Jul 21, 2021

Axios Twin Cities

Hello, and happy National Hot Dog Day.

  • 🌭 Read to the end to weigh in on your favorite frank.

Situational Awareness: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has issued an air quality alert for most of the state, including the Twin Cities, due to smoke from the wildfires in Canada. Go Deeper.

Today's newsletter is 922 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Our hot, parched summer
Reproduced from U.S. Drought Monitor; Map: Axios Visuals

Twin Cities residents are being urged to take new steps to conserve water as drought conditions worsen across the state.

Driving the news: Sprinkler restrictions take effect in Minneapolis today. Lawn watering is banned from noon to 6pm, and residents must follow an even-odd schedule outside those hours.

  • Saint Paul Regional Water Services is also asking customers across its east metro coverage area to begin following even-odd schedules and reduce use.

Why it matters: The severe drought conditions scorching more than half the state continue to stress our communities and natural resources.

What they're saying: A Kimball farmer told KARE11 he expects his hay yield to be down 75% this year. His corn crop is barely salvageable.

  • "When it gets dry like this, just emotionally it's very tough. All you have to do is look at the corn field. When it looks more like pineapples than it does corn, you know it's devastating," Don Schiefelbein told the station.

What to watch: Most local meteorologists say we need several inches of rain to turn things around. But forecasts are showing two more hot weeks ahead.

  • With temperatures in the 90s and no significant storms on the radar, things could get worse before they get better.

The bottom line: Crops are suffering. Lawns are yellowing. Rivers and lakes are dipping to near-record lows.

  • We're in the thick of a hot, dry summer and Minnesota is parched.
2. The empty stalls of Keg and Case

Photo: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

St. Paul food hall and market Keg and Case is consistently switching up its booths, but not all of the planned vendors are making it to the floor.

What's happening: Keg and Case, which reopened in May, announced a dozen new vendors would open by June 30. As of late July, at least four stalls remain empty.

Between the lines: Som Thai, a curry and pad thai eatery, Jumbos, serving hand-crafted mini sausages and burgers, and Jerusalem Mix, a kosher and halal Mediterranean cafe, were all supposed to open by June 1.

  • But the planned vendors no longer have any online or in-person presence and couldn't be reached for comment.
  • A fourth MIA eatery, build-your-own pasta bar Joey Meatballs, confirmed that they're still under construction and will be opening soon. They were supposed to open by June 30.

What they're saying: The food hall's executive director, Gates Lindquist, told Audrey that pandemic-related supply chain issues have delayed some of the planned openings, while the other booths will be "shifting concepts."

  • She declined to elaborate, but confirmed all available spots are leased.

What's next: There are no set dates on when the market will be full again, but Lindquist said they're shooting for "as soon as possible."

3. Another vote on Hiawatha Golf Course

Hiawatha Golf Course at sunset. Photo courtesy of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

The Minneapolis Park Board will take another swing tonight at a plan to restructure the Hiawatha Golf Course to nine holes.

Why it matters: Wednesday's vote on the $43 million proposal for the South Minneapolis land could mark the end of years of debate over what to do with the golf course.

  • The plan aims to address a longstanding ecological issue. Hundreds of millions of gallons of water must be pumped from beneath the greens each year to keep the land dry.
  • But many golfers want to see the full course, which was built in 1929, preserved. It's an important place for the Black community because of its history as one of the first courses in the area to welcome Black players.

Details: The plan would transform part of the course into more public park space, with trails, beach access for canoes and kayaks and a sledding area, while keeping nine holes.

Flashback: Commissioners voted 4-2, with two abstaining and one absent, to approve the plan in April. But a procedural objection related to an amendment rendered that vote obsolete.

What to expect: The proposal's fate tonight is unclear. At least one commissioner who sat out the last vote says she hasn't decided where she stands.

4. Catch up quick: Will COVID-19 cases fuel a "fourth wave"?

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

🦠 COVID-19 cases continue to climb, fueling fears that spread among the unvaccinated will cause a "fourth wave." (MPR News' David Montgomery on Twitter)

✈️ Frontier is the latest airline to add direct service between Minneapolis and Las Vegas. The new route starts in September. (Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal)

🍽️ Employees are seeking to unionize at a growing number of independent restaurants, breweries and distilleries, including in Minnesota. (New York Times 🔒)

🏀 Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore are one step closer to owning the Wolves and the Lynx, after the NBA Board of Governors approved their purchase of stake of the teams. (Star Tribune 🔒)

5. Shoreview native climbs to Olympic competition

Photo: Getty Images

Minnesota's climbing community has reason to celebrate as the Olympic Games get underway in Tokyo on Friday.

  • The sport's first year as an Olympic event will feature Kyra Condie, a Shoreview native who got her start at a local Vertical Endeavors gym.

The backstory: Condie, 25, started climbing at 11, after attending a birthday party at VE's St. Paul location.

  • She overcame spinal surgery in her quest to become a world-class rock climber.

What they're saying: "To have one of four athletes in the U.S. and one of two women (on the inaugural climbing team) be from Minnesota, it's a special badge of honor," Tracy Paino, vice president of Vertical Endeavors, told us.

  • "You don't usually associate Minnesota as a climbing destination, but lo and behold, we have someone who is homegrown."

🧗‍♀️ Get a preview of Condie's skill — and speed — on her Instagram page.

Before we fire up the grill for lunch, we thought we'd ask: Where's your favorite place to grab a hot dog in the Twin Cities?

  • Send us your recommendations and we'll feature some in the newsletter and on Instagram soon.

💰P.S. Speaking of Instagram, have you heard about our giveaway? Follow @AxiosTwinCities and you're automatically entered for a chance to win.

  • We're picking a winner this Friday.