer at the Star Tribune details how coaching, a type of PR-style mentoring, has been overused in lieu of formal discipline.

While this kind of “punishment” is only supposed to be employed for minor offenses—not wearing a seatbelt, a uniform discrepancy—a lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Coalition On Government Information (MNCOGI) against the city alleges that coaching has been used regularly in far graver instances, including cops mishandling/discharging a gun at a precinct, failures to report use of force, and letting a K-9 off leash to attack a civilian. Depositions produced as part of the lawsuit include this gem:

Coaching is sometimes offered as an alternative to formal discipline. In one case, former Lt. Bob Kroll called a group of coworkers the "lesbian Mafia." He was given the option of a coaching session with the chief or formal discipline, the latter he could fight through the grievance process.

So why would the MPD favor coaching over more traditional discipline? Well, for starters, the city argues that "coaching is private personnel data," and thus can't be shared with the public like a formal complaint does. One pretty telling example of how this method can be used: Derek Chauvin managed to accrue 15 misconduct complaints; all but one are tagged private. MPD and the city have attempted to downplay coaching over the years, but the Strib story doesn't mince words when evaluating their past reasoning: "All these statements were false."

MPD has has a long history of transparency and accountability issues. Just last year the U.S. Department of Justice released a grim, 89-page report on the department, featuring sections titled “The Complexity of MPD’s Accountability System Discourages Complaints and Prompts Their Dismissals,” “MPD Fails to Conduct Thorough, Timely, and Fair Misconduct Investigations,” and “MPD Fails to Adequately Discipline Police Misconduct.” 

Consumers Ask General Mills to Stop Feeding Us Plastic

Diamonds aren’t the only things that are forever—many plastics are, too. And, unlike the precious gemstone, phthalates are in all kinds of products we consume. Now a Consumer Reports petition with over 30,000 signatures is calling for one of the top producers of these plastics, Golden Valley-based General Mills, to remove the chemical from its products. These types of plastics, sometimes called plasticizers, can be used to make packaging material like cans and plastic tubing easier to handle during production. Studies have indicated that they tend to make their way into the foods they hold, potentially impacting things like fertility and putting people at higher risks for some cancers.

"We did test a variety of foods, and some of the highest concentrations were in General Mills' products," Brian Ronholm, Director of Food Policy for Consumer Reports, tells Kate Gibson at CBS MoneyWatch. "There are no regulatory requirements at this point." While the petition is focused on plastics found in Annie’s Organic, General Mills’ products like Progresso Soups, Green Giant, Yoplait, and Cheerios have been found to contain higher levels of phthalates too. Combined with damning, ongoing reporting on "forever chemicals" villain 3M, this GM development reflects really poorly on Minnesota's caliber of corporate neighbors.

Prince Was a B-Ball Fan, Folks

Would Prince be freaking out over the current T-Wolves playoffs run? According to friends, family, and Timberwolves employees: yes! That’s the main takeaway of this very sweet story from Ohm Youngmisuk for ESPN, which recounts the Purple One’s passion for basketball from his high school team days to inviting the Lynx out to Paisley Park after their 2015 championship win. Prince was also an avid supporter of the Wolves, frequently attending games in a hoodie and sunglasses, only watching the Wolves on offense. 

"We were playing the Lakers and he would never watch what the Lakers were doing on the other end of the court offensively,” says ex-Wolf Sam Cassell. "I was like, 'Wow, he cold.' He don't care nothing about what the Lakers are doing. He's just worried about the T-Wolves. That was crazy."

"He would've loved this team," confirms Minnesota music great Jimmy Jam Harris.

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