Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Saga Continues at 3019 4th St N (part 2)

Photos and blog post by Hans

I've been keeping a very close eye on 3019 4th St N ever since I witnessed a break-in attempt at a nearby property. A collection of vinyl records strewn across the rear of the lot at 3019 was an obvious sign that somebody had gotten into the house. After a few weeks of waiting the broken windows were finally boarded but it didn't take long...

...for somebody to get back inside.

Even though I was only five feet away when I took this picture it's pretty hard to see the open window through all that greenery... and it's virtually impossible to see the side windows from the street. This property is a dream come true for criminals (squatters, scrappers, drug dealers, drug users, drug producers, pimps, prostitutes, and the list goes on). With windows so well hidden you can take your time breaking into this place.

In a previous conversation with a 911 operator I was informed that evidence of a break-in (like a broken window) would result in emergency boarding by the police department. So naturally I called 911 to report the situation, but when the police arrived they merely shouted "Minneapolis Police" into the open window. I asked the officer about police boarding but he told me that they have to catch somebody either in the act or in the building. Apparently it's not enough to find open windows and un-boarded windows.

So I'm left to wait until the good folks at Minneapolis Inspections follow their procedures to get these openings boarded... at which point I have no doubt another window will be broken by somebody trying to get into this crap shack.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Get Thee Behind Me, Tree-Killer Phone Book Devils...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

I was under the impression that putting in a formal request NOT to receive a phone book was a futile gesture, that a truck would still drive by and somebody would heave a big portion of a dead tree onto my front steps. But, some weeks ago, I received only this very small portion of a dead tree, above, which acknowledged that... formal request actually had an impact.

Wonderful, I say, but I would have preferred a notice about the size of a Post-It note.

Tree killer phone book devils? Please take a note.

No, wait, on second thought...don't take a note. Don't use any more paper. Just REMEMBER.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Best Council Member EVER!!! To Take Up Issue Of Sex Offender Concentration At "Dessert With Don"

Stock photo and blog post by John Hoff

Council Member Don Samuels--a man blessed not only with intellect, but a graceful bigness of spirit in the face of constant mean-spirited, off-kilter critiques from certain quarters--appears to be responding to the enormous political buzz building around the issue of North Minneapolis sex offender concentration.

As this blog has drummed home dozens of times, there is a Minnesota statute (authored by State Senator Linda Higgens) which is supposed to limit the concentration of these sick puppies in vulnerable neighborhoods filled with children. However, the statute is...

...toothless and clawless, due to "watering down" which happened despite the best efforts of Higgins. (And may I add that despite the disappointing "watering down" which happened, all the same nobody could get better results than Higgens, as a lopsided majority of voters recently affirmed in a primary vote against Troy Somebody)

Clearly something needs to change in the face of this ongoing issue which severely impacts North Minneapolis. I think Minnesota should follow the lead of more than half the states in the United States and publish the addresses of these sick puppies. To put it bluntly: if Texas publishes the addresses, and nobody shoots down these rabid deviant dogs in the streets, then we can hardly expect sex offenders to be LESS safe here in the land of Minnesota Nice, even if their addresses are published.

Furthermore, if two, three, four sex offenders are going to be concentrated in a particular house, then some kind of video camera should be in place to passively record who enters and leaves the house. (Though, really, such concentration at a single address shouldn't take place AT ALL)

FURTHERMORE, the bare bones information published on the Department of Corrections website about the Level Three sex offenders is simply not adequate. Live links should be provided to court cases and media accounts which help to flesh out the story of what these molesters and child rapists actually DID. (Their mug shots certainly need to be kept more up to date, as the ever-changing appearance of Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer certainly attests)

This blog has published the address of Level Three sex offenders and will continue to do so, whenever the addresses fall into my eager hands. And, oh, how I'd love if ALL THE ADDRESSES OF EVERY LEVEL THREE SEX OFFENDER WOULD FALL INTO MY HANDS ALL AT ONCE. My email is no secret. Word.

However, right now Don Samuels is grabbing this issue by the horns, and so I hope lots of NoMi revitalizers will show up at the next "Dessert With Don" and make it a lively, meaningful event.

Here is what Don Samuels' aide, Monique, said in a recent email:
CM Samuels would like to invite you to join us for the monthly community meeting Dessert with Don.

This month’s topic has been changed to Sex Offender Concentration.

Please be sure to send in your questions to ensure that they are answered in the presentation since the community discussion time is brief.

The 5th Ward would like to thank the people who called and made the suggestion for this meeting.

I've never said this before about a meeting in North Minneapolis, but I sure hope "Spanky Pete" shows up!

Best City Pages Article EVER!!!!!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Everybody and their mother should read this article, click here, which is THE BEST CITY PAGES ARTICLE EVER!!!!

Beyond that, I have no comment at the present time.

(Do not click "Read More" but do read all about Jerry Moore)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Criminal Record Of Charles Means, 21, Who Died At 2600 Block Of Penn Ave. N.

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

The 2600 block of Penn Ave. N. is one of the roughest areas in North Minneapolis, partially because of the situation with the Penn Gas Stop "inconvenience store" which has served as a "thug sanctuary" for many years. So nobody was surprised when 21-year-old Charles Means ended up dead of multiple gunshot wounds in an alley next to a vacant lot on the "2600 block," on the evening of National Night Out.

I have some experience with that vacant lot. It was the location of the first house I ever looked at in North Minneapolis when I set out to find a home. I always thought of it as the "skanky red thong" house because of an item left on the kitchen counter. Now a vacant lot marks the spot. Even with no run-down, decrepit structure at the location, trouble still finds its way there.

The photo above documents the profusion of candles and (of course) whiskey bottles which inevitably mark these shooting memorials and, it should be noted, say much about the lifestyle of these victims of gun violence. None of the media accounts I have read reveal the criminal record of Charles Means, age 21. It is left to the blogosphere to fill in these sordid details...

