Archive for the ‘Skyways’

Felony Trip Down Memory Lane for ISD191 Alumni

According to this Dakota County Criminal Complaint two alumni of a Burnsville school decided to “take a trip down memory lane” and vandalize the building after a few drinks. They later attempted to flee after police responded to an alarm at the school.

From the complaint:

On or about August 9, 2012 at approximately 1:00 a.m. officers with the Burnsville Police Department were dispatched to a school located on the 400 block of 134th Street located in the City of Burnsville, County of Dakota, State of Minnesota on the report of an alarm.

Upon arrival, officers set up a perimeter around the building. An officer on the north side of the building heard what sounded like a door opening and shined his flashlight at the door. Upon doing so, the officer observed two males inside of the school. The officer advised the males to lie on the ground and indicated that they were under arrest. The suspects shut the door and ran back into the school. A few seconds later, an officer positioned in the front of the school advised that two males had just run out of the front door of the school and across 134th Street. Officer located a microwave lying on the floor of the staff lounge and mustard all over the refrigerator. In addition to the damage in the staff lounge area, officers observed damage to the steel door located on the roof.

A K9 officer was called in to assist in locating the suspects. The first suspect was apprehended in a residential area hiding in a childrens playhouse. The suspect was identified as JUSTIN SCOTT MCGUIRE, date of birth 9/10/90. Paramedics were called due to the canine apprehension and an officer stayed with McGuire at the hospital.

McGuire was read his Miranda warning and agreed to speak with the officer. McGuire reported that he had been inside of the school and did not have permission to be inside of the school. McGuire reported that he and his friend Zach had met for a couple drinks and then decided to “take a stroll down memory lane” and entered the school through a door on the roof of the building. McGuire admitted that he dumped out a couple cans of pop in the staff lounge and emptied a bottle of mustard all over the refrigerator in the staff lounge. McGuire admitted that he had fled from the police stating it was either “flight or fight” and he didn’t want to fight the officers.

The actions of these two are ridiculous but I want to know why it was so easy for two drunken idiots to break into the school in the first place. While there were no details of how the entry occurred, if they broke a window it would seem as if it would be mentioned in the report considering the heavy emphasis on the overturned microwave and other damage caused by soda and condiments. So was a door simply left unlocked or a window left open by someone working in the summer to get the school ready for the year? Is this a common occurrence?

What do you think about this one? Do you wonder if our schools are left unlocked by those who utilize them throughout the year and thus left vulnerable to theft and vandalism? How about the use of the K9 unit when the mayor and the rest of the council has decided those public safety resources are not important enough to fund appropriately? Are you surprised by the preliminary voting results for Burnsville’s mayoral race with Willenburg trailing Kautz (instead of the other way around as it was four years ago)? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on below!

MyBurger, D. Brian’s Lash Out Against Food Trucks

Two recent articles via WCCO and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal highlight the lengths brick and mortar restaurants are willing to go in order to limit the influence the street food movement is having on their business. While some of their complaints may be valid, what this really boils down to is an influx of competition into a marketplace which had been dominated by expensive and low quality food but now is flooded with somewhat less expensive but far better quality foods which are eating into the profits of businesses unwilling to change with the times.

From the WCCO article:

“The trucks park in front of our doors and hijack our customers,” said Doug Sams, founder of D. Brian’s Deli & Catering. Sams says food trucks have hurt his sales by about five percent.

“A five percent drop in sales could be all of your profits, could be fifty percent of your profits, it’s a major impact on the way you’re doing business,” he said.

While D. Brian’s founder maybe be right on when he states that the food trucks have hurt his sales, he is attacking the problem from the wrong angle. D. Brian’s isn’t exactly known for it’s stellar food or service and with a 50% rating (N=14) on Urbanspoon, it would appear that not many people with an interest in food are eating at his establishments mostly because the food trucks offer a far better product for the same, if not a lower, price point.

From the Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal article:

Abdo and other restaurant owners are pressing the city to toughen ruls and fees on food trucks. Abdo said he doesn’t mind the competition and says the food trucks bring vibrancy to the city.
“I just want a level playing field,” he said.

Instead of changing their business to meet the high quality demand created by the “vibrant” streetfood movement, MyBurger is instead trying to attract new business and retain previous customers through a series of advertisements meant to showcase the fact that brick and mortar stores are located in the same spot daily and don’t plan to move around much.

However, what the ads also show are that the traditional restaurants downtown at the skyway level are unwilling to have ever-changing menus which are keeping up with customer tastes like the food trucks are able to do. Instead of restaurants driving demand through location, advertising, and lack of decent competition, a far more knowledgeable customer base looking for food-forward establishments are bypassing the traditional outlets which may be difficult to reach in the maze of the skyway system.

Instead of pushing to punish the food trucks because of their success using superior ingredients, food forward menus, and locations which are more convenient and easily found by downtown diners, brick and mortar shops should be doing what they can to revamp their menus, reset their prices, and draw potential business away from the trucks and into their stores. Unfortunately, they will likely continue to use the city to lobby against the newcomers instead of taking the better option and, depending on the outcome, they may end up closing their doors due to the fact that they simply refuse to do the right thing.

