Monday, May 31, 2010

Streetlights On Wooden Poles Are NOT Maintained By The City of Minneapolis (Surprise, Surprise)

Photo by Jennifer Olstad, blog post by John Hoff

In a conversation that took place via my Facebook home page, uber-flipper Jennifer Olstad sent me some information via Facebook about who is responsible for maintaining the streetlights on WOODEN light poles. I would have thought it was the City of Minneapolis, but I would have been wrong.

Here's what Jennifer told me...

There has been a streetlight out on my block for what seems to be eternity (according to the neighbors). In the spirit of safety for residents and their properties, I wanted it fixed! I learned that The City does NOT maintain the streetlights on wooden poles. They are maintained by XCel's Outdoor Division.

If you call, they will fix it within 48hrs! 1-800-960-6235.

Spread the word to ensure Northside streets are lit up and safe!

NoMi Artist Ken Farkash Has Opening At Sound Bar...

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

Ken Farkash, a well-known artist who picked up and completely transplanted himself to NoMi, and now has his tentacles in everything NoMi-related, had an art opening a couple nights ago at the Sound Bar.

I made a brief appearance, and it was pleasantly disconcerting to see works of art hanging on gallery walls which, prior to that, I had become accustomed to seeing just kinda kicking around within my circle of friends. Seeing the prices on the art, I started mentally reckoning up how much Farkash art I own myself, and where I could cash it in. I also can't help thinking I can spot some of the influences in Ken's life which inspired the art, such as his "Frog Boy" images.

However, if there's one thing to be said about Ken's art, it is this: His images are ACCESSIBLE to the viewer. It's easy to relate one of Ken's images to something in your own life, and imagine there is a connection.

Ken's art is going to be displayed at Sound Bar for a couple of months. Here are some more free samples...

Ken's art forms a backdrop to the Sound Bar's DJ.
I find this piece of Ken's art, above, oddly reminiscent of the cover of the second book I authored about dumpster diving, click here to compare.
More "Frog Boy," this one is my favorite.
This image of Ken's reminds me of the feeling so many little boys have about their classic "Big Wheel" trikes, and the central role it plays in their life. Viewing the image, I ask myself, "Who or what is a BIG WHEEL? Is a Big Wheel such a big deal in the great scheme of things? Is this image a commentary about how it is possible to be a big wheel on a small race track--like the big fish in a small pond? Or is it just a cool picture of a beloved icon of childhood?"

I hope Ken sells some art at the Sound Bar. But whether he does or not, it won't make much difference in the great scheme of things. Ken is determined to fill the world with his art, and nothing will stop him.

Goddess Of Glass And New Restaurant Expected To Open On 2200 Block Of Lowry Ave. N.

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Connie Beckers, known as the "Goddess of Glass," is opening a new shoppe (sic) at 2205 Lowry Ave. N., as announced on her own website, click here. Northsiders are excited to hear of an established artist moving into space on Lowry Ave. N., an area both needing and poised for commercial revitalization.

At the same time, word is a hot new "sit down" restaurant may open in the space next door, note the top two photos in this blog post. The owners of the would-be restaurant (not named here quite yet) were initially interested in the old Wafana's building, but decided to avoid that location due to variance issues which appeared insurmountable. (If only all would-be property owners could be THAT smart)

Some of us in NoMi were teasing Connie Beckers about her decision to go with the word "shoppe" instead of "shop." Where, goes the joke, did Connie find those two spare letters? Well, according to my sources...

The "E" is the missing letter from "Hawthorn (sic) Crossings" strip mall, which apparently went with a simpler spelling to accommodate their customer demographic of sparsely-educated thugs and drug dealers who hang around all day in the parking lot.

As for the extra "P," it is reportedly the "missing P sound" from the last name of the "other well-known Connie" in North Minneapolis, Connie Nompelis, which is pronounced "No-bell-iss."

It's Greek.

I'm very excited to see Connie's new shoppe (sic) open on Lowry Ave. N.

Notorious Brown House Now Produces Little More Than Weeds...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

After an exciting history of police raids and what looked to be constant drug dealing, the notorious "brown house" of Logan Ave. N. was boarded late last year, as reported here on Johnny Northside Dot Com.

Yesterday, while attending a cook out on the Jordan Pond, I thought I would follow up upon the "brown house," just as I followed up on the "salmon house," click here for previous post.

Well, word is the "brown house" now produces no complaints at all, except for complaints about overgrown weeds. Neighbors say they'll take that, and gladly. Like the salmon house at 2700 Morgan Ave. N., the brown house is probably heading for a hot date with the Backhoe of Doom.