Charles Means was identified in the mainstream media as 21 years old. Therefore, he appears to be the very same Charles Anthony Means who is identified in online court records as having a birthday of 8/28/88. Means was, it appears, just short of being 22 years old when he died. He had a laundry list of criminal charges, and that laundry list was as follows:

Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory

Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory
Under Court Jurisdiction

Hennepin Criminal/Traffic/Petty Downtown
Crim/Traf Mandatory

This appears to be a textbook case of the Biblical admonition "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Charles Means' death is unfortunate, and clearly there are those who loved him who are in mourning. There is, however, not a single surprising aspect to his death. It was, in fact, predicted more than 2,000 years ago. The only question is:


Notorious Penn Gas Stop "Inconvenience Store" Under New Ownership, But Nothing Has Changed...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Recently, word went around the Jordan Neighborhood about how the Penn Gas Stop at Penn Ave. N. and 26th Ave. N.--a notorious inconvenience store patronized by thugs, drug dealers, hookers, at least one Level Three sex offender, plus various other disreputable no accounts--might be under new ownership.

So I stopped by there a couple weeks ago while checking out the latest shooting memorial and it turned out to be true...

...but the new management has no intention of changing ANYTHING, and told me so right to my face, stating they will still sell "blunts," the little cigars which are oh-so-convenient for quick conversion to marijuana, plus they'll offer "long, plain white tees," the uniform of choice for neighborhood drug dealing and loitering.

Therefore, it appears the unrelenting barrage of 911 calls and 311 calls on this disgusting urban hell hole must continue.

Revitalizers...mount up!

"Golden Chicken" No Longer Open For "Bisness," No Great Loss...

Photos and blog post by John Hoff

I heard a few times the fried chicken was pretty good at "Golden Chicken," 2402 Penn Ave. N., but the establishment is better known for being the location where Level Three Sex Offender Peter Rickmyer got himself in hot water because he spanked minors for sexual gratification under the ruse of "punishing" them for, well, not working hard at their poultry preparing duties or something like that.

The building is currently owned by an "Irving Herman," but the taxpayer is listed as notorious North Minneapolis slumlord Keith David Reitman, click here for more info.

A little more than a week ago, I got a powerful hankering for fried chicken and I thought...

...well, what the heck. I'm sure all the surfaces have been cleaned and un-grossified since those long ago, far away days when "Spanky Pete" was running the show over there. And I'd heard, REPEATEDLY, the chicken was actually pretty good and affordably priced. So I dropped by and found...

Oh, no. They're "closed for bisness."

I should be a little sad about this, because I never had an opportunity to sample their offerings but, well, it's not like I can't go ANYWHERE on West Broadway and find a selection of deeply fried "wings and things."

So, I say, no great loss and maybe this change might even be looked upon as a small bit of NoMi progress. Perhaps something cuter, trendier, artsier, more upscale will go into that space.

One can hope and dream, even with a building owned by Keith D. Reitman.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sammie Burch--Linked To Annshalike Hamilton--Makes The "Mugshots" Paper!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Regular readers of Johnny Northside Dot Com will remember Sammie Burch as the no-account jailbird who, at one time, was part of the social circle of murder victim Annshalike Hamilton. Defenders of Burch say he had a "big brother" role in Hamilton's life. But Burch is in prison for trying to strangle his pregnant girlfriend, so...well, he's not the kind of "big brother" any girl would want to have, you know?

Though Hamilton's murder remains unsolved, her family believes they know the identity of the murderer, and have not been afraid to name names. Feel free to search this blog under "Annshalike Hamilton" and you will get the most comprehensive and detailed information ANYWHERE.

However, Sammie Burch was... prison at the time Hamilton disappeared, and neither the family nor authorities believe Burch had anything to do with the murder, according to my sources. All the same, when I bought a copy of the "Mug Shots" paper (so my 13-year-old son could do his daily "reading assignment" before getting his precious computer time) I thought it was cool to see Sammy Burch achieving the kind of public notoriety he deserves.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

North by Northside, the Hawkman's New Blog!

Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman

JNS Readers may have noticed a recent lack of contributions from me on this blog. Part of that happened when the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council decided we would like to add more content to our own blog. This is a good thing. Around that same time, I also decided I wanted to frame dialogue around certain issues in a different way than what happens here on JNS. Rather than expect the owner of this blog to turn this into something other than what he wants, I...

...ultimately created my own site.

That blog is called North by Northside, or It's fairly new, so readers may see some changes as I add or rearrange things. But I hope you stop on by, and keep on visiting JNS too!

JNS BLOG EDITORIAL: Congratulations, Linda Higgins! (And It's Not Easy Being Green!)

Some stock photo I found on this borrowed computer, blog post by John Hoff

Even while temporarily out of town on business, word reached me that State Senator Linda Higgins beat Troy Parker in the DFL primary by--what? 68 or 69 percent? I was wondering what the vote totals would look like, since I saw a lot of Troy Parker signs, but as one NoMi super citizen put it so well, "Yard signs don't vote" and, furthermore, yard signs at VACANT PROPERTIES count for even less.

As a Green Party Member, I really had no point in showing up at the primary. I would have just been forced to experience...

...the excruciatingly humiliating reality that freakin' Farheen Hakeem is representing my party in the Governor's race, with one of the evil (and ov-er-ly en-nun-ci-ating) Dittman twins runing for lieutenant governor.

I wonder, do Hakeem and Dittman have whimsical little herbal tea parties with stuffed animals, imagining aloud what their hypothetical administration will do? (Put video cameras in every cab, to protect citizens against cab drivers who suddenly, mysteriously transform into the boogeyman?)

To this travesty I say...

THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO ADVANCE GREEN PARTY INTERESTS, which are fairly near the interests of the planet, if we'd concentrate more on true "green" values and quit spinning our wheels on leftover DFL "social justice" issues. We need to be running MORE on "police tape made from biodegradable corn starch" and much, much LESS on "police are just big, bad bullies." (Not in my neighborhood they aren't, and God bless the Fourth Precint or--to be really Green--GODDESS bless the Fourth Precinct)

Yes, we folks with good sense who happen to also be members of the Green Party need moderate, articulate and accomplished individuals who can actually win, folks like Minneapolis City Council Member Cam Gordon. Even when taking a position some would consider extreme (like his proposed circus elephant ban) Cam does it in such a calm, moderate, Minnesota nice kind of way. We need more folks like Cam Gordon running for office in the Green Party, not (for lack of a better phrase) "green-tinged leftovers" like Hakeem/Dittman.