What do you think about the competition the food trucks have brought to downtown brick and mortar restaurants and their response so far? Do you believe that this is simply an issue which needs to be carried out in the political arena or do you think that this is something the brick and mortars should combat with better food? Do you think that MyBurger or D. Brian’s food is any good? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Kabobs Indian Grill: Minneapolis, MN

A few weeks ago I heard about a really inexpensive Indian lunch spot in the Gaviidae Common Food Court in downtown Minneapolis and decided that I had to see if it were as good as everyone online had been claiming it was. I rounded up a good friend of mine and we headed over there after 11:30 to avoid what some say is one of the busier times of the day (I was told not to go right at 11:30 or 12:00 but instead try for 11:45 or 12:15 instead).

We arrived at about 11:40 and found about 10 people in line with 6 to 7 guys working behind the counter. Stuffed in a large food court several floors above skyway level, you really need to work to find this place. There are numerous other options available in the court but most of them are chains (Steak Company and McDonald’s to name two). They have a few signs which provide contradicting information about the price of what I liked to call the “one-trip buffet”. At the end of the day we paid $7 for a huge tray of food, a drink, and tax.

The food is good, not great, but good and the cafeteria line offers up what they claim is 30 different options. Based on what we saw yesterday I’d put that number at about 20 items which are obvious, 5 or 6 which are not included in the price of the lunch deal, and another 4 to 5 which must have been missing from view that day. The naan was soft and warm but nothing special, the meat stews were bony but meaty as well (be careful, you may chomp down on a significant portion of bone if you’re not careful), and the vegetables were overcooked but still quite flavorful.

While not as good as some of the places around town charging 2x as much for all you can eat, you are definitely not going to walk away from Kabobs looking for more. Everyone who left that line was carrying a heavy tray piled with food. People were just pointing and they were scooping. We never saw the line have less than 10 to 15 people, even as they approached and crested the noon hour, but it never got too terribly busy either. Overall I will be back and I plan to have the Budget Nazi add in $7/month for me to go there more regularly.

Have you ever been to Kabobs Indian Grill in the Gaviidae Commons Food Court? If so what did you think? Have you been to their other locations around town? How does the Kabobs in Gaviidae compare to those? Do you have any other cheap food recommendations downtown and/or in the skyways for lunch? Can it beat $7? Whatever you have to say about Kabobs in Minneapolis go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Kabobs Indian Grill
555 Nicolett Mall FC#8
Minneapolis, MN 55402


Kabobs Indian Grill on Urbanspoon

See all the pictures from Kabobs Indian Grill in the Gaviidae Commons in Minneapolis on Flickr here.

Minneapolis Bus Route Change: Better or Worse?

Yesterday marked the official end of downtown construction and the altering of traffic patterns to create a one-way lane for buses on two different roads downtown. This was meant to ease congestion along the routes and create headaches and additional revenue for the city as they ticket unknowing drivers who are confused by the expensive lights which direct you not to drive down the street. This change was so important to Minneapolis that Mayor R.T. Rybak was greeting sleepy-eyed bus riders as they got off the bus this morning to ask them how it all went.

After shaking hands with the mayor and having a video camera shoved into my face at 7:45 AM, I mentioned that I slept nearly the entire way to Minneapolis so I really didn’t know how it went. Figuring that inquiring minds would want to know, I paid a lot more attention to how smoothly this new operation ran this afternoon. While I still can’t really speak for the amount of time it took this morning, I will be sure to follow up below tomorrow morning. But, for now, we’ll just cover the evening’s commute.

1. For nearly two years I have been dropped off and picked up next to my building. Yes, I realize that there are plenty of others who were not so lucky. This now changes for the evening ride home. I now have to walk two blocks outside in the cool or four blocks through the maze in the sky to get to my bus stop.

2. When I finally get outside I am no longer greeted with an orderly line, mentioned yesterday by dawnmarie, as there is no room for one. Everyone is bunched up and confused. There is no longer any room for the long lines that the old stop was able to accommodate.

3. The stop we chose had a nice overhang which would protect us from the elements. Unfortunately it also protects the smokers who like to use it to stay out of the falling snow. Time to move them somewhere else don’t you think? I honestly don’t want to smell like smoke for the rest of my commute. I didn’t have this problem at the last stop.

4. Tonight I noticed no decrease in the amount of time that it took to get from my pickup point to 35. In fact, it seemed to take longer. This may have been an isolated incident due to the weather but it seemed like traffic was moving fine. It’s just that we were now one block up and two blocks over from our traditional route.

So basically my overall impression? It’s annoying, it was unnecessary, and I really don’t think it’s anything special. A lot of shit needs to change in order for me to appreciate the amount of money, energy, and traffic this “update” caused. But who cares what I have to say? There are plenty of you out there that commute to downtown Minneapolis every day, what did you think about the change?