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Omicron Has Had Just About Enough of Your Shit

Plus South St. Paul's strange mayor, passive-aggressive bagels, and schools resisting kids' demands in today's Flyover.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Sewage Never Lies

Good news from the rank depths of the Twin Cities wastewater system. Judging by what grownups like your pals at Racket call “shit” and MPR and other twee outlets call “poop,” the worst of Omicron is behind us here in the metro area. (“Behind,” ha! I kill me.) The COVID levels in our wastewater peaked around January 10, which suggests we’re on a downward trend. As the MPR story points out, however, testing might take longer than usual to reflect this change, given current delays in processing. And the spread of Omicron has yet to peak statewide—a model developed at the Mayo Clinic prophecies that this will come on January 26. So are we in the clear or not? It’s stool too soon to say.

The Mayor of South St. Paul Is a Serial Clout Thief

Judging by Twitter feed, South St. Paul mayor James P. Francis is a vocal supporter of Friend of Racket Sheletta Brundidge and reply guy to various local sports radio personalities. So far, so what. But Mayor Francis also has what you might almost call a catchphrase on Twitter: “Just took this.” He typically tweets this along with some pretty or amusing nature pics, so you might think the mayor is something of a shutterbug. But yesterday, after Francis went semi-viral with a photo of some snow people in a canoe on a frozen lake, several Twitter accounts pointed out the same photo had been on Reddit a year ago. (And that the lake was in Michigan.) Another Twitter sleuth discovered that he’d lifted this pic that he “just took” from Reddit too, and this one from Instagram.

So what gives? Why is this guy repeatedly saying other people’s pictures are his? The mayor’s defense is basically: It’s just Twitter. “Why is it my obligation to give you the source site?” he said to Bring Me the News. “My stance is, it’s for entertainment.” He went on to say, “If you don’t live in South St. Paul MN, then what the mayor tweets doesn’t affect you.” Gotta be weird when your mayor is basically one those people who write “no copyright infringement intended” on their Rizzoli and Isles YouTube slash tributes. Anyway, not sure what the mayor is gaining by digging in his heels like this, but it sure is, to use his word, entertainment. Stand your ground, Jimmy! 

Bagel Joint Flips from “All Are Welcome” to “None Are Welcome”

Look, we get it. The continued impact of the pandemic on our lives and livelihoods is frustrating. But sometimes you gotta just mutter under your breath and move on. Instead, Rise Bagels Co. has responded to the Minneapolis health regs that go into effect today, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent Covid-negative test, by shutting down indoor dining, presumably until the restrictions lift. “The City of Minneapolis’ latest executive order goes into effect tomorrow,” the post reads. “We have made the tough decision to once again stack up our tables & chairs. We regret that we can’t offer you a place to dine at this time.” Now that’s a perfect passive-aggressive Minnesotan announcement. They don’t even say they’re against the rules—just that the rules are making them shut down. You did this to yourself, Minneapolis! So of course, it’s not their fault commenters are applauding their stance against “segregation.” And it’s not their fault Rise received a $116,900 (forgiven) PPP loan from the federal government to stay in business. But they sure do know how to get a rise out of us.

Despite Student Walkout, St. Paul Schools Reject Shutdown 

In response to a districtwide walkout led by students concerned that the St. Paul Public Schools weren’t doing enough to address Covid safety, the St. Paul school board voted on a motion to shift to remote learning for two weeks yesterday. However, they voted to reject it, 4 to 3, leaving individual schools the option of going remote. As of Tuesday, St. Paul schools had reported 2,444 positive cases in January, up from 690 in December. The students vowed to continue with the walkouts until their demands are met. (And they say Racket never writes about St. Paul!)