(Do not click "Read More")

2700 Morgan Ave. N. Whorehouse Is Now As Quiet As A Mouse House...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Yesterday, I attended a cookout on the Jordan Pond with great friends and neighbors, and I took the time to inquire what was up with 2700 Morgan Ave. N., which used to be the nastiest whorehouse in North Minneapolis. (In fact, the reputation of the building lives on in legend, as the City Pages referenced a headline about the whorehouse at "2700" while naming Johnny Northside Dot Com the No. 1 blog in the Twin Cities, click here)

Well, according to nice neighbors in a position to know, NOTHING is currently happening with 2700 Morgan Ave. N. It is as peaceful as can be, awaiting its fate from the Backhoe of Doom. Sure, there was some graffiti--I snapped a picture so I could make a 311 report by email, which I submitted just a moment ago--but other than that, the furor around 2700 Morgan Ave. N. has died down, and no-accounts have learned to stop breaking inside because they'll be thrown out, over and over.

As somebody commented yesterday at the Jordan Pond barbeque--life around the Jordan Pond is getting better every year. "The Pond" is a little piece of paradise and--wonder of wonders!--there are actually houses for sale in that area.

(Do not click "Read More")

Update On The Olympic Cafe Hours Issue...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

JNS blog previously reported on Olympic Cafe on West Broadway and their hopes of staying open later. Despite opposition in the community--those of us who feel like Olympic primarily serves chicken drummies to drug dealers who hang out at Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall all day long, the kind of "lower than low end" establishment we call a "thug store"--word came that Olympic got approval to extend their hours.

In regard to the extension of the hours, I was told other businesses in the area had late hours, and failing to approve hours for Olympic might have exposed the city to unacceptable liability. So Olympic got its approval--with teeth clenched during the "aye" vote, I imagine--and the next step for neighborhood activists is closely monitoring the business...calling in vigorously on any litter, graffiti, suspicious characters hanging around outside, that kind of thing.

As part of this "close monitoring," a couple nights ago I dropped by there with some friends...

...hoping to have a gyro. Word was their gyros were fairly good, served with a standard but perfectly adequate gyro sauce.

However, when we arrived outside the restaurant--this must have been around 1:30 in the morning--the restaurant was closed, though it was lighted inside and loud Middle Eastern music was playing. A sign on the window said the cafe closed at 1 a.m.

We were disappointed but, then again, NOT disappointed. If this place closes up at 1 a.m. despite permission to stay open later, all the better.

We're still watching like hawks.

I Give You Robert Serr, Of Miami Restaurant Douchebag Fame...

Blog post by John Hoff

It was more than a month ago when somebody contacted me through my blog, telling me some very interesting things about a guy named Robert Serr, who is heavily involved with North Minneapolis real estate through an entity called United Federal Properties LLC. Here is a link to a website, which was turned up by searching a phone number linked to Robert Serr.

The "UK Office" and "US Office" is a nice touch, don't you think? Note that the US office is located in the fictional town of "Minnepolis."

I should point out that both the title of this blog post and the sentence above come, verbatim, from some of expressive emails which have been circulating behind the scenes, discussing Robert Serr and United Federal Properties, and the impact on North Minneapolis...

"Hawthorne Hawkman" Jeff Skrenes--whose eyes light up with delight at the word "spread sheet," it's sick, I tell you--put together a very interesting document with data about the various properties linked to Robert Serr, click here to obtain a copy of that document.

To most people, Robert Serr is best known for his involvement in the "Restaurant Miami," which used to be on Lake Street, and had a Miami Vice theme. The attitude of folks revitalizing Lake Street (God bless 'em!) appeared to be "Good riddance" when it came to Restaurant Miami going away.

Expect more coverage in the future here on Johnny Northside Dot Com about Robert Serr. Hopefully, this coverage will be pushed forward mostly by the Hawthorne Hawkman, who is much better at the spreadsheet...thing. However, in behind-the-blog discussions, the Robert Serr conversation has reached a kind of critical mass (plus we apparently ironed up some data space issues with the PDF support site) and suddenly, on Memorial Day 2010, it was time to let readers know:

Another dubious real estate baron has hit the radar of Johnny Northside Dot Com. Pull up a lawn chair to your laptop, and watch the fun and fireworks as things develop.

To any and all public officials trying to help turn around North Minneapolis: please, examine the data on the spreadsheet. Something very fishy appears to be happening here.

It could be "legitimate flipping," but does it SMELL that way?

Delightful Pork Skewers At Bangkok Market In The Hawthorne EcoVillage

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Bangkok Market--a grocery and deli located in the EcoVillage, near Lyndale and 31st--has delightful hot and ready-to-eat Hmong dishes, including a tilapia which is out of this world.

