Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just Like That, Criminal History Info On Maurice Meeks, Homicide Victim......

Stock photo and blog post by John Hoff

Just minutes after throwing the question out to the universe, the criminal history of Maurice Meeks made its way to me. Meeks was killed in a bizarre car-versus-porch incident, click here for more info.

Hawthorne Hawkman blogged about the criminal history of the alleged killer, but my question in a previous blog post was "what about the criminal history (if any) of the victim?"

Often, (but certainly not always) when murders take place in North Minneapolis, both the victims and the killers have rough records and long histories of mutual association. Maurice Meeks was no exception to this common pattern...

Without further ado, here is the history of no-account Maurice "Mo" Meeks, dead in an incident which was bizarre but, in its own way, hardly surprising:

MEEKS, MAURICE 04/25/1975 05/11/1993 Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown Crim/Traf Mandatory Closed 2ND DEG MURDER-UNINTENTIONAL 2ND DEG MURDER 25-T0-03-001688 R 998072 R 998072 R 998072 MEEKS, MAURICE 04/21/1975 03/10/2003 Goodhue Moving - Misdemeanor Converted Closed SPEED 83/55 VIOLATE INSTRCTNL PERMIT DRIVER SM AMT MARIJUANA 25-T8-03-001857 R 098762 R 098762 R 098762 R 098763 R 098763 R 098763 MEEKS, MAURICE 04/21/1975 03/14/2003 Goodhue Driving Intoxicated Converted Closed 4TH DEGREE DWI 4TH DEG REFUSAL TO TEST PERMIT VIOLATION STOP SIGN VIOLATION SEATBELT NO PROOF OF INSURANCE 25-T9-04-000968 R 104661 MEEKS, MAURICE 04/21/1975 02/09/2004 Goodhue Moving - Misdemeanor Converted Closed DAR 25-K3-04-000335 MEEKS, MAURICE NMN 04/21/1975 03/08/2004 Goodhue 5th Degree Assault -K Converted Closed TERRORISTIC THREATS ASLT-5TH DEGREE ASLT-5TH/FEAR BODILY HARM ASLT-5TH/FEAR BODILY HARM CRIM DMG-4TH DEGREE 27-CR-04-079021 MEEKS, MAURICE 04/ 25/1975 12/01/2004 Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Southdale Crim/Traf Mandatory Closed 2ND DEG DWI -REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO TEST 3RD DEG DWI -ALCOHOL DRIVE AFTER REVOCATION POSSESS SMALL AMT MARIJUANA-MV OBSTRUCT LEGAL PROCESS OR ARREST 27-CR-07-022697 MEEKS, MAURICE 04/25/1975 04/10/2007 Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown Crim/Traf Mandatory Under Court Jurisdiction Drugs - 5th Degree - Possess Schedule 1,2,3,4 - Not Small Amount

What more can be said? Another textbook example of "He who lives by the sword, by that same sword he shall surely die."

Seeking Answers About Maurice Meeks, Homicide Victim...

Stock photo and blog post by John Hoff

Maurice Meeks is dead, killed in a bizarre car-versus-front-porch incident in North Minneapolis. His alleged killer has a long and notable criminal record as documented by Hawthorne Hawkman, click here.

However, to date nobody has written about the record (if any) of Maurice "Mo" Meeks, who was hanging around with a notorious no-account on the night he was killed, which already says plenty.

I attempted to look into Meeks' record...

...but the website where I check into criminal records is down today. Darn. And right when I had a little bit of time and a little bit of internet access, which gave me an opportunity to tackle this particular task.

I will certainly get around to digging up information about Maurice "Mo" Meeks later, but for now I just want to ask the question out loud: what kind of record did the victim have?

You see, I think North Minneapolis is a very safe place: safe for decent citizens who keep their noses clean and don't hang around with notorious criminal no-accounts. The record (if any) of Maurice "Mo" Meeks would help me support that hypothesis or, in the alternative, help disprove it. Which is it? Does anybody know?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Contrasting Information in the NRRC Staff and Property Story

Contributed Photo of Johnny Northside playing the "telephone" game
About a month ago, Johnny Northside Dot Com reported that there was a story circulating within the northside movers and shakers scene that mirrored an "Old Majority JACC" (click here for an explanation of what THAT refers to) style move in which computers and files had been not-so-legally removed from the NRRC (Northside Residents Redevelopment Council) offices. 

