Jul 26, 2021

Axios Twin Cities

Happy Monday.

  • 🌦 The steamy hot weather continues today. Did anyone else catch the early morning lightning storm?

Today's newsletter is 806 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Who will pay for sprinklers in public housing

Minneapolis firefighters leave the Cedar High Apartments in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood where a fire broke out on the 14th floor, killing five people in November of 2019. Photo: David Joles/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota is looking to Washington for help protecting public housing residents from a repeat of the fatal Cedar-Riverside high-rise fire two years ago.

Driving the news: A provision in the recently passed state budget mandates that all public housing buildings over seven stories install sprinkler systems by 2033.

  • But local housing authorities say they need more money to make that happen, especially given the backlog in maintenance.

Why it matters: Sprinklers save lives, yet many of Minnesota's residential towers built before the 1990s still lack them because the buildings were exempted from modern fire safety codes.

  • Fire officials say a working system would've made a difference in the November 2019 blaze that killed five people in the Cedar High Apartments.

What's happening: Members of our local congressional delegation are pushing for cash to help local public housing authorities with sprinkler installation and other maintenance needs as part of ongoing infrastructure and spending negotiations.

  • U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar have proposed a $25 million grant program for sprinkler retrofitting, along with other funding asks.
  • And Rep. Ilhan Omar's office says she secured $2 million for the city of Minneapolis to address the fire safety issue in a draft House appropriations bill.

Zoom in: Dozens of buildings in Minneapolis will have to add sprinkler systems under the new state law. St. Paul already upgraded its public housing units as part of a two-decade renovation.

  • The Minneapolis Public Housing Authority told KSTP that each retrofitting project costs about $1 million.

What they're saying: "Most of the people who live in publicly supported housing are elderly people [who] deserve a safe and decent place to live. And that is what we must commit ourselves to," Smith said at a Friday news conference and ceremony honoring the victims of the 2019 fire.

What's next: In addition to seeking federal aid, lawmakers and advocates plan to push for funding for sprinkler retrofitting in the next state capital investment bill.

  • Local legislators say they'll also seek to expand the mandate beyond public housing.
  • "This is not the end," said DFL state Rep. Mohamud Noor, who represents Cedar-Riverside. "We would like to make sure every high-rise building in the state of Minnesota is retrofitted with sprinklers. That is the issue we will keep on fighting."
2. Tweet du jour: What's in the water in Dakota County?

Screenshot: Davota County Commissioner Joe Atkins via Twitter.

Looks like Dakota County residents have extra reason to cheer as the Olympic Games continue.

One of those local athletes, Lakeville’s Regan Smith, set an Olympic record in the 100m backstroke semifinal. Watch.

  • 🥇 What to watch today: Former Gopher Shane Wiskus competes in the men's gymnastics team final this morning.

Go deeper via the Star Tribune.

3. Remote job postings explode
Expand chart
Data: Waters Agency; Chart: Axios Visuals

Companies in the Twin Cities are increasingly open to remote-friendly roles, a new analysis finds.

Driving the news: Venture capital fund Telstra Ventures looked at hundreds of thousands of jobs posted across the country and ranked our region seventh in the nation for remote work.

  • About 15% of those jobs listed in the Minneapolis region between April 1 and June 30, 2021 were remote-friendly, up from less than 1% for the same period in 2020.

Yes, but: While many employees hope to continue to work remotely after offices reopen, not all businesses are on board, as Axios' Kim Hart reports.

  • These opportunities still represent just a small share of the overall market.

The big picture: We're in line with the national average — 14% of the postings analyzed by Telstra were for permanently remote positions.

  • Columbus, Ohio, led the nation, with 27% of jobs open to workers based outside the region.
  • Houston, meanwhile, is the least remote-friendly city, with only 2.8% of jobs posted being remote.

Go deeper.

4. Catch up quick: Trouble on the 18th hole

Rickie Fowler hits out of the rough on the 18th hole of the 3M Open. Photo: Bryan Singer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

⛳️ The 18th hole at TPC Twin Cities was a nightmare for golfers at the 3M Open over the weekend. One pro scored a 12, Rickie Fowler recorded an eight and the hole ranked as the toughest par 5 of the PGA season. (Golf.com)

📖 A record number of local school board members across the state are stepping down amid "school closures and mask debates, budget cuts, reckonings over social justice and battles about curriculum." (Star Tribune)

🦖 Paleontologists have discovered dinosaurs and shark fossils in Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet. The Mesabi Range was part of an ocean 90 million years ago. (Duluth News Tribune)

🏎 A Sauk Rapids man with Down syndrome isn't just a fan of dirt track racing at Granite City Motor Park, he's also a competitor. (Star Tribune)

⚾️ The Twins and Byron Buxton have not been able to agree to a contract extension, and the team may trade the oft-injured star centerfielder. (The Athletic)

5. 🌭 One frank thing to go: Your favorite hot dogs

That's one loaded hot dog! Photo courtesy of Uncle Franky's

We asked, you answered. Here are some of your favorite places to grab a frankfurter here in the Twin Cities:

And a response that made us smile: "No where. You drive 6 hours to Chicago to get a real Vienna 100% beef hot dog."

Thanks for reading!