Jun 10, 2021

Axios Twin Cities

Good morning! It's Thursday.

  • ☀️We could hit 97 today, which would make it our eighth straight day in the 90s.

📷 We want your photos! Send us pics of your favorite Minnesota summer spots and we'll share a few on our Instagram @axiostwincities this weekend. Remember to include your Instagram handle if you have one.

  • You still have time to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $100 restaurant gift card. All you have to do is follow us on Instagram.

Today's newsletter is 817 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: How to spend federal COVID relief

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Cities and counties in our metro are figuring out how they plan to spend part of the $2.1 billion of federal coronavirus relief that's being allocated to Minnesota and its local governments.

Why it matters: Local officials want to put the money toward things that affect our communities, like affordable housing, homeless outreach, public safety, economic development and broadband infrastructure.

Catch up quick: The U.S. Treasury last month decided how much of the $1.9 trillion in American Rescue Plan funding states, counties and local governments would receive.

  • Half of the money has been sent out, and the rest will go out in May 2022.
  • The Treasury set up a long list of guidelines over how the funds can be spent; replenishing reserves isn't allowed.

The state of play: Minneapolis, the biggest recipient, is debating this week how to spend $271 million.

  • Mayor Jacob Frey's $89 million plan for the first round of funding includes $37 million for economic rebuilding, $28 million for housing/homelessness and $11.5 million for public safety.
  • It also includes a $3 million guaranteed basic income pilot, which would provide 200 families with $500 per month over the span of two years.

St. Paul is getting $167 million; the city plans to discuss budgets for its departments through July.

  • Deputy Mayor Jaime Tincher presented a plan earlier this month for some immediate needs, including $975,000 for additional police patrols and 14 new positions to combat homelessness that would cost the city $1.7 million per year.

Ramsey County told the Pioneer Press it'll likely use its $107 million to boost efforts to address its shortage of affordable housing.

Of note: Another $377 million is flowing into Minnesota municipalities with fewer than 50,000 people.

Go deeper: Read our full story for more on how cities such as Duluth and Edina plan to spend their funds.

  • Plus: Check out these lists for the breakdown of how much cities and counties are getting.
2. The days of packed grocery aisles are over

Photo: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twin Cities grocery stores were packed to gills in the early months of the pandemic and remained crowded for most of 2020. But stores are starting to feel more normal now that restaurants are reopening and people are cooking less.

Driving the news: United Natural Foods Inc., the Rhode Island-based grocery wholesaler that bought Eden Prairie-based Supervalu in 2018, reported a 9.3% decline in its retail segment for the third ending May 1.

  • This includes includes 52 Cub Foods stores in the Twin Cities, which make up about 75% of the company's retail portfolio.

The bottom line: The sales decline should be expected because it compares this spring to last, when shoppers were "pantry loading" during the early weeks of the pandemic, UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a news release.

3. Museums are back! Check out these exhibits

Photo courtesy of The Bell Museum

Lots of new museum exhibits are among the air-conditioned things to do this weekend. Here's our roundup:

  • Bugs Outside the Box at The Bell Museum: Ever wanted to see a 10-foot beetle? Check out the enormous sculpture display and an army of giant bugs, opening Friday. Entomophobiacs may want to skip this one.
  • Rayyane Tabet: Deep Blues at the Walker Art Museum: The museum's 60-foot-long glass wall will transform into a transparent blue landscape as part of Beirut-based artist Tabet's sculpture, light and sound installation, opening Saturday.
  • Cardboard City at the Minnesota Science Museum: They'll provide the cardboard and tools, you bring your imagination. The ongoing free build starts Friday and encourages visitors of all ages to create whatever they want out of cardboard to add to the display.
  • Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice at the Minnesota Children's Museum: Dig for fossils, explore different habitats and come face-to-face with dinosaurs. The exhibit returned to the museum May 29.
4. Catch up quick: The worst time for a home-buying service to crash

An MLS snafu has home sellers fuming. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

🏠 Bad timing: Northstar MLS had a technology snafu right in the middle of the hottest part of the home-selling season, which prevented real estate agents from posting new listings or changing existing ones. (Bring Me The News)

🍳 Hope Breakfast Bar has picked St. Louis Park's West End for a second location, with a fall opening planned. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

⚰️The good news is that the state didn't need a cold storage warehouse it purchased to potentially hold 5,000 bodies during the pandemic. But now it has to figure out what to do with the $5.5 million facility. (Star Tribune)

💰 A St. Paul charter school invested $5 million in a New Jersey hedge fund in violation of state law — and now it's short $4.3 million. (Pioneer Press)

📱 A former Minnesota state trooper pleaded guilty to taking a woman's phone during crash stop and using it to send her nude photos to his own phone. (Star Tribune)

5. One funny thing: No pause for drinking claws in Minnesota

Minnesotans are among the heaviest hard seltzer drinkers in the country. Photo: Nick Halter/Axios

Minnesotans are going to drink a lot of hard seltzer this summer. In fact, a lot more than most places.

Driving the news: Four Twin Cities locales rank among the top 10 cities that purchase the most hard seltzer, according to food delivery service Instacart.

  • The southeast metro buys 83% more hard seltzer than the U.S. average, ranking it second in the nation.
  • Maple Grove ranks fourth, at 76% above average
  • Blaine is 73% higher than average, ranking sixth.
  • Minneapolis ranks seventh at 49% higher than average.

Of note: Connecticut cities Hartford and Bridgeport make up the rest of the top five.

  • We asked Instacart why the southeast metro is lumped into one and didn't hear back.

🗣 River lovers: Weigh in on how the Minneapolis Park Board should design a new Northeast Minneapolis riverfront park.

Thanks for reading!