Recently, I dropped by and found the pork skewers so tempting I just had to have one. After eating it, I told my friend Megan Goodmundson how good it was, and we made a special side trip that very minute to go try one. Megan attempted to get the recipe from Tony, the owner of Bangkok Market, but he just laughed and said, "We throw a bunch of stuff together." Not only was the recipe a secret, but it was not written down...a practice I've read is typical of Hmong recipes, which are passed down verbally within families.

But I'm fairly sure the pork skewers in question use saffron, which turns the pork fat a delicious yellow, and for some reason the fat in particular seems to soak up the saffron flavor. Beyond that, I have no clue.

Well, garlic. A little garlic, not a lot.

Undeterred by the secrecy of the recipe, Megan purchased some pork shoulder meat, and decided to create her own Hmong-like pork skewers. In preparation for Memorial Day Weekend, we also made a trip to So-Low to buy (among other things) African snail meat, but that's a different post to follow. For now, the only place to get these fantastic, savory pork skewers is the Bangkok Market.

(Do Not Click "Read More")

Transporting A Lawnmower "Northside Style"

Contributed photo, blog post by John Hoff

My house in NoMi--purchased for a mere $17,900--has a big yard to mow. I used to have a lawnmower, which I bought off a professional used lawnmower salesman for a mere $50--but my friend Peter Teachout is the only guy who can make that lawnmower start. So more than a year ago I "borrowed" Peter the lawnmower, but the truth is I hope I never see it again, and Peter can have it.

Now when I need to mow my lawn I have to borrow a lawnmower, usually from Megan Goodmundson or Connie Nompelis. This means transporting the lawnmower, somehow. The day before yesterday, Megan helped me move the lawnmower in the usual way: Northside style.

It's always funny, the looks you get while sitting in a car trunk, hanging on to a lawnmower rolling behind the car, like a human ball hitch. But if you wave to anybody with one hand, the lawnmower will start "fishtailing." So smile and nod, do not wave like a beauty queen on a parade float. The driver knows enough to avoid the busy streets like 26th Ave. N. and Lyndale Ave. N.

I should mention that once, just for variety, I pulled a grill this way behind Megan's car.

(Do Not Click Read More)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Former Owners Drop By For A NoMi House Tour

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

The fabulous and oh-so-affordable North Minneapolis house of Brian Reichow has been featured on this blog before, click here and here.

Recently, Brian had special visitors to his house...the former owners. One can't help but be reminded of that new country song, "The House That Built Me."

Here is Brian's description of their visit, which he initially posted on Facebook...

Their eyes lit up as they recognized things from their childhood (the three sons are all in their fifties), and recounted stories ranging from which room was where they watched The Beatles play on Ed Sullivan, to where one started the house on fire, to the playroom where they all lit comic books on fire, to where their father kept his girlie magazines, to how the kitchen was originally laid out, to the location of a long-since-removed gazebo, to the timeframe when a rock garden and now-dilapidated koi pond was created, and so on.

Their mother, who turned 80 today (hence the specially arranged visit), had never seen the hardwood floors before because during 1954-1964 nobody would have even considered having hardwood floors (carpet was all the rage). She also recalls there being a beautiful cork floor in the sunroom, where an oak floor is today.

One mystery that has been resolved is "What the heck is the big grating near the alley for?" -- I'm told it was a raised platform for garbage cans back in the day, and also where one would place the large wire basket for burning leaves, when such things were still permitted in Minneapolis.

The single coolest observation was when they pointed out something I had completely missed: there was once an arched, recessed telephone nook in the hallway across from the kitchen door, with space for both an old-school wall phone and address book/phone book. One can pick out the "shadow" of where it once was, which until now I had assumed was just a poorly done plaster patch job.

They also pointed out some items missing from the basement rumpus room - namely, a seating booth and a triangular corner shelf that once held a giant bottle (magnum?) of some wine. Once again, the "shadow" of these lost elements can be picked out when you know what you're looking for.
JNS says: That's so cool, Brian. However, when it comes to my house...based on some of the items left behind, and some of the mail that still arrives...I don't know if I'd be as welcoming as you to former owners or residents!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Public Forum Brings out Bike Lane Concerns

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

While Minneapolis has been voted the top bicycling city in America, NoMi residents often have to go to other parts of town to enjoy the honor. We don't even have a bike shop. One proposal to bring more bike lanes to our community was held on Thursday night at North Regional Library.

The idea being put forth includes adding north/south bike lanes on Fremont Avenue and part of Emerson Avenue North from Plymouth Avenue up to 44th. Approximately 30 people showed up to discuss the option, and the biggest objection people had...

