Jul 20, 2021

Axios Twin Cities

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Today's newsletter is 899 words, a 4-minute read.

1 big thing: Minnesotans rejoice as Canada opens its border

Photo: Joey McLeister/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Canada's decision to fully open the border to vaccinated Americans next month was met with relief from many here in Minnesota.

  • "We are ecstatic," Tricia Heibel, president of the International Falls Chamber of Commerce, told us. "It's the best opening news we've had in over a year now."

Driving the news: The Canadian government announced Monday that it will lift a 14-day quarantine requirement for vaccinated Americans beginning Aug. 9.

Why it matters: The ban on nonessential travel at the border, which took effect in March 2020, caused frustration and financial pain for people and businesses on both sides of the Minnesota-Canada border.

Pre-pandemic, Heibel said residents in International Falls and neighboring Fort Frances, Ontario regularly crossed back and forth to visit family, compete in sports leagues, shop or go out to dinner and movies.

  • "Our communities are just quite honestly very entwined," she said. "All facets of our lives on some level have an integration."

By the numbers: Measuring the full financial impact is difficult given that the closure coincided with the pandemic. But some businesses in the resort-heavy Northwest Angle, which is cut off from the rest of the state by the Lake of the Woods, reported revenues dropping by 80% or more last summer.

How it will work: U.S. citizens and permanent residents will have to upload proof of vaccination onto the Canadian government app at least 14 days ahead of their trip, Axios' Ivana Saric reports.

  • Travelers must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to their arrival.

Yes, but: Some business owners worry the testing and vaccination restrictions will remain a barrier, holding them back from a full economic recovery, per the Star Tribune.

What to watch: The U.S. hasn't said whether it'll lift its land-crossing restrictions for Canadians.

The bottom line: This is good news for border communities — and those who like to visit them.

2. Exclusive: Inside a local grad's juicy WeWork exposé

Macalester grad's new WeWork book comes out Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

WeWork operates three coworking offices in Minneapolis and if you've ever been to one, you know they're hip, buzzing and full of entrepreneurs.

  • But there's a heck of a backstory to the company that grew from a small startup to a massive real estate firm in a decade, before a failed IPO shook CEO Adam Neumann from his perch.

What's new: Macalester College grad and Wall Street Journal reporter Eliot Brown's new book "The Cult of We," about Neumann was released this morning. He wrote it with fellow reporter Maureen Farrell.

  • Read an Axios exclusive excerpt here.

Context: Brown and Farrell, in their deeply sourced book, tell the cautionary tale about what happens when a founder who can barely use a computer convinces some of the world's biggest investors that he created a tech company that would change the world — even though he couldn't turn a profit.

  • "At its basic level, it's just the story of too much money chasing too few good ideas," Brown told Nick.

Local angle: Brown is from Massachusetts, but came to St. Paul to attend Macalester, where he ran cross country and track and field.

  • He got injured and with his newfound free time away from athletics, he joined the college newspaper Mac Weekly. He later interned at City Pages, and eventually worked his way to WSJ.
3. Catch up quick: The pandemic's toll on nonprofits

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

🚫 Nearly 200 nonprofit organizations permanently closed during the pandemic, according to state filings. Education, human services, and arts, culture and humanities saw some of the biggest losses. (Pioneer Press 🔒)

🇸🇴 The Department of Homeland Security will extend the Temporary Protected Status program for hundreds of Somali people living in the U.S. (AP via ABC News)

🍽️ Owamni, a new restaurant highlighting indigenous cuisine, is now open in Minneapolis' Water Works park. (Food & Wine)

🥣 Rochester resident Dale Haigh has no trouble tracking down a "Breakfast of Champions." He's collected more than 400 boxes of Wheaties over the last 40 years. (Pioneer Press 🔒)

4. The "public health crisis" of missing and murdered Black women

The case of Brittany Clardy, an 18 year old from St. Paul who was killed in 2013, was a driving force behind Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women. Photo courtesy of the Clardy family

Minnesota will soon launch what appears to be the nation's first state-level panel to address the disproportionately high rates of violence against Black women.

Why it matters: Black women die of homicide at twice the rate of women in general, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent death data suggests the trend holds here.

  • But cases involving Black women tend to receive less attention from law enforcement, media and the public, said Rep. Ruth Richardson, the Mendota Heights Democrat who proposed the idea.

How it works: The Task Force on Missing and Murdered African American Women, approved as part of a public safety budget bill, will be modeled after the state's recent work on missing and murdered Indigenous women.

  • The group will come up with policy recommendations by December 2022.

What they're saying: Richardson told us she hopes it accomplishes more than "another shiny report."

  • "It really is truly a public health crisis," she said. "We hope this is a moment that not only moves us forward in Minnesota, but sets a standard for other states."

Full story.

5. One cool thing to go: A shipping container house

Is this the Twin Cities' first shipping container home? Photo courtesy of Amber Steiner/eXp Realty

Forget about exposed brick interiors — it's all about the metal shipping containers at this $280,000 North Minneapolis home.

Background: This 1,300-square-foot house, built this year by Paragon Designs, claims to be the first shipping container home in the Twin Cities.

  • The three-bed, two-bath, five-container home sits on a 0.2-acre corner lot in the Jordan neighborhood.
  • It's even got a cute balcony and an unfinished basement.

Of note: It's part of the Minneapolis Homes Program, which helps provide funding for affordable homes and promotes homeownership. Potential buyers must qualify.

Audrey's thoughts: Could the appeal of this industrial look be one of the factors behind the global shipping container shortage?

Check out the listing here.

Photo courtesy of Amber Steiner/eXp Realty

#LocalAngle Update: Winona State alum Andrew Spencer was sent home on last night's episode of "The Bachelorette" on ABC.

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