Today, an opposing version of the story emerged from a source close to NRRC.  So in true Johnny Northside fashion of publishing all sides of a story here is the alternate version:

NRRC has been forced to lay off all the staff members (my commentary: presumably due to lack of funds although the source did not state this reason).  The board member volunteers have been trying to keep the organization going, but have had some challenges (my commentary: understandably so, going from full and part time staff to no staff and volunteers who likely have their own full time jobs is a major challenge).  The volunteer board members have been going through paperwork that is, in some cases, decades old and no longer needed.  This is where the shredded documents rumor comes from; documents were shredded because they were old and no longer needed, not because someone did something nefarious.

One computer that was rarely used was sent off to be donated, by some misunderstanding by the last staff member on the last day of employment.  This decision was quickly reversed by the board members and the computer was returned the next day.  NRRC had a policy to store electronic documents on a web-based server and not on a hard drive, so the computer should not have had any documents on it anyways. ~NRRC volunteer

As always, anyone with additional details, information or commentary should feel free to use the comment section.  You know, it's completely anonymous.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NoMi Newlyweds: Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Brian Reichow - Part One - The Ceremony

The love story of NoMi revitalizer, Brian Reichow, and his sweetie, Chriss Garlick, has a new chapter to share. The couple tied the knot this past weekend, actually on 10-10-10. Their engagement celebrations have been shared a couple of times here on JNS (click here and also here) and so it's only fitting to share their wedding, reception and next day after party here on JNS, too, rather than my own blog which tends to be a bit of a social event photo journal.  Here's the photo journal here after the jump....

The Groom and parents wait for the ceremony to begin
The flowers were stunning, of course
Brian and his daughter Ariel, a Junior Bridesmaid, walk the aisle
Waiting for his Bride
The Flower Girl heads down the aisle
She dropped autumn leaves from her basket
Here comes the Bride, with her Daddy, - LOVE!
Bride and Groom arrive together at the altar
A Wedding Prayer -  Bride: "Dear Lord, please help him to put the seat down" Groom: "Dear Father, please let her believe me when I say I didn't hear her hollering because the plaster walls are too thick"  - Just Kidding!
Mothers of Bride and Groom light the two candles symbolizing their individual children
The couple use their symbolic candles to light their Unity Candle
Jr Bridesmaid Ariel was the only attendant I had a clear shots of, she was lovely.
A last blessing before the declaration of Husband and Wife
The Pastor: "Introducing Mr and Mrs Brian Reichow" - I love the smiles!
"You may now kiss the Bride"
Stay tuned for photo journal of the reception party!

Were NoMi Taxable Property Values Assessed Differently?

A lovely NoMi home

Today I received an email shared on our neighborhood listserv that references a possible difference in the way NoMi area homes were assessed versus the way other areas of the city were assessed.

Apparently the U of M Law Clinic is looking for homeowners to evaluate this discrepancy further. Here's the email that was shared:


Through a friend my partner and I were contacted by the U of M Law Clinic regarding an issue with overpayment on our property taxes. Please take a minute to read - this could change the way our taxable property values are assessed in the future. They are looking for a few more representatives from neighborhoods in Near North to be plaintiffs in this case.

I don't know all of the details but apparently property owners in North Minneapolis have been paying more property taxes because the assessed values of their homes were not properly calculated using the foreclosures and the short sales in their area, which would have brought the taxable value down. However, in other Minneapolis neighborhoods, the taxes were calculated differently.

They are looking for people who have owned their home since at least 2007 and are still living in the home as homeowners.. .they also have to be US citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Michael Gavigan at the U of M Law Clinic. His email is gavi0088@umn. edu and the phone number at the Law Clinic is 612-625-5515.

Thanks,  (names & address withheld)

I have noticed this issue getting attention elsewhere on the nets, specifically in this post over on The Deets blog.  

So, have at it, comment away on your opinions and predictions.  Tell your taxable assessed value story, contact the U of M Law Clinic and come back here to fill us in.  Or not. I've always heard that the tax assessors are pretty reasonable to deal with, am I hearing right? I'm particularly interested in hearing a theory on how NoMi values were differently calculated.  Please do share.
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Monday, October 11, 2010

Kemps UFOs and Cows Painted Over!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Am I the only one who is disappointed here? John has long railed against the Kemps' UFO/Cow panorama as a symbol of "urban dystopia." Me, I grew up on a farm and I love science fiction. I rather LIKED the Kemps building. (Full disclosure: Kemps bought the milk from my family farm until the cows were sold several years ago.)

And now the palette is clean, leaving us to imagine what might be painted in its place.