...was the proposal to remove at least some parking on Fremont between 33rd Ave N and 44th Ave N. The proposal can be found here, and a description of the overall plan is here.

At the forum, people were first asked to introduce themselves and if or how they bike or otherwise travel Emerson and Fremont. Already during introductions folks were expressing their concerns about losing parking, often prefacing their statements by saying, "I'm the one who called and gave you a hard time." What was especially concerning was the possibility that a senior citizens' mult-unit building could be left with insufficient parking if the proposal is not implemented correctly (or perhaps even if it is).

Shaun Murphy, the Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Coordinator for Minneapolis, gave a short presentation about biking in general as well as in NoMi. He said the number of people biking to work in Minneapolis has quadrupled over the past thirty years. And aside from the weather, the top two reasons why more people don't bike more often are a lack of bike-friendly streets and safety. Studies have consistently shown that safety between bikers, drivers, and pedestrians increases when extra bike lanes are added.

Currently in north Minneapolis, there are really only two major north/south bike thoroughfares - 2nd St N along the river, and Theo Wirth Parkway to the west. Although Emerson and Fremont have their drawbacks, those two avenues are the only two that are centrally located and are continuous north/south corridors. For better or for worse, there really aren't other options for where to put bike lanes.

The current proposal takes Emerson Avenue northbound and narrows the lanes from Plymouth Avenue up to 33rd, where it would cross over onto Fremont. Some parking on the 3200 block of Emerson may be removed. That same stretch along Fremont going southbound would be reduced to one lane of traffic, since the street itself is narrower. Parking would remain, and a bike lane and buffer lane would be added.

From 33rd Ave N up to 44th/Webber Parkway, bike lanes that go both north and south would be added, and in some areas parking could be removed. Once again, this seemed to be the primary concern of people in attendance. Other concerns raised were:
- kids won't obey bike lanes anyway
- the possibility that both school and public buses would block traffic or interfere with bikers
- if lanes are narrowed, how will that impact biking and driving in the winter?
- people speeding on Emerson and Fremont will make it dangerous for cyclists
- the occasional wrong-way traffic will be even more dangerous for cyclists
- too many cars don't pay attention just north of 26th and Emerson, and hit parked cars where the street zigs slightly to the west. How will cyclists be safe?
- double-parked cars in front of places like the E+L and Emerson "Food" Market will cause problems for cyclists
- are one-way streets safe for bikers? (In response to this general question, 4th St SE and University Ave SE were pointed out as examples of bike-friendly one-way streets)
- the contentious stretch of Fremont includes a rather large hill that may deter bike usage no matter what. (I'm still looking for the mystical M.C. Escher-inspired bike path that always goes downhill.)

The one resident that I really disagreed with, though, was a gentleman who said that if parking were removed in front of his house in favor of bike lanes, that would "immediately make [his] house less desirable and less valuable." I would counter that by saying it would make his house desirable and valuable to different people. There are those who would LOVE to live on a street with dedicated bicycling space and little parking.

CM Johnson was in attendance as well, and she reminded us that investment in bicycling infrastructure has too often passed north Minneapolis on by. She and the moderator explained that we are in the public comment phase, but recommended changes may be in the works by as soon as August or October of this year. If people have comments they would like to be considered in this issue, don't JUST leave them on this blog. Pass them on to CMs Johnson, Samuels, and Hofstede, as well as Shaun Murphy at

There is no doubt we need more biking infrastructure in NoMi; here's hoping we get it done right.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Hawkman Tours a Passive House, and Wants One for the EcoVillage

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

About a year and a half, maybe two years ago, a group called the MinneAppleSeed Coalition approached the Hawthorne neighborhood with a desire to build a passive solar house in the EcoVillage. The Hawthorne Neighborhood Council lent its support to the proposal, and everyone was thrilled about yet another kind of groundbreaking activity that would happen in our community.

Well, as it turned out, we had to focus on getting rid of crime first, and many MinneAppleSeed partners had another opportunity to build a similar house before ours. This house, in Hudson, WI, goes even beyond passive; it will produce as much as three times the amount of energy it consumes. I wouldn't even call it a passive house so much as a passive-aggressive house, which is one reason they'll sell well in Minnesota.

For extensive coverage, this house, its builder, and those involved in its creation have their own blog at But you can read more about my experience and how this relates to NoMi after the jump...

...The first pictures above are of course the house in its current state and some renderings of what it will look like once it's complete. It's kind of boxy and minimalist, but that's what the owner wanted. He's looking to emphasize the energy efficiency aspects and prefers low maintenance over a flashy structure.

