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One of our favorite quirky components to summer, the Floating Library is all set to return to the water next weekend. The installation, which features a catalogue of artist-created publications and zines, will be anchored off the beach at Lake Phalen in St. Easy and open Saturday and Sunday afternoons in July and the first weekend of August. In addition to rowing or swimming out to the library, the project will being partnering with the East Side Freedom Library to present a workshop, taught by Johnson-Ortiz, for you to make books about your family history to be included on the Floating Library. That’s happening on Sunday, July 10 from 1-4pm, and is free.
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News: The MPLS Park Board is moving forward with more redevelopment, this time near the former Fuji-Ya space.
Notes: The City of MPLS is apparently is in a midlife crisis where they need to change everything about the city. Condos everywhere! But also sleek green space everywhere! New wacky acronym names for all the neighborhoods! Construction, construction, construction! There’s a sad component to this particular development, though—the MPLS Park Board essentially ran that Fuji-Ya location out of business to acquire the land for the river road, and then just sat on it for years. The daughter of Reiko Weston, the Japanese woman who opened Fuji-Ya, said the stress from the city contributed to her mother’s early death.
News: The MN Daily student newspaper at the UofM announced will only print two days a week in the fall.
Notes: We’re both shocked that the daily newspaper is going down to two days a week and has any print product for students at all. Students will have to find other ways to do the crossword in class on non-run days and just read Doctor Date on the website.
News: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN will no longer sell individual insurance plans.
Notes: We know several of our readers who are freelance or self-employed deal with the nightmare of dealing with their own insurance, and the announcement just makes it worse. Along with very expensive monthly payments, deductibles are often high enough that folks under these plans essentially pay hundreds of dollars a month for the policy and still have to pay for the bulk of any visit. If this sounds like you, we recommend talking to a MNSure rep to see if you can get a cheaper option.
News: Vote on the new MN State Parks license plate designs.
Notes: With the new license plate you gain entry into all our state parks for the year! There’s an additional expense with the plates, but it’s also a contribution to keep the parks and trails in shape.
Day trips to the lake in Minnesota might be our greatest pastime. Head 40 minutes west to Waconia, MN and you’ll find not only a lake, but a badass burger. Drop your pin on a place called Hoppers Bar & Grill. No fish stories here—the Hickory Burger is a behemoth. This muskellunge sized burger is of a traditional grind, most likely chuck around an 80/20 clip. It’s seasoned nicely with the basics but there’s something sweet in the mix—just a hint or a touch, if you will. The patty is all hand with a loose pack rendering a wonderful texture and chew. It conjures up the feeling of lawn chairs on a pontoon. Meat wads gone wild! If that ain’t country it’ll harelip the Monopoly Man himself (Waconia replaced Baltic Avenue on “Monopoly Here & Now”)! The bun is soft and holds this sandwich in check. Oh my my my, the hickory smoked bacon with a little BBQ sauce is a reason to smile for weeks. Topped off with cheddar cheese and you’ve got yourself a burger worth taking a picture of. Much like that prize catch back in 98′. But this time you’ll have proof!
Scorecard: Flavor: 8.8 Presentation: 5 Originality: 6
Hoppers Bar & Grill, 119 Olive St, Waconia; hoppersbar.com