A Long-Standing JNS Theory is Put to the Test

I was given Polish sausage as a thank you while planting at the EcoVillage LEED house several weeks ago.

At the MetLife award presentation, I tried holding it wrapped up like a baby in a blanket...that didn't work.
Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, contributed photos.

Well, it's been a while since I hopped over to JNS to do a post.  For anyone who wasn't aware, I've got my own blog that I've been working on.  But every so often, there will come a time when a post deserves to be put up over here instead of on my site.  Today we have not one, but two such instances.

We have tested this theory numerous times with various NoMi activists.  City dignitaries have tried it out.  And no matter who tests it and under what circumstances, it holds as true today as when it was first posited.  That theory of course, is:  There is no family-friendly way to pose with a Polish sausage.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

5th Ward Councilman Don Samuels Weekly Address - Dangerous Dog Ordinances

Something new started by the Minneapolis 5th Ward Council office is a weekly video address from Councilman Don Samuels.  This video update format is a popular social media trend for politicians, like Newark Mayor Cory Booker, whom some of us Jordan neighbors follow closely with much admiration.  (side tangent: if you haven't seen the documentary "Street Fight", do it! It's fascinating)

So I figured if Mayor Booker does it, we should do it, too.  I sent the suggestion in to the 5th Ward office and voila! The awesome staff there is using this medium to get news out to constituents.  But it is up to us to share it and get the word out.  So please, send the youtube video link around to your neighbors, your friends and family in the 5th ward, your block club and neighborhood listserv. Heck, this week's video even applies to the whole city, so send it far and wide.

Councilman Don Samuels and I have done this type of thing in the recent past. Like when we visited different spots on West Broadway to show some of the recent development projects*Note to self* Hmmm.... time for a West Broadway update. The 5th Ward staff is helping him make these videos, so I'll have to find some other reason to stalk him around with my camera (inside joke, well, maybe more like half inside, half outside joke).

So keep an eye on Don Samuels' facebook page, or just stay tuned to Johnny Northside, and we'll bring more weekly video addresses to you here.  Knowing Councilman Samuels, I'm sure he'd be interested to get your questions or topic suggestions emailed to him at

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Presentation of Future School Headquarters Building

The September 27 community forum, Dessert with Don, featured a powerpoint presentation of the anticipated construction specifics of the new Minneapolis Public School Educational Services Center, although I think we will mostly hear it referred to as the district headquarters.  This building will be constructed at 1250 West Broadway, which is currently the site of Broadway Community School, between Fremont and Girard.

Lynn Littlejohn of Mortenson Construction gives the presentation and construction specifics.  The building will be a state of the art, 175,000 square foot multi-level building.  They will be seeking LEED Silver certification.  It will play host to a number of uses including the district headquarters, the professional development location for MPS faculty, Adult Basic Ed, a Welcome Center and it will be open for various community events and functions.  There is also a pdf with project information located here.

Ms. Littlejohn also entertained questions, which centered around minority contracting goals and parking issues. For the record, Lynn gives the minority contracting goals in this video above, but in the discussion that took place off camera, a concerned citizen urged Mortenson to stretch those goals and aim for higher percentages of minority contracting.  City councilman Don Samuels urged them as well, asking them to make this project the highest percentages of a major construction project in the city ever to be built.  Lynn agreed and vowed to take the feedback to the development team and urge them to stretch those goals as far as they can, and make the goals in writing now be their base minimum.

Another question entertained pertained to parking.  The project designs as they are right now include a large number of surface parking spaces, approximately 550 spaces and a recent Minnpost article suggests that number is overzealous and unsustainable.  For anyone interested, I have posted video, click here, of the parking discussion in which Mark Bollinger of MPS very successfully communicates how this building will have a constant flow of people coming and going at all hours of the day and evening.  They have analyzed estimates of maximum visitors they might host for various functions.  They anticipate alternative transportation methods to be encouraged and adopted by the staff, however that is hard to estimate at this time.  They have tried to walk the fine line of having enough parking available and not having to flood the surrounding neighborhoods with cars on the streets. Additionally, they state that some of the parking surface area will be permeable, to reduce water run-off, to help them attain their green goals.

For those of us living in this community it is an exciting development to see this coming to our main corridor, West Broadway, and the renaissance is being pieced together before our very eyes.  Thank you MPS for choosing NoMi as your future home.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Massive Police Response to Thug Memorial Riot

Contributed Cell Phone Image, Cub Foods, 9-26-10

The early evening of Sunday, September 26 brought a massive police presence to West Broadway, eerily similar to a Sunday afternoon exactly one year ago.