Although there will be sources of solar power,

Much of the energy performance of this house is tied to the building envelope:

The building's walls are twenty-two inches thick, and made of layers of concrete and styrofoam. The initial reaction some people have is that styrofoam isn't very green. However, the standards used in this case don't deal so much with something being biodegradable. Instead, the focus is on the life cycle of the product; how much energy is negated by its implementation vs. how much energy is used in its production. In that regard, the building envelope is perhaps the highest-performing structure in the world.

It's also worth pointing out that the owner and builders are being very intentional about minimizing the building's effect on the surrounding landscape. Most new construction - especially projects in the exurbs - approaches landscaping by bulldozing over everything, then putting the house in, then creating the landscape the owner wants. But as one architect said, "Nature has a way of trying to get its area back." So this team is doing everything they can to build around the existing landscape.

Below, you can see what looks like a roof outcropping. However, that is merely how far out the wall will extend. Everything will be squared off once the envelope is complete.

What you see below with the pipes are actually areas where electrical sensors will be placed on the exterior. Along with a system on the roof, they will monitor when and how sunlight, wind, and other weather is affecting the house. Blinds will be automatically opened or closed depending on whether more or less sunlight is needed, and each window will have a manual override. There's even an iPhone app that can be used to monitor the energy performance of the house.

Nobody said anything about an orbiting satellite that can shoot lasers to instantly fry any potential home invaders, in-laws, or Sierra Club canvassers, but I think we're approaching that kind of technology here.

And here's what those windows will look like. There's a whole lot of technical reasons for why they're so thick and insulated, but what it boils down to is that the house is designed to utilize retention of energy (such as the sun coming through windows) rather than absorption/production (i.e. solar panels).

The doors are similarly insulated:

The ventilation system was also something rather novel. Instead of traditional ductwork, we have these series of corrugated pipes. These pipes have some kind of membrane that, through ventilation, transfers up to 82% of the home's energy back into itself during the winter. I'd really recommend you check out the house's official blog for a better explanation, because the best I can come up with is that the furnace is powered by dilithium crystals and anti-matter. Did I mention that the filters for the ventilation system are dishwasher-friendly? Well, they are.

The environmental features aren't the only extraordinary thing about this home, however. Just check out the amazing view:

In all fairness, it doesn't look like this all the time. Here's a more accurate representation:

Ho hum.

This house, and the technologies and philosophies behind it are truly groundbreaking. They both operate under the principle that the cheapest energy (kilowatt hour) is the one you do not use. With that as a foundation, the builders claim that even during the coldest days of winter, the worst-case scenario for heating a 1900-square-foot home will be equal to running two hair dryers at the same time.

Of course, the bigger challenge comes when we try to replicate homes like this in Minneapolis and elsewhere. Obviously we'll have cost to deal with, but let's not forget building codes. Several Minneapolis city inspectors and employees toured the house on a separate date and it's no surprise that they all had questions about how such a home would meet code here. And I have a tough time imagining a conversation where, during the final walk-through, the city inspector is satisfied with, "Don't worry, the heating system works exactly as needed. When it gets cold, I'll just turn on these two hair dryers here and the whole family will be warm and toasty."

While somewhat flippant, that comment isn't meant as a criticism of our inspectors either. They have a responsibility to uphold code and make sure homes in Minneapolis operate at a certain standard. But from the looks of it, green technology is developing at a much faster pace than our building codes may recognize. We'll have to cross that bridge when we bring a house like this to Hawthorne.

Major Police Action In Front Of 3002 Queen Ave. N.

Photos by John Hoff, light levels in photos were adjusted,
blog post by John Hoff. (License plate photo contributed, xoxo)

Tonight, a police chase apparently ended in front of 3002 Queen Ave. N. tonight. A black four door car, possibly a Dodge Magnum, license plate 438 BXH (Minnesota) was thoroughly searched by half a dozen police, who even checked under the hood. As much as two blocks away, two police officers were observed looking in a hedge for something, and there was a reliable report of a group detained near a church a block from the where the car remained at 3002 Queen.

At least one individual was apparently in custody, a dark-skinned black male in a long white t-shirt, approximately in his 20s. Another individual--a light skinned black male in late teens or early twenties, with long hair tied back in a bun--was observed to be released at the scene. Fourth Precinct Commander Mike Martin was present.

Rumors flew in the crowd: that the incident was a...

...shooting. A high speed chase. A high speed chase AND a shooting. A call to the Fourth Precinct produced the following cryptic information: the incident had nothing to do with the immediate area of 30th and Queen except "the car we were after ended up there." There was no shooting but, in fact, a shooting was "what we were trying to prevent."

It was noted that 3002 Queen Ave. N. had an incredible crop of burdock weeds and so, when I got home, I dropped an email to the 311 system, attaching a photo.

