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John Reinan

Reporter | Region & State
Phone: 612-673-7402
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

John Reinan is a news reporter covering Greater Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. For the Star Tribune, he's also covered the western Twin Cities suburbs, as well as marketing, advertising and consumer news. He's been a reporter for more than 20 years and also did a stint at a marketing agency.

Reinan has reported for seven newspapers from Alaska to Florida and points in between. A graduate of Fergus Falls High School and St. Olaf College, he usually can get within two degrees of connection to just about anyone in Minnesota. In his free time, he reads a lot of history, drives the historic Lake Harriet trolley in Minneapolis and plays the stand-up bass.
Recent content from John Reinan
Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

The five people who perished in the Nov. 27 blaze at Cedar High Apartments will forever be linked by the tragedy. Yet their lives, as well as their deaths, share a common thread.
Nadifo Yusuf Ismail, 70, lives on the 13th floor of the high rise at 630 Cedar Av. She says she tried to escape but couldn't so she locked herself in

Intense blaze in high-rise kills 5, sends shock wave across Minneapolis

The deadly blaze in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood broke out around 4 a.m. in a 25-story building. The fire was out within 30 minutes, the Minneapolis Fire Department said. Early signs are it was accidental.
One of the historic newspapers recently found inside a Star Tribune coin box.

Mysterious 'newspaper fairy' places historic newspapers in Minneapolis coin boxes

Seven swaps have replaced current Star Tribunes with old issues chronicling notable events.
The Lindstrom water tower is shaped as a coffee pot in the Chisago Lakes Area, Minn., on Friday June 19, 2015. The Chisago Lakes Area is made up of Ch

Why are there so many water towers in Minnesota — and what do they do?

Some cities — usually large ones — don't use water towers, but they are an unmistakable part of the Minnesota landscape. What do they do and why do we have so many of them?
After receiving a halal meal, Caitlin Heyer, with her son Arthur, showed East African women how to use a desk loom at the St. Peter Senior Center.

Community meal eases isolation for East African elders in rural Minnesota

Food is the first course in health education program in St. Peter.
Rick Serbus spread hog manure of farm fields near Redwood Falls, Minn. The recent cold front wafted southern Minnesota farm odors to Kansas City, Mo.

Cold front had Kansas City residents sniffing Minnesota stench

Minnesota pig farms and fields recently treated with manure blamed for the unappealing odor.
Arnold Bockstruck, the third generation to head Bockstruck Jewelers, in 1990.

Arnold Bockstruck, St. Paul jeweler who shone brightest in the community, dies at 91

The third-generation business owner was a tireless promoter of his hometown and held several leadership roles in community organizations.
Country singer Alan Jackson performed at We Fest in 2007.

In Detroit Lakes, one-year hiatus for We Fest is 'a tug at the heartstrings'

New owner could make Detroit Lakes country music event "king of the mountain again."
Concord Elementary School

Edina school vandalized with swastika

A suspect was apprehended, but police said there was no arrest.

St. Paul police identify men slain in back-to-back weekend shootings

The victims of back-to-back fatal shootings in St. Paul this weekend have been identified.St. Paul police said Anthony Martin, 25, of St. Paul was shot…
At Prairie Elementary in Worthington, teacher Molly Scheidt led her English language class in a converted storage room. The city’s schools are burst

Rapid growth in Worthington schools exposes friction

A bitter fight over school funding has become a flash point in a larger debate about immigration and its impact on this southwestern Minnesota prairie town.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter commented on the double shooting in his city Sunday night.

Two shot near Loons playoff game; Carter says 'This has to stop right now'

"This has to stop right now," mayor says of the rash of gun violence.
Owatonna's school district is hoping to replace its nearly 100-year-old high schol.