I received the contributed photo above on my cell phone, from a friend who went to Cub Foods to grab some groceries for her family.  Knowing me all to well, she figured I'd know what was going on, or would at least get to the bottom of it shortly. Sure enough, she was right. The photo now makes sense after learning about the Haywood Eaton Memorial Riot, written about in the previous post. 

This is what we counter-affectionately refer to as "thugs being thuggy".  Or, to break that down for you further, the people causing this sort of problem around the northside city country would be fine to live around and have as community members.  It's their choice of thuggy behavior that makes life so difficult. Really difficult.  Just ask Haywood Eaton.

In honor of Haywood Eaton, go out and make some 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 revitalization calls.  Perhaps it could even save a life.


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Haywood Eaton Memorial Attendees Incite Riot on West Broadway

Crowd gathered at scene of homicide 9-27-09
Officers push back the crowd and expand the crime tape perimeter
Crime Lab van arrives on the scene, yellow tape as far as the eyes can see
Expanded perimeter in place, Officers guard the scene and scan the crowd for disturbances

Haywood Eaton was gunned down in broad daylight on West Broadway last September.  This September, one year later, there was a gathering in his honor. Here's the summary from the Fourth Precinct highlights, which many revitalizers counter-affectionately refer to as the low lights.

Assault4/ Police/Emergency Personnel  / Riot
10XX Broadway Ave W       Sunday          9/26/10                1653 hrs                             10-296059
Officers responded to a disturbance at this location.  Officers attempted to speak to a party who was running a “memorial” with approx. 100 people in attendance.   While getting out of the squad car, AP2/female, 46 yrs, kicked the door back at officer, pinning his legs between the squad door & the squad frame.  Officer made contact with AP2 & a fight ensued.  During the fight, AP2 attempted to grab the officer’s gun numerous times.  AP2 was taken into custody.  The group began inciting a riot & officers advised the group numerous times on the PA system that they were engaging in unlawful assembly & if they didn’t leave, they’d be arrested.  Someone threw a rock at the squad, breaking the window & door frame.   A total of 6 people were either booked in HCJ or tagged for their participation.  AP5/female, 19 yrs, was booked in HCJ for PC RIOT due to her involvement in the unlawful assembly which resulted in an intentional act of violence towards officers & damage to city property.   Officers received medical attention.  

Let us all look forward to the day when our community is not burdened with the violence towards each other, nor towards the police that serve and protect us.  Let's wish for the day when homicide memorials have no reason to take place and our police are not endangered by rioting thug memorializers who try to steal their guns straight off their hips. 

God Bless the 4th Precinct. GBT4P.  
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

So-Low African Snail Culinary Experiment Goes So, So Wrong...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

North Minneapolis is home to numerous ethnic groups and, therefore, numerous ethnic food stores. And, while the jaw-droppingly affordable store known as So-Low isn't an ethnic food store, per se, they do have an incredible selection of ethnic food items. Anybody who reads this blog for very long knows I can't resist any kind of strange food, and I will go out of my way to try things I haven't tried before. So it was I got my hands on some African snails from So-Low. This happened a few months ago, but I am going through some of my old pictures and, well, I found the snail images like a pocket of suppressed memory. The horror, the horror...

My girlfriend Megan Goodmundson was a good sport about cooking the slimy beasties, after trying to marinate them. I tried to find some good and SIMPLE recipes on the internet, but I didn't have much luck. Most of the recipes I found involved putting the snails in a pressure cooker, which we didn't have available, as well as crazy talk about soaking the snails in alum. (Whatever THAT might be!)

Well, we figured we could just skewer the snails and throw them on a grill.

Wrong. So wrong.

I am not sure what shoe leather tastes like, but I am confident those grilled snails tasted pretty close.

This goes to show not every exotic food experiment goes right, not even with a cook as good as Megan Goodmundson.

But without a periodic spectacular failure, success wouldn't be as sweet.

If It Looks Like An Inconvenience Store, And SMELLS Like An Inconvenience Store (E & L Food Market, 1122 Lowry Avenue North)

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

If anything good has ever come out of E & L Food Market, 1122 Lowry Ave. N., I'd sure love to see documented proof. As far as I can tell, this is a classic "inconvenience store," and the only reason it's not on everybody's radar is simply because it's too far from any homes which might be menaced by the...

...constant dubious "hanging around" outside.