These are the times I have to wonder "why bother?" when it comes to idealistic third party membership, especially with prominent members of my own party (Tom Cleland, cough cough) opportunistically switching back and forth between Green and DFL like City Council Member Diane Hofstede switches staff members. (Sorry, but she does, though it doesn't change the fact Hofstede was the best candidate in Ward 3 by virtue of, oh, I don't know--owning a home like she's actually going to stay a while?)

And, then again, it wasn't like Linda Higgins NEEDED my vote.

Sigh. It's not easy being Green. But it's a bit easier when folks like Linda Higgins can pull off such large margins of victory.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today is the Primary! Get Out and Vote!

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman. First image from the Inside Minnesota Politics blog. Second photo from the Brad Johnson for Anoka County Attorney Facebook page. Third photo from the Mark Ireland for Ramsey County Judge website.

Today is Minnesota's primary elections, which have been moved up to a rather early date this year. Don't let that pass you by. Get out and vote!

Here's where you can find your polling place
. Be sure to check this site as polling places don't always remain the same from one election to the next.

Now, you're probably wondering why on a north Minneapolis blog, we're promoting Ramsey County and Anoka County elections. I'm glad you asked, because...

...Brad Johnson was the prosecutor in the Larry "Maximum" Maxwell trial, and he's tirelessly committed to going after mortgage fraud. If there's another round of such financial crimes that impact NoMi, and the perpetrator also committed those acts in Anoka County (like Larry Maxwell), then this is the guy you want as the prosecuting attorney.

Mark Ireland helped the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council in its landmark lawsuit against Citimortgage, and has been instrumental in other developments surrounding housing litigation. He's intelligent, even-handed, and full of integrity. He's the kind of person you want as a judge in Ramsey County.

If you live in Ramsey or Anoka counties, please vote for Mark Ireland or Brad Johnson. If you know voters in either place, tell them to vote for these guys. For attorney and judge primary elections, those handfuls of votes could be what decides the outcome.

So get out and vote!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Even Late At Night, My 311 Job Is Never Done!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

When I'm in Minneapolis--as opposed to out on the road trucking or whatever--I call 311 at least once a day, but there are often days where I walk the streets and make up to a dozen calls in a period of a few hours. 311 is like a powerful genie to be unleashed upon the weedy lawns of vacant houses, unsecured buildings haunted by squatters, potholes the size of an automobile tire, you name it.

Sure, sometimes I will collect phone books from vacant properties, even mow grass...but I can't exactly fill in a pothole on my own, can I?

Inevitably, the 311 operators go through their procedure and remind me how a 311 report can be filed online. And I always respond....

"Oh, don't worry, I make reports that way, too. But right now, um, I happen to be walking around, so, um...."

The operators tell me I can write the stuff down and report it later. But that's not the system I use. I either call while I'm right there, looking at the problem, or I snap a picture.

Later, when I download dozens of pictures to my laptop, I go through the photos and remember what problem I was documenting. I always make a point of taking a picture that reveals the address of the problem, even if I have to snap a photo of a street sign.


Once I have my pictures downloaded, I start firing off emails to 311 with the photos attached. This often takes place at, like, midnight. It might even take place several states away, while I'm out of town. Sometimes there's one or two photos which need to be forwarded to 311. Sometimes there's dozens, and I have to work my way through the photos over the course of several days, when I have a free moment.

The problems being documented for 311 are not always in North Minneapolis. Sometimes--as in the photo above--the problem might be at 609 Cedar Ave., in the West Bank neighborhood.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

311 The Hard Way--The Sequel To The Sequel!

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

More than a year ago, I wrote about a graffiti-scarred building along the light rail line, and the difficulty of determining the address of the building and making a 311 report, click here. But I wasn't going to give up. SOMEBODY had to submit a report about that building, no matter how difficult the process.

Later, after some follow-up, I wrote another blog post about doing "311 the hard way," click here. Turns out the property isn't even in Minneapolis so it's outside of 311 jurisdiction, as discussed in comments on the previous story.

However, I'm pleased to report that, recently, the owners of the building (which I strongly suspect to be part of the kick-ass Fort Snelling facility) have been...

...slapping up anti-graffiti paint like it's going out of style. The picture at the top, taken about a week ago, tells the tale. In the meantime, however, the building has been hit again. But now the owners of the building seem to be into the spirit of revitalization, and never grow tired of painting over.

Hey, it's like mowing grass. Just because the grass grows back doesn't mean you despair. You just start all over, humming a happy tune.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Little West Bank 311 Mission... (Summer Visitation 2010)

Contributed photo, xoxo, blog post by John Hoff

I never grow tired of calling 311. And when I say I NEVER GROW TIRED, I mean I'm quite willing to call dozens of times over the course of years as graffiti comes back...and comes back...and comes back.

I never grow irritated, at wit's end, or frustrated. I never feel despair at the way the task keeps growing back. It's like mowing grass. Do you despair because a week or so later, you have to mow it all over again?

This wall at 510 Cedar Ave. in the West Bank area is my little 311 project...

Obviously "Johnny Northside" doesn't live in the West Bank Neighborhood, but my philosophy is "wherever I am, that's my neighborhood" so if (for example) I'm out on the road trucking, and there's some issue which can be rectified with a word to a gas station manager, or a quick 911 call to the State Patrol of Whatever State, of course I'm going to make the effort EVEN IF I'M NOT SURE I WILL EVER PASS BY THIS WAY AGAIN.

It's like when I was a teenager, distributing Spanish copies of the New Testament in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Hermosillo, State of Sonora, Mexico, and one of our mission leaders showed us our territory on a map and said, "This is the area you are responsible for covering. YOU WILL ANSWER TO ALMIGHTY GOD FOR THIS AREA, SO DO YOUR JOB."

So we did our job with intensity--in rain, in dust, around mounds of burning garbage piles, holding our hands over our mouths and noses as we passed by the maggot-infested bodies of mongrel dogs that had been, it appeared, stoned to death--and we passed out those New Testaments to every house that wanted one.

I've never been back to that place. I'm not even sure how I would find it if I tried. If I wandered those barrios again, and came upon it by accident, I'm not sure how I'd know it was the same place. And yet in the back of my mind, I still believe, "I will answer to God for that neighborhood and the mission I was given there."