God Bless The Fourth Precinct.

Slumlord Keith Reitman, Please Note: Even Ugly Buildings Look Nice With New Trim!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Yesterday I was in the West Bank neighborhood, and I happened to go past the "400 Bar," a popular nightspot which has a constant lineup of live bands. Their building isn't much to look at--in fact, a year or two ago part of a brick facade just TUMBLED RIGHT OFF to the sidewalk, which my son Alex thought was pretty exciting at the time, as we were about 50 yards away--but since the facade incident the 400 Bar has fixed up their exterior about as nice as they can, with really bright and decent trim.

The 400 Bar shows that even a nondescript, drab painted building doesn't have to be BUTT UGLY.

If only North Minneapolis slumlord Keith Reitman would take this lesson to heart and do something about his "ugly ass chocolate brown building" on West Broadway.

Bizarre Bus Incident Involving Peter "Pete The Pedophile" Rickmyer Reveals Much--Why Does This Pedophile Have A Cell Phone?

DOC Mug Shot, Blog post by John Hoff

Peter Rickmyer a.k.a. "Pete The Pedophile" can't seem to walk down the street by himself without getting police involved, so heaven knows things will be so much worse if he tries to utilize mass transit.

Yet another incident--both typical and bizarre, because it's Spanky Pete, after all-- happened on April 13 and was documented in court paperwork filed by Peter Rickmyer as part of his recent "midnight manifesto" lawsuit against the world. This ill-conceived so-called "lawsuit" resulted in Peter being declared a frivolous litigant, but not before he made the front of City Pages.

In the rush to deal with other aspects of Peter and his worthless legal paper, this bus incident got shoved by the wayside and never reported here on Johnny Northside Dot Com. Well, I say, time to rectify the oversight...

I should point out that I actually heard another juicy version of this incident--as related by somebody who was riding the same bus--and I'd be happy to publish that first person account, even belatedly, if I can get permission. I think some folks have been hesitating due to Pete's litigious nature but now we might describe his nature as "formerly litigious." Let's face it, if Peter were a tomcat then he just got neutered.

So, I say, let's get all the Spanky Pete stories and legends out on the internet for everybody's edification, education, and (admittedly) amusement. Peter is, after all, a public figure and a fascinating deviant character, symbolic of the problems North Minneapolis endures because Level Three sex offenders have been concentrated here, despite a statute authored by State Legislator Linda Higgins which was supposed to protect our neighborhood from this very type of concentration.

In any case, here's the info. The incident happened on the Number 5 bus, April 13, at 1516 hours. (3:16 pm civilian time) The officers arrived at 1528 and managed to clear the incident by 1602, though the officers noted they needed "video B 1138 1445-1530 hours" for the date in question.

I'd like to see the video, too. I'd like to see who, if anybody, Spanky Pete was talking to before the incident took place. After all, there are some individuals--like minors--who Spanky Pete SHOULDN'T TALK TO AT ALL. So video that may show several random minutes of Spanky Pete on a bus right before some kind of WEIRD INCIDENT would be very interesting to me and, I think, interesting to Spanky Pete's keepers with the Department of Corrections...I mean, if they had adequate time and resources to keep track of all their dangerous clients, which clearly they don't.


During the bus incident in question, it appears Pete called the police because he felt he was being "harassed" on the bus. How was Pete being harassed? Well, somebody pointed out to somebody else that Pete is a Level Three sex offender. I mean, here you have the Department of Corrections putting Pete's sick puppy status on a website, for crying out loud, but it's apparently Pete's position that nobody should KNOW that information, or pass it on to anybody else who might be, for example, seated near him on a bus.

So Pete called the police. And Squad 263 had to show up and deal with Pete, meeting the bus at 26th and Broadway. In the police report, Pete lists his address as 2118 25th Ave. N. and his cell phone number as 651-523-9083. At this point, I want to break in with a question.

Peter is not supposed to have unsupervised access to the internet. So how does Peter have a CELL PHONE? I mean, I use an old school Nokia that's practically an antique, but even THAT thing can access the internet. So what's Pete using? And how is Pete's cell phone NOT capable of receiving internet signals? And how is that NOT a violation of Pete's probation conditions, which forbid him to be on the internet?

Before I even hit "publish" on this blog post, I'll be sending an email to Pete's probation officer and asking those questions. I won't get an FREAKING ANSWER, of course, because nobody at DOC actually seems to ANSWER my emails, but I will certainly bring it to their attention and make the record. And while we're at it, maybe DOC might take a look at the status of all the OTHER Level Three sex offenders they've dumped into my neighborhood, and whether THEY have cell phones capable of accessing the internet. I strongly suspect balls have been dropped.

