COMMUNITY VOICES | Carry permit holder fends off crowbar wielding intruder

Construction worker Craig Paulson was thinking about where to go for lunch as he worked on renovations inside a bank-owned residence in a quiet, tree-lined and well-manicured neighborhood in Uptown on one of the last days in November.His appetite and lunchtime thoughts quickly faded, however, when Paulson, working alone in a back room inside the residence on the 3300 block of Girard Avenue, turned around and found himself faced with a “large” man wielding Paulson’s own three foot crowbar just steps from where he was working.The lifelong construction worker and father of three kids of whom he has sole custody, said that the weather was pleasant that Tuesday morning and that’s why he’d left the door of the residence open and unlocked as he worked. “It’s a nice part of town,” Paulson followed, describing the startling and unexpected encounter with the intruder.Paulson said his crowbar alongside other construction tools had been lying on the floor just inside the front door of the residence where he had been working that morning, and he said that he suspects that the intruder picked up the crowbar when he entered the residence “and carried it throughout the house” until he found Paulson in the back room.Faced with the crowbar wielding intruder who then took a step toward Paulson, a large man himself at over 6 feet tall and 240 pounds, he said he could only imagine what the intentions may be of the intruder whose height “towered over” him, and whom Paulson described as having dilated pupils and acting “like he didn’t know what he was doing.”Instinctively, Paulson – who has a permit-to-carry a firearm and describes himself as a “lifestyle” carrier who has a gun on him “every moment” that he’s awake – reached for and drew his concealed firearm and pointed it at the crowbar wielding intruder.According to Paulson, the suspect then turned and fled dropping the crowbar on the way out of the house. Paulson watched the suspect flee to a parked passenger car about a half a block away where he got into the driver’s side of the vehicle, but Paulson said couldn’t tell if he got into the driver’s seat or the back seat of the vehicle as it sped away.Paulson dialed 911 and reported the incident to police who arrived a short time later and filled out a report calling the incident a “burglary of dwelling,” according to the police report. Paulson said the police told him that it’s “not uncommon” for suspects to enter homes through open doors in the spring and fall looking for items that they can quickly steal while the occupants may be in another part of the house or in the back yard.Despite the fact that police recorded the incident as a burglary, Paulson said he feels like he avoided a “potentially bad situation” that day that could have turned into something much worse. Paulson claims that the responding officer even said they “love the CCW guys.”The Minneapolis Police Department was contacted for this story and was asked whether there has been a pattern of similar incidents in that area or elsewhere in Minneapolis, and they were also asked for information about the frequency of reported incidents of defensive use of firearms by carry permit holders in Minneapolis. Continue Reading

Nico’s Taco & Tequila Bar: Authentic Mexican in Uptown

I have to admit I was pretty skeptical about the new Nico’s Taco & Tequila Bar, which recently took over the space previously occupied by Birdhouse (and before that, Duplex) at 2516 Hennepin.Mexican restaurants can be roughly divided up into two categories — those that attract a Latino clientele, and those that don’t. For a certain kind of foodie, it just goes without saying that the places where the people of the ethnicity in question eat are more authentic, and therefore better, than the chain restaurants, or the ones that have been in some way adulterated to please the less adventuresome Midwestern palate.So, it stands to reason that you are going to find the best Mexican cuisine at the little taquerias along Lake Street or Central Ave. in Minneapolis, or Concord St. in St. Paul.Right?Not so fast.I’ve only been to Nico’s twice, so far it doesn’t seem to be attracting a Latino clientele. Continue Reading

Why the Red Hot Art & Music Festival is better than the Powderhorn, Loring, and Uptown Art Fairs combined

Every year at around this time I consider the possibility of skipping the Powderhorn Art Fair for something more enjoyable, and every year I go to Powderhorn anyway despite myself, without knowing why. I don’t like the Powderhorn/ Loring/ Uptown Art Fairs, and it took me a really long time to feel comfortable admitting that out loud. I was an actual vendor at Powderhorn on a day so hot I was dripping from places I didn’t realize had sweat glands; it was miserable, but I live five blocks away so I have no excuse for not going. I’ve also worked the Red Hot Art & Music Festival and it isn’t hard to see that events are vastly different—and even on a sweltering summer day, it’s clear that one is significantly better than the others.Fair warning: as in my Bastille Day post, the following opinions may not agree with others’, but I won’t be pulling any punches with this one and I’m going to start at what I perceive to be the beginning. This is gonna be a long one.THE NAME: From this point on I’m going to be referring to the Powderhorn/ Loring/ Uptown debacle as the Twin Cities Art Fair because that’s what it is. Continue Reading