So it is that this wall at 510 Cedar Ave. has become my little project. I pass by it frequently as I move between the University of Minnesota and the light rail station on the West Bank area. In the last several months, it seems like the owners have become "trained" and they've figured out to slap paint over the graffiti BEFORE there is a complaint. I base this on how quickly the paint goes up, seemingly faster than my estimation of the speed of the 311 system.

And yet the graffiti returns, and yet I return to calling 311. There are many walls in this city scarred by graffiti, and I can't be responsible for ALL of them, but this one is different. This one I pass by frequently, and it comes to my attention, and so I feel like I must do something, I must be responsible for this wall. Again and again I get satisfying 311 results, but again and again the results fade in new onslaughts of graffiti.

But I don't give up. This is my territory, this is my mission, and at the end of the day, I feel fine with Almighty God.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Special Father-Son Moments In NoMi: Mixing "Anarchist Chocolate Milk" (Summer Visitation 2010)

Blog post and photo by John Hoff

Before I got a home in North MInneapolis, I had my stuff stashed in an old farmhouse in some tiny little town two hours from the Twin Cities, while actually "living" in an RV in a rough-but- rapidly-improving part of St. Paul. In winter, I would park the RV in some dude's yard, running an electric cord outside to a circulating oil heater to keep warm in the winter. (Well, I wouldn't run the heat while I was gone during the day at my various jobs, of course) I found that banking snow was helpful, too. Thank god for those couple years in Boy Scouts and knowledge acquired at "Winter Survival Camp."

The dude with the house had a bathroom I could use, so that was cool, and on visitation weekends and holidays I would pay a nominal sum for the use of a room to have my son over, though mostly we'd hang out at the University watching free movies and pigging out on Chinese food. The alternative to this lifestyle would have been, of course, just staying in Seattle, living a much more affluent life while building on my career out there, but hardly seeing my son except for stilted, awkward visits at Christmas. This was not acceptable to me.

Life in the 1979 Shasta RV (renovated by the previous owner after a "glue gun" caused a minor fire) was not the best situation, but getting a home in North Minneapolis (NoMi) changed all that in a big way. Now I can see my son in style, though often we'll end up being entertained in the homes of my friends in NoMi, as in the picture above. To all the divorced daddies out there plotting and planning a way to be near their children in or around the Twin Cities, but perhaps stuck in some other city or rural town, I say: The best move you can make is to "Get To NoMi."

Think about it. You're rough. You're tough. You've gotten used to living in difficult conditions since the missus got your house and kid(s). So what are you afraid of? This neighborhood is full of good people who could use a hard-but-decent man like you to take care of the shit that needs to get done, cracking down on lawless thuggery and so forth. So get aboard the NoMi bandwagon, man, and set up your grubstake. Buy in at $17,900 and sell when your house is worth $100,000, which it will be if you patrol your block, blog your considerable progress, and join the Public Safety Committee of your local neighborhood association.

What does that have to do with chocolate milk, you might ask? Glad you asked...

During a visit to the Hard Times Cafe, an anarchist co-op restaurant in the West Bank, my son wanted a chocolate milk, which is not on the menu. But the kindly anarchists threw some chocolate syrup in some milk. Sticking a spoon in the milk, they said, "You can stir it yourself, if you like."

Ah, yes, there's that DIY (Do It Yourself) anarchist philosophy. Who wants to rely on The Man and heartless, soulless, multi-national corporations for beverages or fuel or clothing or TOILET PAPER?! Better to make it yourself, grow it yourself, weave it yourself, STIR UP THAT CHOCOLATE MILK YOURSELF.

Bringing the milk to my son, I explained this was "anarchist chocolate milk."

"If you drink it," I explained. "You'll probably start to have feelings of resenting authority--especially your parents--and you may start to question why people need government at all, and why the government is PICKING on you because of, like, THOUGHT CRIME. You may start liking punk rock music."

Playing along, drinking the chocolate milk, my son did his best 13-year-old imitation of an alienated anti-authoritarian, mulling over the state of world affairs. I might have helped set the mood with a nice internet video about why the WTO is evil, who knows? (Click here, and watch at 51 seconds. I sincerely believe that crouched figure in the foreground is me, moments after being hit by a rubber bullet in the 1999 World Trade Organization protests)

Ever since we enjoyed "anarchist chocolate milk" at the Hard Times, my son uses this label to refer to homemade chocolate milk. It's like our little in-joke, and it extends to other stuff like pizza.

This is what my home in NoMi means to me: it is the place to kick back with my son, drink chocolate milk, and talk about...whatever. Whatever we need to talk about. It has been a long, long journey from Seattle to NoMi, but I'm here and I'm near my son...strirring things up, baby, stirring things up.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

National Night Out in NoMi!

Post, second, and third photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman. First photo contributed.

Tonight marks National Night Out, a great time to celebrate our community and meet new and old neighbors. After the jump is a list of all the officially registered NNO events in NoMi, although it should be noted that there are plenty of other informal gatherings happening tonight as well. If you're going to try and make it to multiple festivities, I recommend bringing a friend who can push you around in a wheelbarrow, because the food our neighbors offer is that good.

Here's where you can find NNO gatherings in NoMi...

...The list is grouped by neighborhood, then the location, number of people, activities and time.

