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John Reinan

Reporter | Region & State
Phone: 612-673-7402
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None
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
The gruesome death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind in August 2017 shocked Fargo.

Trial in brutal Savanna Greywind murder set to begin this week in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. – The grass has yet to grow thick and green on Savanna Greywind’s grave. Her headstone, tucked in a quiet corner of…
Rollag, Minn., is home to one of the world’s largest exhibitions of antique farm machinery. Attending the show is a total sensory experience, with c

Threshers reunion lures thousands to tiny town on Minnesota's prairie

The Western Minnesota Threshers Reunion offers steam-powered "heart and soul" in Rollag, Minn.
Hands at the ready, Wuollet Bakery's Doug Wuollet watched his 260-layer cake lean precipitously Friday in Winona, Minn. The cake held it together long

World-record layer cake teeters but doesn't topple in Winona celebration

WINONA, MINN. – An attempt at making a Guinness World Record was nearly derailed Friday morning when the star went off script. As scores…
After more than 20 years of laryngitis, the Happy Chef in Mankato has gotten his voice back. After buying the restaurant last year, owner Adrian Swale

The Happy Chef in Mankato is talking again, and he's got a lot to say

After two decades of silence, Happy Chef regains his voice.
Instead of building a new casino, the White Earth Nation will invest in its existing ones, such as the Shooting Star Casino.

White Earth Nation cancels proposed Otter Tail County casino

The proposed 270-acre complex, about 190 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, was planned for the shore of Star Lake.

Bridge over Leech Lake River closed after fire

The span suffered significant damage, officials said, and will remain closed until further notice.
Volunteers laid on a fresh coat of paint — pink, of course — after an extensive renovation including a new roof, siding, windows and foundation wo

Pink prairie schoolhouse near Waseca, Minn., is reborn after 136 years

Landmark near Waseca to be celebrated with book, ice cream social
Then-Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan, front, shown in 2012.

Victim of 'bizarre' harassment scheme sues Chisago County, former sheriff

In a federal lawsuit against Rick Duncan, Michelle Jacobson alleges a hostile work environment, emotional distress and sexual harassment.
A rare outbreak of potentially toxic blue-green algae has affected activities on the Thief River in northwest Minnesota.

Odd, potentially toxic algae infests western Minn. waters

Outbreaks of an unusual and potentially toxic blue-green algae have been reported in at least five western Minnesota counties, including in Maplewood State Park in…
The iconic Happy Chef statue in Mankato will soon be talking to visitors again, just as it did in the old days.

Mankato's iconic Happy Chef statue will speak again

The chef will join the 21st century with an electronics update shortly after Labor Day.
Minnesota’s minimum-wage workers will get a raise starting Jan. 1, state officials announced Thursday.

Statewide minimum wage in Minnesota set to go up Jan. 1

Adjustment for inflation will raise wages by 17 to 21 cents an hour.
The gates are open at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair.

'Single greatest party on planet Earth' is open for business

What fairgoers are really after, it turns out, is togetherness. Memories. And a sense of who they are as Minnesotans.
The YES House in Granite Falls, Minn.

Can art bring new life to a small town? Granite Falls, Minn., says YES

The city is turning a vacant downtown building into a creative hub.
Lindsay Whalen is part of a mural painted on the side of Security Coin & Pawn Shop in downtown Hutchinson, where she grew up.

From pawn shop mural to schools, Hutchinson cheers 'hometown sweetheart'

As news of Lindsay Whalen's retirement spread through her hometown, many stopped to pay tribute to the local girl who became an international sports star and never forgot her roots in a small Minnesota city.
Brothers Ryan and Robert Hlucny of the Greenbush Middle River robotics team cheer their score during competition at the world championship.

Filmmaker got 'in the zone' for documentary on robotics team from tiny Minn. town

"Small Town Robot" was inspired by the winning robotics team from tiny Greenbush, Minn.
Several Upper Midwest tribes are helping survey the land along the proposed replacement Enbridge Line 3 pipeline route to help identify artifacts and

Environmental groups file appeal over controversial northern Minnesota oil pipeline

Honor the Earth says the environmental assessment process was "arbitrary and capricious."
Andy Shea, a lawyer who helped keep the Twins in Minnesota, dies at 79

Andy Shea, a lawyer who helped keep the Twins in Minnesota, dies at 79

Andrew J. Shea may be best remembered as the brilliant attorney who came up with the winning legal strategy that kept Major League Baseball from killing off the Twins.
Gregory Scheel is seen in an undated photo provided by the Stearns County (Minn.) Jail. The Paynesville man has been charged with killing his grandpar

Paynesville man admits killing grandparents who took him in

Gregory Scheel pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

Boy's playground death in SW Minn. 'a tragic accident,' police say

The boy was found tangled in a playground swing Wednesday afternoon.

