Sid But True

This month, we feature two stories on different topics that nevertheless have a common theme. Both stories tend to be on subjects that a lot of people find mysterious, fascinating, and, at times, highly frustrating.

The first is real estate. These days, it’s hard to think of another topic that can so quickly make an otherwise stoic and even-keeled Midwesterner want to lie on the floor and curl up in the fetal position. Indeed, each day seems to bring more bad news: an increasing number of foreclosures, declining property values, non-existent home sales.

All of which is why we figured this would be the perfect time to do a cover story on Twin Cities real estate. That may sound a little strange, even a bit sadistic given the state of things, but sometimes our job is to give you the information you need, not just the news you want. And there is a lot of information in our story that you need to know. The package, which was put together by the magazine’s managing editor, Joel Hoekstra, assesses which Twin Cities communities are hurting, which areas are (relatively) thriving, and which are holding steady—in a way that allows you to understand exactly how your city, town, or neighborhood stacks up.

Of course, numbers can’t tell you everything, which is why we also decided to highlight communities that are great for certain kinds of people, whether it’s young families or empty nesters or nature lovers.

We’re pretty sure that reading our cover story isn’t going to improve the economy or increase the value of your home (though, given everything that’s going on, do you really want to chance it?). That said, the piece will give you the information you need to better navigate the market at a time of unprecedented and dramatic change. And, if nothing else, it’ll at least give you something to cuddle with while you’re curled up in the fetal position.

Along with the real estate package, this month we feature a story on a topic that tends to fascinate and frighten people all over the Midwest: Sid Hartman.

I grew up following the Twins and Vikings, which means I grew up with an oddly innate sense of who Sid was. I don’t remember anybody ever having to explain what he did or why he was famous. I just knew. And yet, I later realized all I really knew about Sid was the legend—the apocryphal stories I’d heard over the years about his work ethic, his contacts, and his penchant for being a world-class SOB. In my mind, he was less a person than a caricature, a cartoon.

When it comes to Sid, I don’t think that’s an uncommon experience; it’s one of the reasons we wanted to do a story on him. And in our profile, writer Jeff Severns Guntzel reveals Sid to be many of the things his detractors say he is: difficult, arrogant—someone who’s eager to cozy up to power. Yet the piece also reveals Sid to be a more complicated and sympathetic figure than many might realize. In short, it does what good magazine stories are supposed to do: It makes you realize that the truth, as messy as it can be, is always more fascinating than the fable.

Andrew Putz

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