Cleveland Neighborhood

36XX QUEEN AVE N 50 BBQ, Games/Prizes, Drawings & Prizes, Music 6-9pm
34XX RUSSELL AVE N 40 pot luck supper-drawings for gifts-some games 6-10pm
35XX SHERIDAN AVE N 30 BBQ, socializing. 5-10pm
36XX SHERIDAN AVE N 60 Potluck-Drawing for plants-neighborhood news-Photo session-Games 6-10pm
37XX UPTON AVE N 100 Socializing,potluck,dessert,games and prizes. 6-10pm
33XX VINCENT AVE N 50 Potluck, music, games-meet & greet-landscaping tour. 6-10pm
35XX VINCENT AVE N 35 potluck type of event, take photographs and talk to neighbors 6-10pm
36XX VINCENT AVE N 30 Pot luck, cookout. 6-10pm
35XX WASHBURN AVE N 40 BBQ, kids' games, socializing 5-9pm
32XX XERXES AVE N 25 Potluck, greeting neighbors, neighborhood updates, scavenger hunt 6-8pm
34XX XERXES AVE N 10 Ice Cream Social 6-8pm

Folwell Neighborhood

36XX EMERSON AVE N 25 Ice cream social with bouncy castle and balloons. 6-8pm
34XX HUMBOLDT AVE N 40 Grill, drinks... games for adults and children. 5-10pm
35XX HUMBOLDT AVE N 75 Kids races,prizes,barbcue,jumper,music ect... 5-10pm
33XX IRVING AVE N 35 Ice cream social and children's activities. 5-9pm
36XX KNOX AVE N 75 free food, live music, free prize drawings, free give aways 4-10pm
33XX LOGAN AVE N 70 Potluck supper-Games for the children 4-9pm
37XX NEWTON AVE N 10 Gather in middle of block. Everybody bring a dish to share. 6-8pm
35XX OLIVER AVE N 50 Pot luck, raffle and possible plant/DVD swap 6-9pm
37XX OLIVER AVE N 25 Meet the neighbors old and new... 6-9pm
32XX PENN AVE N 150 Kareokee, song, drum group, music, BBQ, games, face painting

Harrison Neighborhood

18XX 3RD AVE N 20 Food, Potluck, Meet and greet new neighbors 6-10pm
18XX CHESTNUT AVE W 80 We will have a potluck dinner with games for the kids. 5-10pm
23XX GLENWOOD AVE 30 Water slide for kids, coloring contest, treasure hunt. 6-8pm
23XX GLENWOOD AVE 25 Harrison Treasure Hunt, Ice cream, waterplay... 5-7pm
24XX Glenwood Ave, 40, EATING is the main event! 5-9 pm
3XX GRAMERCY AVE N 20 food, music, hopefully the firetruck games for kids 5-9pm
24XX INGLEWOOD AVE 25 socializing, eating, etc. 4-10pm
2XX IRVING AVE N 20 Hotdogs, Rootbeer Floats, Games 6-8pm
5XX PENN AVE N 60 Unity in the Community, Youth speakers, potluck 4-8pm
5XX QUEEN AVE N 30 potluck, kids games 6-9pm
4XX UPTON AVE S 60 Potluck dinner 6-9pm
3XX VINCENT AVE N 75 Slip-slide/inflatible jumpy for kids, potluck, conversation... 6-9pm

Hawthorne Neighborhood

22XX DUPONT AVE N 100 picnic-hay ride-concert 6-9pm
29XX EMERSON AVE N 40 Potluck, Prizes, drawingsand children activities. 6-9pm
20XX FREMONT AVE N 45 Food, dancing, singing, meeting our neighbors. 5-10pm
3XX LOWRY AVE N 300 Two inflatables, DJ, food 3-8

Heritage Park

8XX 5TH AVE N 50 Information hand-outs. Food provided, games for kids, door prizes... 6-9pm
10XX OLSON MEM HWY 500 Talent show,carft tables, ice cream, food, and game for the kids 6-9pm

Jordan Neighborhood

19XX 24TH AVE N 20 Potluck, kids activities, face painting 6-8pm
23XX 26TH AVE N 200 JACC/St. Anne's Senior Housing. Duck Pond, Cake Walk, Band 3-8pm
34XX FREMONT AVE N 100 food,inflatiables,games,music 2-10pm
15XX HILLSIDE AVE N 75 Grilling, games, chalk painting sidewalks & street, face painting, mus 6-8pm
23XX ILION AVE N 75 Games, prizes, food from different culture...Face/sidewalk painting... 4-8pm
24XX IRVING AVE N 300 Outdoor games, music, food, and fellowship. 3-6pm
26XX JAMES AVE N 40 Kids games in street, food service, congregation amongst neighbors. 6-8pm
31XX OLIVER AVE N 100 Games for kids, bingo. Hotdogs, brats, burgers and pops. 4-8pm
34XX SHERIDAN AVE N 30 BBQ, meet neighbors, raffle 6-10pm
29XX THOMAS AVE N 20 Games, Potluck, Safety Info, projects needing input 6-8pm
19XX WILLOW AVE N 75 Pot Luck-Bike Parade and Decoration-Soccer-Free Raffle 6-9pm

Lind-Bohanon Neighborhood

9XX 49TH AVE N 300 Food, fun for the whole family. LBNA Action Plan vote this night too! 6-8pm
52XX 4TH ST N 30 Pot Luck, Kids Games, getting to know the neighbors. 6-9pm
47XX ALDRICH AVE N 50 Grilling..potluck..beverages,games & possible bike parade for kids... 6-8pm
51XX ALDRICH AVE N 15 the Lind-Bohanan neighborhood association puts on the event 7-9pm
49XX CAMDEN AVE N 40 Games, Pot luck, Water Balloons, etc 3-10pm
47XX COLFAX AVE N 40 Barbeque and kids games 5-7pm
51XX COLFAX AVE N 50 Kids robotics team, step team, pinatas, celebrity appearances 5-10pm
52XX GIRARD AVE N 25 H'ors dourves party! 6-9pm
52XX GIRARD AVE N 35 Pot luck 6-10pm
47XX HUMBOLDT AVE N 20 Potluck for homeowners to gather together. 6-10pm

McKinley Neighborhood

32XX 6th St N, 4, eating and talking with neighbors, 6-10 pm
42XX Aldrich Ave N, 50, potluck, grill, raffle?, kids games, music, 6-9 pm
35XX ALDRICH AVE N 50 grill out, chat, games for kids, outdoor movie 4-8pm
32XX BRYANT AVE N 25 talk and meet the new neighbors eat 5-9pm
33XX COLFAX AVE N 30 Block dinner and door prizes. 6-9pm
37XX COLFAX AVE N 60 Picnic meal, activities for kids, get to know neighbors, share info... 6-9pm
32XX DUPONT AVE N 10 barbecue 5-7pm

