Axios Twin Cities

Picture of the Twin Cities skyline with MSP written across it.

Good morning!

💨 The gales of November: Expect a high of around 41 today, with wind gusts up to 30 mph.

Today's newsletter is 946 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Boosters for all

Illustration of a syringe as a rocket propelling through the atmosphere

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 boosters will soon be available to anyone who wants one in Minnesota.

Driving the news: Department of Health commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday that the state will expand booster eligibility to all Minnesotans this week, whether or not the federal government gives the green light.

  • The announcement comes as the Biden administration prepares to expand authorization to all adults in the coming days, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Why it matters: Minnesota has some of the highest COVID case rates in the nation. On Tuesday, the average seven-day test positivity rate exceeded 10% for the first time in almost a year.

  • Booster shots are an added layer of protection against illness amid the ongoing surge.

Context: Data shows that while the shots continue to offer strong protection against serious illness, vaccine effectiveness has waned over time and with the rise of the Delta variant, Caitlin writes.

  • While there's disagreement among experts about whether all adults need a booster, studies show the extra doses, administered months after the first shots, can restore protection to higher levels.

What they're saying: Malcolm told reporters in a press call that concerns about the surge in cases and an increase in breakthrough cases drove the decision to move ahead.

  • "The data are so compelling on the value of boosters to increase that level of protection that we think it's quite urgent to move," she said.

Yes, but: Demand for boosters or additional doses has been relatively low so far among those already eligible, a population that includes seniors, people with underlying health conditions and anyone who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • About 715,000 third and booster doses have been administered in Minnesota so far, per MDH data. For context, more than 3 million adults are fully vaccinated.

Between the lines: Approval from state and federal officials could encourage more Minnesotans to seek boosters, although many residents are already eligible given the current criteria.

  • Existing guidelines, for example, allow anyone with a body mass index over 25 to get a shot. Two-thirds of the population meets that criteria.

What to watch: Upcoming Thanksgiving gatherings and travel could worsen the fall surge.

2. Athletic fields, at a mall

A rendering showing an athletic field surrounded by tall fences in a parking lot

This is a rendering of the athletic field Dick's wants to build in Minnetonka. Image: Nelson Worldwide via city of Minnetonka

Dick's Sporting Goods wants to build an athletic field outside of its store in Minnetonka's Ridgedale Center mall.

Driving the news: The Minnetonka Planning Commission will vote on the proposal Thursday.

  • City staff is recommending commissioners approve it.

Details: The 31,000-square-foot field would be surrounded by a running/walking trail.

  • Dick's will expand and rebrand the store as one of its new House of Sports "multi-sport experiential" stores, according to a staff report.

Of note: The first two of these stores have rock climbing walls and golf simulators.

  • At the first location, near Rochester, New York, the field is open year-round for individual athletes and teams, and becomes an ice rink in the winter.

Yes, but: Does this thing look a bit like a prison yard?

What to watch: If the commission OKs the proposal, it would still need City Council approval.

3. Pic du jour: This just isn't right

giant spoon sculpture in a pond in front of minneapolis skyline

A cherry-less spoon. Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

Notice anything strange at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden?

What's happening: "Spoonbridge and Cherry" will be fruitless for a few months. The cherry was removed on Tuesday and sent to New York for a fresh coat of paint.

  • It'll return in mid-January, according to the Walker Art Center.

4. The Spoon: No cherry today, but plenty of news

Illustration of a pattern of the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture in Minneapolis.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚧 After nearly two years and $60 million, the 10th Avenue bridge connecting downtown Minneapolis and the neighborhoods near the U of M has reopened. (Star Tribune)

🗳️ State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray announced that she won't run for re-election next year. The Minneapolis Democrat, who represents a district that includes Richfield, Fort Snelling and South Minneapolis, was the first Latina to serve in the chamber. (Statement via Twitter)

💰 A flurry of officer-misconduct claims after George Floyd's murder has the city of Minneapolis expecting to pay out $111 million. (Minnesota Reformer)

⚾️ The Twins front office is listening to trade interest for centerfielder Byron Buxton, but team chairman Jim Pohlad is hesitant to let another homegrown star leave. (The Athletic)

📈 Minnesota companies Arctic Wolf, Branch and Inspire Medical made Deloitte's list of the 500 fastest-growing tech companies. (Deloitte)

🛒Target posted another strong quarter with comparable sales up 12.7%. The retailer said it will have well-stocked shelves for the holiday shopping season. (Wall Street Journal)

🌹"The Bachelorette" Michelle Young took her suitors to Betty Danger's, Lake Minnetonka and other local landmarks on last night's episode. (Entertainment Weekly)

New jobs to check out

💼 Time for a career change? Check out these fresh openings from our Job Board.

  1. Strategic Account Manager III at H.B. Fuller.
  2. Sr. Manager, National Key Accounts - Target & Total Wine at Mark Anthony Brands, Inc.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. Rogers is the center of Minnesota

A tweet of a map showing a dot in Minnesota, where Rogers is

Screenshot of Minnesota senior demographer Megan Dayton's Twitter feed

The population center of Minnesota has moved 1.1 miles southeast and remains in Rogers, near the Interstate 94/Highway 101 interchange.

Driving the news: Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau publishes centers of population for the country and every state.

Between the lines: The continued inching southeast reflects the growing population of the Twin Cities pulling the center of gravity.

  • Back in 1970, Minnesota's center of population was about 7 miles northwest of Rogers, in Albertville, per the census data.

Nick's take: At a rate of 1.1 miles per decade, the center point is moving about as fast as eastbound traffic on I-94 in Rogers on Sunday summer nights.

6. Hit these trails for National "Take a Hike" Day

trees and fence covered in snow

Mendota Heights after a snowfall. Photo: Bernie Friel/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Today is National "Take a Hike" Day! We asked readers to submit their favorite winter hikes within a few hours of the Twin Cities.

  • Here's what you said:

Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton — Delton

  • What we recommend: Ogantz Trail. Good for hiking, downhill skiing, snowshoeing and St. Louis River views.

Wood-Rill Scientific and Natural Area in Wayzata — Kevin G.

  • What we recommend: Wood-Rill Loop. Good for hiking, snowshoeing and spotting wildlife.

Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove — Kristi M.

Keep reading.

📖 In lieu of our regular Wednesday media picks, we're urging you to check out "The Vote Collectors," a new book out this week from our colleague Michael Graff.

Editor's note: Life Time has canceled the 5K Turkey Trot we mentioned in yesterday's newsletter. Check out the updated list — including a new addition in the east metro.