Owatonna may offer naming rights to businesses that help fund new high school

Owatonna companies pledged nearly $25M for a new high school.
Gene Weingarten photo courtesy of Washington Post

Review: 'One Day,' by Gene Weingarten

NONFICTION: A storyteller digs into a random 24 hours in America.
Student Joshua Klingensmith, center, readied his shop class’ electric car for a test drive. The class has placed second in the world in supermileage

Tiny Minnesota high school aims to put washing machine in outer space

"We don't build widgets here," said Luke Becker, Braham Area High's agricultural technology and physics teacher. "If it doesn't have a purpose, we don't do it."
Moorhead razed much of its historic downtown in the 1970s and replaced it witha city hall building set in a mall. Now it might sell the building and s

With Fargo envy, Moorhead looks to revitalize its downtown

The city on the Minnesota side will team with a local developer.
More Homer Hankies should arrive in Twin Cities today

More Homer Hankies should arrive in Twin Cities today

Demand has exceeded expectations, with more than 200,000 sold so far
Twins superfan Mary Wadlow, shown in her Apple Valley home, believes this is the year the Twins will “slay the Yankees monster.”

As playoffs begin, Twins fans revel in an unexpected season

Joyful over a magical year, they're ready to take on the Yankees -- and hope to be in it for the duration.
The Husky Energy refinery in Superior, Wis, burns after an explosion in April 2018. Husky has gotten permission to rebuild and is expected to fully re

Superior, Wis., refinery that exploded, burned gets OK to rebuild

Explosion, fire at the Superior, Wis., facility forced thousands to evacuate last year.
A community group in Hibbing, Minn., hopes to erect this monument to Bob Dylan on the campus of Hibbing High School.

Will Bob Dylan be immortalized at his alma mater Hibbing High?

After two years, school board and organizers haven't been able to agree on a final plan for the proposed installation at Hibbing High School.

Cleared of all charges, former Iron Range mayor goes after the cops who arrested him

Jim Hunter claims he was the victim of a small-town vendetta, and three juries agreed. Now Hunter, the former mayor of Crosby, Minn., is suing…
The trophy room at Jerry Hennessey’s former home in rural Dalton, Minn. Hennessey is in prison after his conviction for stealing more than $5.4 mill

Burnsville taxidermist who mounted swindler's exotic big-game animals sued for fraud

He should have known he was being paid with ill-gotten money, court documents say.
Produce manager Jon Maunu, left, and employee Bob Keomany work at Doug’s Supermarket in the town of 1,800.

North Loop in the North Woods? The reinvention of Warroad, Minn.

A communitywide effort is aiming to bring a new flavor to this fishing and factory town some 370 miles northwest of the Twin Cities: A destination for entrepreneurs in the knowledge-based economy.
Brainerd Public Schools chairwoman Sue Kern

Brainerd school chair questions teaching of evolution

District staff and faculty explained that the theory of evolution has actually gotten stronger with further scientific discovery — for example, the study of DNA.
Patrick Winter, owner of Red Barn Farm in Northfield, showed off his rebuilt event barn a year after a devastating tornado.

Family rebuilds wedding barn after devastating tornado in Northfield, Minn.

A new, 5,000-square-foot structure that's heated, air-conditioned and full of custom touches that the Winters' old barn, for all its charm, lacked.
C.J. started writing her column in 1989.

C.J., longtime Star Tribune columnist, retires

Longtime Star Tribune columnist C.J., one of the most well-known media figures in the Twin Cities, has retired after nearly 30 years of writing about…
Pedestrians and motorist navigated snowy streets in downtown Minneapolis in February. After a bad winter of 2018-19, Minnesota could be in line for mo

Farmers' Almanac winter prediction: 'Worst of the worst' for Minnesota

We're in for a "polar coaster," almanac says in its 203rd winter prediction.
John J. Harbinson

John J. Harbinson, former chief of Minnesota Highway Patrol, dies at 93

It was a story John J. Harbinson never tired of telling: how he met his wife in bed. He was a young man in the…
Josh Johnson, mayor of Darwin, Minn., personally installed a new street sign last week in honor of musician “Weird Al” Yankovic, who immortalized

'Weird Al' honored with 'Weird Alley' in Minnesota home of giant twine ball

Biggest Twine Ball town honors "Weird Al" with a new street sign.
Gene Gruber practiced his plowing skills at home in Richmond, Minn. The only American to win the World Ploughing Championship, he’ll compete again t

A Minnesota man is the world's best plower. His daughter hopes to take the title.