Near North Neighborhood

12XX 11TH AVE N 20 Neighbors will share food and children will play in the Alley. 4-10pm
12XX 12TH AVE N 200 Soccer, vollleyball,b-b-que,get to know new people 4-9pm
14XX 15TH AVE N 60 Story Telling, Music, Food, Dancing, Games, Meet and Greet 6-9pm
18TH AVE N 50 Grill out, games for kids, Family Friendly Music. 1-10pm
8XX ELWOOD AVE N 30 Socializing, music, food and games. 4-8pm
14XX GIRARD AVE N 50 Bible verses, balloons, cake walk, fish pond, basketball, food 5-9pm
17XX GIRARD AVE N 50 BBQ and games for kids. 10am-8pm
17XX JAMES AVE N 35 Neighborhood Potluck, Children's activities 6-9pm
18XX NEW YORK AVE 15 Just serving sodas & snacks 7-9pm
11XX NEWTON AVE N 100 Award winning story teller, Zusi/Nothanda Zulu, music, games 5-10pm
17XX OAK PARK AVE N 125 Face painting, info., music, games, new block members drive. 4-7pm

Shingle Creek Neighborhood

52XX IRVING AVE N 50 pot luck, bounce house, face painting, games and dj 4-10pm
51XX LOGAN AVE N 40 Potluck, games, info on neighborhood started as military homes 5-9pm
51XX PENN AVE N 25 Food, beginning stages of planning... 6-9pm
50XX SHERIDAN AVE N 25 Still planning. Games, food, music. 4-10pm
49XX THOMAS AVE N 30 Potluck, games, fun. 4-10pm
49XX WASHBURN AVE N 30 Potluck, yard games, talk about the neighborhood. 4-10pm
51XX WASHBURN AVE N 150 Potluck, bike decorating, music, collect food shelf, balloon animals.. 6-9pm

Victory Neighborhood

19XX 44TH AVE N 32 Potluck, games to build familiarity and mutual respect. 6-9pm
43XX OLIVER AVE N 15 Appetizers and drinks... 6-9pm
45XX OLIVER AVE N 27 pot luck, games for kids, food dirve for donating 6-9pm
46XX OLIVER AVE N 30 Activities for the kids, cookout, brief on neighborhood events... 6-9pm
40XX PENN AVE N 20 Potluck and ice cream. 6-8pm
46XX PENN AVE N 30 Pot luck dinner, kids bike paraide, collect for food shelf 5-10pm
38XX QUEEN AVE N 50 Potluck supper, raffle, games for kids 5-10pm
40XX Queen Ave N, 40, Potluck, games, 4-10 pm
41XX QUEEN AVE N 15 games for the kids (bike races, etc) 5-10pm
42XX QUEEN AVE N 48 Grill food, take pictures, activities for children 6-9pm
44XX QUEEN AVE N 30 potluck, games for kids 5-10pm
38XX RUSSELL AVE N 60 moon jumper, chalk drawings, bike riding, etc. 5-10pm
39XX RUSSELL AVE N 50 Block meeting, cookout/picnic spread,some games for kids 6-10pm
41XX RUSSELL AVE N 35 Potluck, discuss safety issues, visit with neighbors. 6-9pm
38XX SHERIDAN AVE N 25 Potluck, Book exchange, Forming a Block Club. Start Block email list. 5-9pm
39XX SHERIDAN AVE N 50 BBQ/Pot luck 6-10pm
41XX SHERIDAN AVE N 30 potluck-sidewalk chalk-area for children to use toys 6-8pm
42XX SHERIDAN AVE N 60 Pot Luck, games and prizes, Food shelf collection, pictures 5-10pm
43XX SHERIDAN AVE N 30 pot luck dinner, kids games, sign up sheet for telephone tree 6-9pm
38XX UPTON AVE N 25 Potluck, BBQ, sidewalk chalk, games, and food drive. 6-8pm
41XX UPTON AVE N 25 potluck 6-8pm
29XX VICTORY MEM DR 50 Potluck, music by neighbors, kids games, prize drawings. Bocce ball. 6-10pm
37XX VINCENT AVE N 20 Potluck 6-8pm
38XX VINCENT AVE N 25 Potluck, neighbors spend time with each other. 6-9pm
40XX VINCENT AVE N 50 Potluck dinner and kid's bike parade. 6-10pm
45XX VINCENT AVE N 40 Potluck Dinner, games for kids and raffle. 6-8pm
39XX WASHBURN AVE N 30 Games, food and learn about issues in our community. 6-9pm
40XX WASHBURN AVE N 35 Potluck 5-9pm
42XX WASHBURN AVE N 100 Icebreaker, drawing, plant swap, collect for Salvation Army 4-9pm
39XX XERXES AVE N 30 Potluck-meet and greet neighbors-kid activities 6-9pm
41XX XERXES AVE N 40 Neighbors, meet & greet and eat 6-10pm
47XX XERXES AVE N 50 Potluck, Kids ride bikes and play games 4-10pm

Webber-Camden Neighborhood

13XX 44TH AVE N 200 Prizes/games for the children. music,pass out ticket for prizes... 5-9pm
38XX ALDRICH AVE N 40 Potluck-pinata-grill out-inflatable games for kids 5-9pm
39XX COLFAX AVE N 20 Potluck meal 6-8pm
42XX COLFAX AVE N 100 Meal, kid activities,live music, collect books Webber Park library... 6-8pm
41XX DUPONT AVE N 100 Activities for adults and children. Food and entertainment 6-10pm
38XX EMERSON AVE N 25 Kids games, face painting, food 5-9pm
42XX FREMONT AVE N 50 Cooking, Potluck, Games, cards, piniata... 6-10pm
41XX GIRARD AVE N 30 Food, fun, drama free, games, community dialogue 3-10pm
41XX HUMBOLDT AVE N 40 have fun 6-10pm
43XX IRVING AVE N 25 Inflatables, grilling, socializing, hopscotch, foursquare. 3-10pm
41XX JAMES AVE N 30 "Bring your own chair" potluck event. 5-8pm
44XX JAMES AVE N 20 BBQ, potluck dinner, yard games, safety information 5-10pm
43XX KNOX AVE N 100 Music, Games, food, blow up jumper for kids 5-9pm
44XX LOGAN AVE N 30 Potluck, grilling, games for kids, drawings for prizes 5-10pm
15XX MEMORIAL PKWY 40 BBQ-Over-eating-Gossip-Live Jazz Quintet 6-9pm