Uptown Minneapolis chick lit, 2015

When Jessie falls, she falls fast and hard—so of course she had a huge lady boner for the guy she met Friday night at the Buzza, and of course she wanted to talk about it, so on Saturday night I grabbed a six-pack of Big Ginger and went over to Elán to pregame.Jessie didn’t even know the guy’s name, it turned out, but she remembered that he worked at either MoZaic or MoZaic II, and that he’d mentioned a plan to hang out at Stella’s on Saturday. After a Big Ginger and a tallboy of Surly Filthy Rich each, we were feeling good and about to go scout the scene at Stella’s—when Jessie checked her phone and screamed. “Aaugh! That girl from Blue just checked in at Abilene! Should we go there?” I tried to be the voice of reason. Continue Reading

In defense of Uptown

I like the Gasthof as much as the next guy, but still, when I most recently went looking for a new place, there was never any doubt in my mind that I’d stay in Uptown. For the love of God, you ask, Why?!For starters, there’s the history. Uptown is Minneapolis’s historic Cool Neighborhood. The Twin Cities have plenty going for them today, but Minneapolis’s high point of cool came in the 80s, when Prince was reshaping pop and the Replacements and Hüsker Dü were writing the songs that, 25 years later, bands from the other side of the world are still playing when they come to Minneapolis. Prince was off in his own dimension, but where did the Replacements hang out? Uptown.I was hanging out in fourth grade in Duluth when Let it Be was released, so I don’t have any stories about spending wild nights at the Uptown Bar or almost getting puked on by Paul at the CC Club, but by the time I was in high school and college, my cool older cousin Sara—who was in one of the first classes to graduate from the Perpich arts school, who introduced me to the music of Tom Waits and 10,000 Maniacs, who took me to my first concert (Run Westy Run and Zuzu’s Petals at the Entry, circa 1990), who hung out with people like Arzu Gokcen—lived in Uptown, and the way my family talked about it, there was no other possible place Sara could have lived. Continue Reading

Jeffrey Skemp presents a cacophony of poetry at the Bryant-Lake Bowl

Despite a great number of near-meets, sightings, and acknowledgements of friends-of-friends, I still haven’t met poet Jeffrey Skemp. Prior to October 18, I had watched him read once, at the Hazel and Wren Words at WAM open mic last February, and in June, noticed him watching (and enjoying) Sierra DeMulder, Haley Lasche, Cary Waterman, and Richard Robbins reading at a Maeve’s Session, while I sat hoping that he would get up and read as part of the open mic. No dice.

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“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is poignant perfection

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a unique and bold take on the traditional coming-of-age storyline. Yes, a high school freshman has trouble fitting in. Yes, there are members of cliques clustered together in the cafeteria. And yes, there is an “untouchable” girl the protagonist pines for. But this film rips deeper than many in its genre by taking a long, focused look at uncomfortable topics like death in the family, suicide, LSD, depression, homophobia, and physical and mental abuse. And oh yeah, there’s also enough comedy to make you laugh till your jaw is sore. Continue Reading

“Have a magical night and a titillating tomorrow”: Uptown’s favorite liquor cashier, Beck DeRobertis of Lowry Hill Liquors, sells booze and a movie

There are many things to like about Lowry Hill Liquors. First, it’s one of the cheapest places to buy alcohol in the Twin Cities. Second, they give away a bag of free ice with every purchase. Finally, if you’re lucky, you’ll be rung up by cashier and burgeoning filmmaker Beck DeRobertis, who always has a funny catchphrase to say as he rings you up—and if you’re a football fan, will likely commiserate with your team’s success or failure of the week. Currently, you can also purchase a copy of his comedic short film, Wingman, which the MCAD grad wrote, directed and starred, for $5 at the counter.DeRobertis is hard to miss. Continue Reading