51-year-old Gene Gruber is the only American "plowboy" ever to win the World Ploughing Championship.
The deputy sheriff's squad car still sits on display in the Settler's Square Historical Museum with all original damage, along with a mannequin dresse

UFO or no? Forty years later, a Minnesota town still wonders what sheriff's deputy encountered

Warren, Minn. Sounding groggy but calm, the Marshall County deputy sheriff radioed in from his patrol car at 2:19 a.m. on a lonely country…
Students wearing handmade costumes, which they designed in the “Art Buddies” program, paraded through the Whittier Elementary halls in Minneapolis

Twin Cities' Art Buddies bring youthful dreams to life in cardboard, cloth and duct tape

The nonprofit mentorship program matches adults from the Twin Cities creative industry with low-income students, serving about 300 children a year in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A group of women from Orchard Dental Group flew down the State Fair’s Giant Slide together Thursday. This is the 50th year of the Giant Slide at the

For many at fair, highs and lows of opening day just can't be beat

Everything's pure, everything glistens. And not so crazy even. Others see it as a sign of how the whole 12-day stretch will go.
This 1948 Tucker was never finished in the factory, but a collector bought the incomplete vehicle and, using original Tucker parts, assembled the car.

Rare Tucker automobile will be auctioned for Mayo Clinic cancer research

One of the Tucker cars will go on the auction block later Aug. 31, with the proceeds benefiting Mayo Clinic's cancer research program.
Concerns about possible erosion have prompted a plan to improve drainage in some Mankato ravines. Adjacent homeowners are being asked to foot the bill

Mankato neighborhood balks at tax hike to fix ravine drainage

Residents protest $16,500 levy to fix drainage, erosion issues
Alec Lackmann verified the world’s oldest freshwater fish in Otter Tail County. He’s shown here with one of the nearly 400 bigmouth buffalo fish h

Record catch: At 112 years, Minnesota fish is the oldest freshwater fish ever verified

A graduate student took the fish in Crystal Lake in Otter Tail County. Radiocarbon dating verified the fish's age, making it the oldest age-validated freshwater fish ever taken.
From left, Stella Manuel, 5, Lillian Lydeen, 9, and Lainey Manuel, 7, all from Watkins, sailed down a slide at the Meeker County Fair. Lillian and Lai

Small and sweet, county fairs draw millions of Minnesotans each year

While some 2 million Minnesotans attend the State Fair each year, even more flock to 90 county fairs, where the vibe is more relaxed and less harried.
Miguel Fidler (12) of Edina celebrated after scoring a goal in the third period. Edina beat Duluth East by a final score of 3-2. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ cgo

Why does everyone love to hate Edina?

The "cake eaters" of Edina have been a target for generations. Why all the hate? Curious Minnesota tackles this reader question.
A Pentecostal prophet told Yvette VanDerBrink to go to auction school. Now the 54-year-old from tiny Hardwick, Minn., is one of the nation’s leading

A prophet told her to become an auctioneer. Now this Minnesota woman is among the best

"A woman doing this? That's like a white buffalo," Yvette VanDerBrink says.
The former Nike missile site in Watertown, Minn., closed since the 1970s, is slated for an environmental cleanup. Here, Mound fire chief Greg Pederson

When nukes in a cornfield protected the Twin Cities from the Soviet Union

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Half a century later, Tony Vanderlinde remembers the sight “plain as day.” Baling hay on his family’s dairy farm near the…
Jade Willaert, 16, traveled from Jordan to the cornfields of Glencoe, Minn., to take her driver’s exam. She’s lucky -- some Twin Cities youths are

Twin Cities teens are having to hit the road to take their driving exams

The state's overcrowded driver testing system has forced some families to travel hundreds of miles and make overnight stays.
This dock on Cross Lake, seen in a file photo, appears to violate Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regulations that requires that no section

Monster docks on Minnesota lakes have DNR concerned

Rather than writing tickets and ordering cabin owners to dismantle docks, DNR agents are asking them to set up their docks differently next year.
The latest border rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin challenges the very essence of the North Star state. Wisconsin is claiming that it has more

Wisconsin claims it has more lakes than Minnesota (It doesn't.)