The report also reveals Peter has a driver's license. The ID number is as follows: C103049934004. It might be interesting to see where else that turns up.

Here is the body of the report, exactly as written by officer D. Wallin Badge No. 4577. It is Case No. 10-3832.

MTPD Squad 263 responded to a radio call of a passenger being harassed aboard N/B Bus # 1138 Rt. 5 Dr. #64298. Squad met bus at 26th and Broadway and spoke to complainant. Victim advised officer he was a Level 3 sex offender. Victim stated he was onboard the Bus sitting on the left side of Bus across from the right rear exit door when another male passenger (mentioned party) approached him and advised other passengers he was a Level 3 sex offender.

Other passengers onboard laughed and the (mentioned party) did not threaten the victim. Victim advised Officer no one on the Bus threatened him but he was concerned about the (mentioned party) in the future may advise other passengers aboard the Bus that he is a sex offender. Victim feels revealing his criminal record may lead to him being assaulted in the future. Victim was unsure of the mentioned parties name but did know his address.

Victim further stated he was involved in a civil law suit against the (mentioned party).

At approximately 1600 hrs Officer spoke to (mentioned party) at his residents. He acknowledged he came into contact with the victim aboard the Bus. He further stated victim was suing his neighborhood community council and other numerous parties civilly. Mentioned party was advised.

(End of report)

On another minor note: the reputation of the No. 5 bus as the weirdest, most scary route in the whole city appears quite secure, for which we can all thank Spanky Pete.

Correction, September 9, 2011: This story contained a typo in which the word "question" should have been "questions." The typo has been corrected.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pete The Pedophile Helps Out At Marathon Gas Station, 26th And Penn Ave. N.

Contributed photo, xoxo, blog post by John Hoff

Ever since Level Three Sex Offender Peter Rickmyer was declared a frivolous legal litigant and handed a crushing defeat in his "midnight manifesto" lawsuit of rambling gibberish, plenty of folks in North Minneapolis have wondered, well, what will become of Spanky Pete? What will he do with his public welfare-financed energy instead of writing up rambling garbage to waste the time of the court?

Now it seems an answer has come floating up from the urban ooze...

Peter has been spotted assisting with clean-up at the "thug gas station" located at 26th Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N., a roomy yet rather dreary "inconvenience store" where long plain white T-shirts are sold and there's a whole lot of "hanging out" nearby, convenient to the drug dealing and prostitution on Penn Ave. N.

(What's up with that? What do residents of North Minneapolis need to get the "Big Blue" police command center parked on Penn Ave. N.?)

At this time, it is unknown whether Pete is getting paid under the table, above the table, or simply volunteering his time to do a little sweeping. In any case, if you'd like to run into Pete the "public figure" Pedophile, a veritable rock star among his Level Three peers, it appears this store is one great place to make Pete's acquaintance.

JNS Blog Will "Lay Off Friedman's Shoe Store" While Grant Proposal Moves Forward...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

I received word today--word which appears legit and bona fide--that Friedman's Shoe Store is trying to do something about the "ugly ass butt glass" which this blog has made famous. And, I might add, I only started "beating on the butt glass" after many entities in the neighborhood repeatedly approached Friedman's about this aesthetic issue at the gateway of West Broadway, and finally people in positions of trust and responsibility gave this blog the "quiet nod" to go ahead and make a public stink because there just wasn't any progress.

But here's the new word I just received about planned improvements to the glass, as follows...

"I participated on a panel yesterday evening to rank all grant proposals for this round of facade improvements. Friedman's proposal specifically mentioned windows, among quite a few other things. A few of the applicants had also received grants in the past, not only Friedman's. The proposal must specifically outline what you will do with the funds. Many proposals included quotes from various companies however that is not required this early in the process. From the ranking assigned to each proposal yesterday I would say, if Friedman's pulls through on their end, they're surely get the grant. Those awarding the grant specifically mentioned they do not want more Plexiglas installed."

Based on this new word, I intend to "lay off Friedman's" for a while and hope for progress in the not-too-distant future which I can report in a positive manner. Meanwhile, I intend to double the amount of criticism I level at slumlord Keith Reitman's "ugly ass chocolate brown building," which he has been repeatedly asked to spiff up, but Reiman apparently prefers to continue marinating in the sauce of slum while so many others on West Broadway try to make the place better.

