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Don’t Believe Everyone on TikTok Who Says They’re with Homeland Security

Plus, mystery salmonella, (even more!) new local media, and a closer look at U of M squirrels in today's Flyover.

Who are the real American heroes?
DHS website; Photo by Ryan Hyde on Unsplash

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Serial Cop Impersonator? Or Super-Deep Undercover Agent?

WCCO reports that Reyel Simmons of Dodge Center, Minnesota, has been busted for calling himself Department of Homeland Security agent “Rey Reeves” on TikTok, and also carrying around a gun and badge IRL. This is kind of his “thing”: Simmons was nabbed in Colorado for impersonating a police officer in 2004. That’s the official story, anyway. But has anyone considered the possibility that Simmons/Reeves is an undercover agent who’s in so deep he’s throwing people off his trail by pretending to be a fake agent? Wheels within wheels, my friends.

Which Way, Southwestern Man?

There’s a new independent media outlet in town—and it’s not us! Southwest Voices is “a news and information service for Southwest Minneapolis, serving the neighborhoods of Tangletown, Kingfield, Lyndale, West Bde Maka Ska, East Bde Maka Ska, East Harriet, Lynnhurst, Fulton, Windom, South Uptown, Kenny, Armatage, Lowry Hill East/The Wedge, Whittier, East Isles, Lowry Hill, and Linden Hills.” The website, southwestvoices.news, is up and running today, with a story on the poll results that led them to choose this new name. Axios reports that the site is founded by Charlie Rybak, political and digital media strategist, and Andrew Haeg, the founder of GroundSource. We love to see a robust local news economy, folks! 

Hella Salmonella

There’s an epic case of salmonella spreading across the nation, and health officials have no idea why. Twenty-five states have reported outbreaks, including 13 confirmed cases in Minnesota. According to the CDC, Minnesota ranks second to Texas in this outbreak, which has had 45 cases. Other states are reporting one to nine instances. So far, the CDC has little to go on as to the source and impressive breadth of the outbreak, which they believe started sometime in early September. Confirmed cases range from babies to senior citizens, with little to nothing in common. On top of that, cases have most likely been underreported, as many people get sick with salmonella and recover without checking into a hospital, especially during a pandemic.

Move Over, Pizza Rat

“Now I have a squirrel on my table, a squirrel behind me and then one sitting next to me,” University of Minnesota graduate Colin Vehmeier recalls, “and I’m not doing well.” Turns out squirrels run the U of M campus as much, if not more so, than President Joan Gabel. That’s our takeaway from this fascinating Minnesota Daily deep-dive into squirrel culture at the U. It’s apparently quite harrowing. Sources share anecdotes about gangs of squirrels stealing their cubanos, a particularly “buff” squirrel jacking their chemistry textbooks, and one squirrel allegedly drinking their damn White Claws. Historians are quoted and experts are consulted in “The extraordinary life of the campus squirrel,” which you should read this instant.