It depends on what you consider a lake. But the Badger State may be overcounting.
Even before his death last year, the town of Longville, Minn., had erected this statue of its beloved ambassador, Bruno. The dog often slept in the su

Minnesota resort town remembers its beloved dog, Bruno

Longville moves on without its beloved four-legged ambassador
Shauna Raisch said she’s had her dock in the same spot on Leech Lake every year for more than 20 years. After she refused to shift its position, a n

Dock dispute on Leech Lake pits businessman vs. former reality TV star from Wayzata

WHIPHOLT, Minn. – As Minnesota gears up for cabin season, this placid vacation community some 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities finds itself…
Why won't anyone in Minnesota take the last piece of food?

Why won't anyone in Minnesota take the last piece of food?

Who hasn't seen the last doughnut at the office cut in half, then halved again and again, until only a sliver is sitting on the plate? Is it Minnesota Nice at play, basic courtesy or something else?
In March, floodwaters covered Hwy. 19, where the Minnesota River is causing flooding and closed down three of four highways heading into Henderson, Mi

Minnesota is in a soggy state after a historically wet spring

Summerlike weather finally has arrived, but it will take time for the state to dry out.
Lonesome Dove owners Brian Berube, left, and Augie Kersten paid $2,600 for the artwork.

North Dakota saloon owners fight order to cover up mural

"They pushed the wrong guy," co-owner of the Lonesome Dove saloon says about his fight with Mandan.
Joe Slater reviewed land and road records that he says demonstrate that Wabasha County should be maintaining the roads in his Lake Pepin blufftop neig

Who's in charge of gravel roads? Lake City landowner asks court to decide

Lake City developer sues county after road maintenance costs hit $100,000.

Authorities investigate pile of dead cattle on western Wisconsin farm

Local authorities and Xcel Energy differ on whether stray voltage was involved in deaths.

Review: 'A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father,' by David Maraniss

NONFICTION: An acclaimed biographer turns his gaze onto his own family, and his father's fervent political life.
Women gathered at the Karmel Village Apartments after two children fell from an apartment building at S. 28th and Pleasant Avenue Thursday May 2, 2019

Brothers fell 55 feet from roof, landed on patio, police say

They climbed over a barrier meant to prevent falls and plummeted from the roof of the building on Minneapolis' Midtown Greenway.
Minneapolis police officers and crime lab investigators looked over the scene after two children fell from an apartment building at S. 28th and Pleasa

Police: 2nd child in fall at Mpls. apartment is expected to live

Both children who fell were under the age of 4. They were taken to HCMC, with the death of one announced in the afternoon.
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, is charged with attempted first-degree premeditated murder in the attack at the Mall of America.

Boy thrown from MOA balcony is now 'alert and conscious'

Woodbury family says 5-year-old Landen is no longer in critical condition and could return home by June.
The front page of the current issue of the Warroad Pioneer features news of a proposed hotel along with a look at the school musical. The paper's last

Weekly newspaper in Warroad set to close after more than 120 years

Printing revenue, ad sales down for Warroad weekly.
Lawyer Stephen Tillitt spoke to reporters and read a statement on behalf of the family whose 5-year-old son was tossed over a third floor balcony insi

Family of boy injured at MOA will not confirm pastor's comments on his condition

Pastor said 5-year-old Landen shows "zero evidence" of brain damage.
SSP students Naomi Gedey, Hafsa Ahmad, Emiliano Granados and teacher Jessica Davis spoke before the board Monday night, seeking to wear sashes at grad

South St. Paul students lobby to wear ethnic-pride sashes at graduation

It’s not often that students outnumber adults at a school board meeting. But on Monday, more than two dozen teens turned out in South St.…

Police ID officers, victim in fatal Coon Rapids shooting

State authorities are examining body camera and drone video footage after Cass Lake man was killed during a traffic stop.
A man was arrested after throwing a 5-year-old child from a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America.

Boy hurt in MOA attack 'showing real signs of recovery'

The family of the 5-year-old boy who was thrown from a third floor balcony at the Mall of America says new test results are positive for the "miracle child," though he remains in intensive care.