Willard-Hay Neighborhood

13XX RUSSELL AVE N 40 Potluck-BBQ-Kids/Lawn Games 5-10pm
13XX RUSSELL AVE N 15 i would like to cook something if my street is doing something. 10am-10pm
20XX THOMAS AVE N 80 Food, fun, games and entertainment from kids on the block 4-9pm
29XX 18TH AVE N 25 Grill, dish to pass and a dessert, drinks... 5-8pm
26XX MCNAIR AVE 25 Food, games, crime and safety conversations. 3-10pm
13XX PENN AVE N 300 Health educ., free health screenings, food, refreshments 4-6pm
17XX QUEEN AVE N 40 Grilling burgers/hotdogs, meet new neighbors, games 12-10pm
7XX QUEEN AVE N 50 Cook out, activities for kids and spend time talking with neighbors. 6-9pm
15XX RUSSELL AVE N 40 Food, conversation, door prizes, meet new neighbors, kids play 5-9pm 18XX SHERIDAN AVE N 30 Games for kids,bike riding,sidewalk chalking/coloring.Ice breakers. 5-10pm
8XX Sheridan Ave N, 75, Meet, greet, and dispense crime prevention flyers, 6-9 pm
13XX THOMAS AVE N 12 Pot luck, meet to build up neighborhood, kids activities, music. 10am-5pm
26XX UPTON AVE N 100 Firetruck, BBQ, Games, Potluck, neighborhood watch update 5-9pm
7XX UPTON AVE N 20 bbq, potluck, meet n greet, kids activities 4-6pm
13XX VINCENT AVE N 75 Water ballon toss & coloring contest for kids, pot luck supper 5-10pm
19XX WEST BROADWAY 100 W/The Link and Plymouth Christian Youth Center,etc. Food, games.. 5-7pm
15XX XERXES AVE N 30 grilling, music, chalk for kids 6-10pm

Mr. Slummy Keeps on Earning the Nickname

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Mohammed Amro of Amro's Properties Inc, has slowly but surely been progressing on his monstrosity at 2515 3rd St N. (Which has delinquent taxes, by the way.) The emphasis on slowly is apt, as I was informed over a month ago that he had been assessed for failing to complete the siding on the structure in a timely fashion. But yet, these recent photos indicate that the job STILL isn't done.

Recently, another organizer had stopped by to talk to the family living directly to the south of this property. From day one of his slumminess, they have had to deal with dirt from 2515 3rd spilling over into their yard, ruining their garden and fence. In response to THAT issue, Amro reportedly said...

...the fence is actually HIS fence, so it doesn't matter if it's bent out of shape. (Even if this is true, it does nothing to alleviate the grading issue.)

The organizer also noted large panes of broken glass strewn throughout the premises, but upon my inspection, I did not see them. As one can see from the laundry list of special assessments, this is one of the few times Amro has cleaned up his own mess.

The photos above also show that he's ripped off the front porch and used three colors of siding that don't quite match.

Once again, this blog wishes to remind readers that the area is zoned for a maximum of two residential units, and the anticipated finished square footage indicates a use of three or more units upon completion.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Photo Tour of Unstoppable NoMi Reclamation

2917 6th Street North, soon to be Owner Occupied
Photos and blog post by Hans

You may or may not know that Habitat for Humanity is coming to the Eco-Village for the 27th annual Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. Among other cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul were selected to have several new homes built and older homes renovated. This project is so large that neighbors had to be notified of street closures in the neighborhood during the week of October 3-8. But Habitat for Humanity isn't the only thing to be excited about in these parts. A new owner moved into the Eco-Village last month and the exterior is almost finished on a new home that will be LEED and Health House certified.

Enough rambling... on to the pictures

419 30th Avenue North, Soon to be Owner Occupied

416 30th Avenue North, New Construction will soon be Owner Occupied

430 30th Avenue North, New Construction will soon be Owner Occupied

400 31st Avenue North, will be LEED and Health House certified.

Many thanks to Peter Teachout and his crew for all their hard work on this newly renovated Owner Occupied home in the Eco-Village

3019 4th St. North FINALLY boarded

Photos and blog post by Hans

While investigating a strange noise a few weeks ago I noticed a vacant property that looked like it needed a call to 311. Vinyl records were strewn across the backyard and many windows were broken. I checked the back door and Lo and Behold...

it was unlocked... making this property Open To Trespass and in need of boarding. While standing in the rear entryway I noticed an open/broken window in the kitchen, presumably where entrance was gained. I also noticed a refrigerator that was plugged in and it looked like the criminal had some leftover Wendy's stashed in the fridge. I wanted to check out the rest of the house to see what other damage had been done, but considering that I didn't own the building I figured I didn't have much justification to investigate further (but really I just didn't want to bump into a group of squatters).

I unplugged the fridge and pushed it in front of the window, locked the door on my way out and promptly called 311 to report the situation. I also called Xcel Energy to report electricity use at an abandoned property (one of the meters was still turning even after I unplugged the fridge).

A week went by and nothing seemed to change, except that the fridge was no longer in front of the window and the door wasn't locked anymore. So I made another call to 311 to inquire about the status of this 'open to trespass' property.

A few days later I called 311 again and was told that an order to board the building had been issued and would be completed 'soon'.

I patiently waited for 'soon' to come around, but the house still wasn't boarded a week later. Again I called 311 and this time the operator made an attempt to escalate the case, whatever that means. More time passed and still no boards on the doors or windows. I made a fifth call to 311 and was again told the order to board had been issued, but at least this time the operator was confused as to why the house hadn't been boarded yet.

FINALLY, a few days ago I received a call from a number I didn't recognize. When I answered a friendly 311 operator told me that the house at 3019 4th St. North had been boarded that morning. I wish it hadn't taken as long as it did, but at least Minneapolis has a system in place for normal folks like myself to get problems in their neighborhood addressed.

Thank you 311!

But now I digress...