Serious Police Action At 423 23rd Ave. N. Today

Photos and blog post by John Hoff, license plate of
possible police undercover vehicle is obscured in the
second photo

Just driving through the neighborhood today, off to take care of errands and see "Robin Hood," I stumbled upon a different kind of "hood action." Two vehicles were being hauled away on a flatbed truck and police were swarming on 423 23rd Ave. N., a rental property owned by Jacquelyn Comeaux of 2708 Edinbrook Terrace Brooklyn Park Mn 55443. This property address has hit this blog's radar before, click here, dubbed the "House Of Annoyance" by decent neighbors who live nearby. (Asture readers will note the house used to be white, but apparently got new siding or a paint job when the ownership changed)

Today, according to one eye witness account...

...a blue colored Grand Am pulled up near the house, pursued by police. A thug bailed from the car and tried to come over a fence, but the thug made the mistake of choosing the wrong fence surrounding the wrong yard. The citizens confronted the thug as he began his climb, and told him--in no uncertain terms--to stay on the other side of the fence. So the thug tried to jump the fence at 423 23rd Ave. N., but suddenly police were on him, drawing their weapons. The police probably would have gotten him anyway, but who knows? It appears the brief confrontation with these "We Watch, We Call" citizens helped turn the thug right back into the arms of MPD, which were eagerly waiting for him.

In the course of the incident, it appears there was a search at 423 23rd Ave. N. It is unknown how or if 423 23rd Ave. N. was involved in the incident, but the search went on for quite a while at midday and was still happening when I left to go see Robin Hood. Bystanders said a police officer was seen to recover a rather large handgun, and walked out holding the gun in one hand, a magazine of bullets in the other. It is unknown where the handgun was recovered, whether off the thug or inside the house.

A vehicle believed to be an undercover police vehicle was at the scene, as well as two individuals who appeared to be undercover police officers. (JNS blog refrained from photographing the individuals and declines to describe them) Some residents were of the opinion the incident may have started as a drug sting. Annoying suburban drug buyers would be well advised to STAY OUT OF NORTH MINNEAPOLIS.

We are watching, we are calling.

God Bless The MPD "Broadway Beat"

Contributed photo, xoxo, post by John Hoff

A loyal reader captured this picture of an MPD patrol car with some rather interesting markings. The reader tells me the first time she saw this patrol car was about a year ago, but I must confess I've NEVER seen this patrol car before, so I think it's really cool. (Several times a patrol car like this passed by me with something interesting written on the side, but it was moving so fast I never had time to get a picture!)

In order to revitalize North Minneapolis, it is necessary to take back Broadway from thuggish behavior and make it a safe, clean, attractive commercial corridor like it once was. It's great to see MPD is so focused on the "Broadway Beat." Now, if only it were criminal behavior to have crappy looking commercial buildings, like Keith Reitman's "ugly ass chocolate brown building" or Friedman's shoes and their stubborn refusal to fix up their unattractive "butt glass."

(Do not click "Read More")

Monday, May 24, 2010

Emergency Community Meeting on Gun Violence!

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, contributed stock photo

There have been a spate of shootings around 26th to 31st Avenues North, and Thomas and Upton Avenues. Two have happened over the weekend, and several more occurred in broad daylight over the past month. Tomorrow night, concerned NoMi citizens are gathering at St. Anne's Senior Housing at 2300 West Broadway to discuss strategies in response.

City leaders, representatives from the 4th Precinct, and many who are willing and able to stand up for our neighborhoods will be in attendance, and we hope to see you there. Neighbors rightly consider this an emergency situation and we both want and need to get a handle on this outbreak of violence before the summer months pick up.

Come and join us at St. Anne's on Tuesday night, 6 p.m.

(Do not click "

3116 6th St N Meets the Backhoe of Doom!

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Video by Your Eyedea. First photo above by HH, second by YE.

Oh how time flies in the EcoVillage. It seems like just yesterday that we were calling 911 on suspected copper thieves. And although that actually WAS yesterday, the turnaround from when such scrappers would have certainly been illegal has been nothing short of astounding. If we rooted out the negative elements in record time, then I have no doubt about how bright the future of the EcoVillage will be.

3116-3118 6th St N is also likely one of the last demolitions in the EcoVillage, with 409 31st Ave N being the other.

On top of your standard demolition fare, we also saw...

...the handy tools of a local metal scrapper. I'm a bit confused though: what's the STICK for? Will that accomplish something that the axe or its handle won't? I also saw the man behind the carriage as I was on my way to my Wells Fargo meeting. I would have called 911 on the guy, but he was operating in plain view of the demolition crew. Let them sort it out, I thought. And at least more things in the EcoVillage are being recycled.

Above photo by Your Eyedea.

From here on out, we've got demolition photos that may be more interesting simply in terms of slight artistic differences between the Hawthorne Hawkman and Your Eyedea:

Above photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman, remaining photos by Your Eyedea.

Bye bye, 3116 6th St N!