Grand Rapids teen charged with murder, may be tried as adult

Police said he was found holding a knife next to dying woman.

Teen is suspect in fatal stabbing at Grand Rapids playground

A 20-year-old woman died in what police believe was a drug deal gone bad.
Lawyer Stephen Tillitt spoke to reporters and read a statement on behalf of the family whose five-year-old son was tossed over a third floor balcony i

Man accused in attack on 5-year-old boy at Mall of America appears in court

Boy's family says outpouring of support affirms "overall goodness of humanity."
The Mall of America in Bloomington. A man was charged Monday with attempted first-degree premeditated murder after throwing a 5-year-old child from a

Charges: Suspect in MOA attack was 'looking for someone to kill'

The suspect was "looking for someone to kill."
Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda

Man held after boy is thrown at MOA had been told to stay away

The 5-year-old, who was thrown or pushed from the third floor, initially was reported to be not breathing. Police said they could find no connection between the suspect and the boy and his family.
Members of the Jacobs family at the PACER Center's annual benefit in 2005. Alexandra and Irwin Jacobs, at right, were Patron Party co-chairs.

Irwin Jacobs shot his wife, then himself, officials confirm

The Hennepin County medical examiner listed the cause of death for both of them as "multiple gunshot wounds," and ruled Alexandra Jacobs' death a homicide and Irwin Jacobs' death a suicide.
Irwin Jacobs' estate in Orono.

Irwin Jacobs, wife found dead in what close friend calls murder-suicide

While Irwin Jacobs was widely known for his business dealings, Alexandra avoided the limelight that her husband often relished.
Whitey Skoog was a star basketball player for the Gophers before joining the Minneapolis Lakers. This photo is believed to be taken around 1950.

Gophers, Lakers, Gusties great Whitey Skoog dies at 92

The son of Norwegian immigrants, Skoog was a basketball star at Brainerd High School and the University of Minnesota, where he earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors.
John "Petey" Peterson went through some of his slides of the Minneapolis Lakers that he took in the early 1950's. This is Bud Grant from 1952.

In a battered case, a treasure trove from the NBA's first dynasty

Recently found among boxes of memories from 60 years as a photographer was a scarred case containing dozens of Minneapolis Lakers photos John Peterson took as a teenager.
Joan Buckley

Joan Buckley, who inspired generations of Concordia College students, dies at 88

Buckley taught American literature at the liberal arts college for 49 years.
Flood waters covered Hwy. 19 near Henderson, Minn. DAVID JOLES • With warmer temps starting to hit and even warmer temps

Massive flood in Minn. was 'sitting on our doorstep,' but kept at bay

State's swollen rivers could still flood if there is heavy rain in April.
The Polaris GEM is like an extreme golf cart.

From modest to luxurious, 3 electric cars that pleasantly surprised us

You probably think electric cars are for tree-huggers who wear sensible shoes, eat organic root vegetables and recycle their used bath water. Have you driven…
Two F-16s from the Minnesota Air National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing flew Thursday over Target Field in Minneapolis for Opening Day.

Moments, memories make for a magic opener for Twins fans

Nearly 40,000 turned out at Target Field and enjoyed a festive afternoon in downtown Minneapolis.
Jake Patterson left the courtroom after he pleaded guilty Wednesday during a hearing in Barron, Wis.

'Bye, Jayme': Closs kidnapper pleads guilty at dramatic hearing

The plea deal stipulates that Jake Patterson will not be charged with any offenses in Douglas County, where he held Jayme. The agreement means she won't have to testify at any trial.
In February, Jake Patterson appears for a brief hearing in Barron County Circuit Court in Barron.

Anger, anxiety grip Barron, Wis. as Jake Patterson returns to court

As the 21-year-old Patterson heads to court, many in Barron hope he pleads guilty, sparing Jayme Closs and her family a lengthy trial.
Crews erected an earthen levy to be topped with sheeting and sandbags.

Flood watchers get bird's-eye view of rising Minnesota River

Despite forecasts of the season's gradual, "perfect melt," people in the Minnesota River valley south of the Twin Cities are on edge.