Sometimes I feel bad calling 311 excessively about one particular property. I wonder if I'm wasting the city's money and employee's time by hounding them about one particular issue that doesn't get fixed right away. I understand there are legal procedures that must be followed and often property owners have several days or weeks to address the problem before the city does the work and bills the owner for it. However, in this case I doubt that 3019 would have been boarded by now if I had not called 311 several times. How did I reach this conclusion?

I give you 2917 4th St. North:

I called in the condition of this house on the same day I called about 3019... but I didn't make any follow up calls. As of today, 2917 4th is still open to trespass (although I doubt anyone would squat in that burned out stink-pile of a structure).

823 Penn Ave. N. Is Just...GONE!

I do make an effort to mark the passage of buildings in North Minneapolis. A reader recently told me 823 Penn Ave. N. is GONE. I don't have a photo, so I've substituted this pleasant images of Limca bottles. This is the legendary house where the owner was inadvertently boarded inside.

Since randomly buying some Limca in the West Bank area, I've researched a bit about this Coca-Cola product sold in India. Click here to learn more. Click here to enjoy a Limca commercial.

So, yeah, 823 Penn Ave. N. I wonder what will replace it. But is it gone? It is so, so gone.

On the bright side, it turns out that if you buy the right kind of soft drink, beautiful women will just...fall for you. This is even true in INDIA.

(Do not click "Read More")

Anne Marie Leikas Was In And Out Of Jail Recently...

Stock photo of a memorial and blog post by John Hoff

Anne Marie Leikas, who is the sister of murder victim Annshalike Hamilton, was in and out of jail recently for pot charges. Anne Marie is the girlfriend of Remaro C. Smith, which the mother of June Leikas suspects of murdering her daughter, as revealed and discussed exclusively with Johnny Northside Dot Com. Here are the details from the jail roster...

Booking Number: 2010020547
Date of Birth: 12/24/1986
Sheriff's Custody: RELEASED FROM CUSTODY ON . 7/28/2010 . 16:46
Housing Location:
Received Date/Time: 7/27/2010.. 11:16
Arrested By: HCSO
Case/Count Description of Charge Charged By Reason for Arrest Severity of Charge State of Charge Bail Information Court Appearance Date/Time Court Appearance Location

A source tells me there is more to the story but I do not yet have those details where I can release them. This much I have been told, but it is unconfirmed: Anne Marie is reportedly in the workhouse. She walked out of court to have a cigarette and the judge gave her 6 months. This is reportedly secondhand info from June Leikas, the mother of Anne Marie.

He's In The Army Now! Peter Teachout Is HAIRLESS At Fort Benning, Georgia!

Self-portrait by Peter Teachout, blog post by John Hoff

All the way from his Army Officer's Basic Training Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, Peter sent a mobile pic of himself sporting the regulation "Mr. Clean" look of no hair, nowhere on his bald, bald army-issue head. His wife, JoyAnne Teachout, uploaded the pic to her Facebook. And that's where I got it...

Peter Teachout is, of course, the former chair of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council and something of a "Hero of NoMi" for his super active neighborhood patrols, which were recognized by the City Council with an award. Here's to Peter, who will need a lot of strength to get through this time of difficult testing.

But if the Lord be for him, who can be against him?

Pair of Dice Pizza Is NOT Leaving NoMi...

Photo and blog post by John Hoff

Several days ago, a frightening rumor shot through North Minneapolis, aided by the Upper Willard Homewood (UWHO) listserv: Pair of Dice Pizza was getting set to close its doors. The rumor turned out to be baseless. In fact, there is...

...a shuffle happening with building ownership, leasing arrangements, or some junk like that. But from the customer's point of view, NOTHING is happening to Pair of Dice Pizza.

Pictured above is my son Alex with pizza from Pair of Dice. Color him RELIEVED.

Places To Run In North Minneapolis...

Contributed photo, xoxo, blog post by John Hoff

Running is good therapy. It doesn't matter if you aren't going to break any records, it's still good therapy, especially if your body has taken a few bangs and dents and you need to exercise to keep from stiffening up when you get old...which, thankfully, is still about two decades down the line for me.

So far, I've discovered three great places to run in North Minneapolis (NoMi). These are...

The North High school track, Jordan Pond, and Victory Drive.

The track for North High is not located at North High itself, but quite a distance away. It's behind Shiloh Temple. So if you were on West Broadway, and you saw Shiloh would be south of Shiloh Temple. This is a perfect track, and surprisingly underutilized. Of course, one reason it's underutilized is because it's usually locked up. You go there and it's kind of a crapshoot whether the track will be locked or unlocked at the metal turnstile. So I tend to go there first, but when it's locked up, I go somewhere else.

There's kind of a tie between my second and third choices. Both are nice in their own way based on scenery and running conditions. Pictured above is the Jordan Pond. It's a little more than a mile around the pond, and the fact there is a path AROUND the pond gives the illusion of a running track. However, it's a bit more than a mile around...which is discouraging, if you're timing laps...and there are hills. Also, the path is a sidewalk, not a track. It's not really made for running.

But the beauty of the pond can't be beat, and there are nice grassy areas for other exercises. When I run, my son likes to run along for short distances and pretend he's a drill sergeant, telling me I'm not doing good enough. HE REALLY LIKES THIS ACTIVITY, A LITTLE TOO MUCH IF YOU ASK ME. I tell Alex he can be anything in the world he wants to be, EXCEPT an enlisted man in the army. Two generations of eating enlisted dust is enough, I tell him, if he goes into the military he MUST be an officer or--though I've never beat him in my life--I will have to start, even if he's 18 years old. I'm not sure if he GETS IT how serious I am about this.

Anyway...Jordan Pond is a real runner's jewel, but it's hard to beat Victory Drive.

This area--which is in the swanky, more affluent part of North Minneapolis--features humble but moving cross memorials on the ground every several yards, recognizing soldiers from the Twin Cities who gave their lives in defense of our nation. There are many miles of long, continuous many miles, in fact, that it's necessary to measure with the odometer of a vehicle to figure out a good two mile run. I use an area just before the flagpole, then run to 36th and back. That works.

Recently, road construction was taking place nearby, and a port-a-john was conveniently left unlocked. Better a port-a-john on our streets than johns, I say!

If you like running and you are considering a move to NoMi, check out these three places I've listed as possible running locations. And then GET TO NoMi!