This small, nasty store is apparently affiliated with somebody named Adil Albosaad, who is listed as a contact for the store in an online resource. His name also comes up with the spectacular crappy inconvenience store known as "Star Foods" at 818 Lowry Ave. N., which was the subject of a written agreement with the City of Minneapolis, click here to read the agreement. I think it would be a good thing for decent citizens in NoMi to check, now and then, to see if agreements like this are being enforced.

In the meantime, if something walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is best to call it a duck.

E & L Foods at 1122 Lowry Ave. N. is an inconvenience store. So is Star Foods.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Congratulations to Peter Teachout - U.S. Army Officer Candidate

Photo by Me

Word comes via Facebook that award winning north Minneapolis good citizen Peter Teachout has graduated from U.S. Army Basic Training Boot Camp and is headed on to Officer Candidate School (OCS).

I know Johnny Northside himself would want to shout "Congratulations!" and "Thank you for your service" to Peter and his family, but it will have to be a message delivered through me, for now.

JNS regulars should be well familiar with Peter and the whole Teachout family. Their trials and victories have been well documented here, most notably a flaming truck, a new baby, an army swearing in ceremony and a tear-jerking city council ceremony with an official "thank you" and "good luck" from several city council members and the Mayor.

Before Peter shipped off to boot camp neighbors bid him farewell at a cook-out send off, where the night was capped with one last Shoe Patrol*, removing dangling shoes from overhead power lines.  The photo above displays the evening's catch with Peter on the left, an honorary northsider, Johnny Northside himself, Peter's son Peter in the red and John's son Alex on the right. (*Note, one last show patrol doesn't mean they will never venture out on that mission, but the handy dandy white truck that was so useful was traded in for a minivan for the army family)

And this blog post dedicated to the Teachouts wouldn't be complete without some love to Joyanne, Peter's wife, who is holding down the family of four children back home in NoMi, enduring the separation and taking on the role of Army soldier's wife. Joy, thank you for the sacrifices you and your family are making. You are loved.

Peter, good luck in OCS, we are thinking of you and your family. We know the separation is hard and boot camp is no picnic - but THANK YOU!  You'll make a fine Army Officer.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

From Soccer Mom SUVs To The Streets Of North Minneapolis...

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

About a month ago, I purchased "new to me" tires at Rusty's Tire, 2401 West Broadway. The tires cost 30-something dollars each, which included the installation. Where, I wondered, does Rusty's get such affordable tires?

One of the guys at the shop told me how the owner goes to...

...scrapyards and finds the vehicles with decent tires, which he purchases and resells at the shops. But scrapyards are probably not the only source of re-salable tires. A friend of mine related what she was told about the source of Rusty's wares: out in the affluent suburbs, "soccer mom" car owners purchase new tires yearly. But their old tires are still relatively decent, suitable for resale in our happy (rapidly revitalizing!) hood. Thus the tires make their way down the socio-economic food chain. Everybody wins, including the earth, since re-using tires is better for the environment than creating new tires. (Though riding a bike and using mass transit is, of course, even better)

I must say that, for a long time, I hesitated to do business with Rusty's. It was only due to the repeated enthusiastic recommendations of my friends (click for only one example, already published on this blog) that I ventured into their humble shop on West Broadway. Now I'm a fan of Rusty's and I will be buying all my "next to new" tires there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Senator Linda Higgins - State Laws Regarding Sex Offender Placement

At the August 30th 'Dessert with Don" community forum the featured topic was sex offenders in North Minneapolis.  In this video our state Senator Linda Higgins speaks a bit about the state law that references the mitigation of concentration of sex offenders in one area. 

As most Johnny Northside readers already know, the state law is too vague and not defined or clear enough to help the northside communities that have become a dumping ground for the bottom of the barrel sex offenders that can't find housing anywhere else.

There is a movement in North Minneapolis to lobby the state legislators and department heads from various angles to get some action taken to rewrite the books to help impacted communities and distribute the burden of housing sex offenders.

Additionally, not on video, Senator Higgins was asked about the State of Minnesota's law regarding publishing, or rather NOT publishing the exact address of sex offenders residence.  Her answer was that years ago the legislators decided that since there was some previous instances of angered mobs attacking sex offenders, or possibly attacking the wrong person due to misinformation, the state decided to NOT publish the exact addresses but only name the block on which they live.

She said she does not see this law changing in Minnesota, despite over half of the 50 states in the country choosing to give the exact address.  Higgins said that it's likely that everyone on the block in which a sex offender lives, knows exactly what house is occupied by the sex offender.  Perhaps the state legislator should consider that choosing to NOT publish the exact address is exactly what leads to misinformation and cases of mistaken identity.