Lake Bemidji drowning victim identified as Cass Lake woman

The victim's body was recovered floating in the lake near the local tourist information office.

Woman's body recovered from Lake Bemidji

The caller reported seeing an object floating in the water near the tourist information center.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson

Olmsted County officers 'Twist and Shout' their way to big video views

Employees with the sheriff's office jumped into the Lip Sync Challenge by shaking their uniformed booties.

2nd Blue Earth football player pleads guilty in brutal beating of teammate

The victim received a concussion and later moved out of state.
Mike Allen made his way into his makeshift greenhouse that holds a swimming pool for his grandkids.

In Iron Range community, Navy vet's yard fuels never-ending battle with city

The latest skirmish was sparked by a Facebook post calling him a beer-drinking slob.
Doug Hennes

Doug Hennes, journalist and passionate St. Thomas advocate, dies at 63

Hennes, 63, died unexpectedly Thursday at his Mendota Heights home.
In a screengrab taken from video, Josh Hagen left the Thief River Falls City Council meeting on Tuesday after giving a statement and saying he was ste

Thief River Falls city officials charged after chair-swinging brawl

Witnesses said the City Council members "were acting like two children [in] a schoolyard."
Parker Mitchell and his friends took advantage of the rare opportunity to kayak down Hwy. 65, top and left. Anders Fix, right, rode his bike through t

Kids swim in the streets in Mora, Minn., the upside of a downpour

With no injuries or catastrophic damage, Mora, Minn., youth reveled in the weirdness of it all.
A utilities worker took in the flooding of the Des Moines River in Currie, Minn. The state is seeking federal disaster aid for 36 counties and one tri

Muggy Minn. summer sets records for heat and humidity

In the Twin Cities metro area, the first six weeks of summer have been the hottest and muggiest ever, the National Weather Service says.
Kimberly Jameson gave some attention to Spooky, left, and Cleo, Friday in her home. Cats, she said, gave her purpose when she got sober a decade ago.

Too many cats? Bitter battle over felines in southern Minnesota town

Officials in the town of Hartland are at odds with an animal lover over permits and licenses.
Bemidji’s Carnegie Library opened in 1910 and closed in 1961. Supporters have raised more than $2 million to transform the building into a community

Bemidji's library lovers ready to bring Carnegie library back to life

After 6 years and $2 million, future of Carnegie building seems safe
Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan in 2010.

Chisago sheriff resigns amid investigation into 'bizarre' scheme

Investigators say Rick Duncan admitted writing anonymous, threatening letters to coerce a female employee.
Hwy. 23 in Carlton County in northeastern Minnesota was washed out by heavy weekend rains.

Heavy rain washes out roads across NE Minn., NW Wis.; 1 killed

1 death reported in Wisconsin. Carlton County reports $350,000 in road damage. Earthen dam break leads to flash flooding in rural Douglas County.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Wabasha have reached an agreement to minimize the impact of Mississippi River dredging on the city.

Wabasha, Army Corps agree to new direction for disposal of Mississippi River sand

The new plan — which will take at least a year to finalize — calls for the city to create a material-handling facility at the Port of Wabasha.

Lawsuit alleges Faribault targeted Somalis with housing restrictions

In a letter, a lawyer representing the city vigorously denied the allegations, calling them "unsubstantiated, inaccurate and contrary to law."
In a new chapter in a long-running land dispute, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently took down the fence a landowner had erected ac

Battle over Minnesota lake access heats up as DNR takes down fence

Landowner charged as tensions rise over access.
Summer programs at Legionville have been canceled as workers hack away at the monster bog that grounded on the beach at the camp for Minnesota school

Monster bog on Brainerd lake forces cancellation of summer programs

Concerned for the safety of young campers, American Legion pulls the plug on summer programs at North Long Lake.

Son can sue dad over deer hunting accident, Minn. Supreme Court rules

Corey Ouradnik sued his father after falling out of a tree stand and breaking both legs.
Tonya Hurley and her husband Dale Hurley took a break from packing their belongings for an upcoming move after they attended the first plea hearing of

Parents of Blue Earth football beating victim tell of toll on family

Tonya and Dale Hurley have quit their jobs, and their 16-year-old son left school because of bullying. As the family packs a rental truck this week for a move to Nebraska, the couple's marriage is in tatters, too.
Members of the Greenbush Middle River robotics team with their championship medals. At center is their teacher and team advisor, Mary Anderson.

Small towns win big in Minnesota high school robotics

Greenbush Middle River Superintendent Tom Jerome praised the robotics competition for bringing out the best in students.
Workers are still trying to move the monster bog on North Long Lake near Brainerd. The bog grounded on the beach at Legionville, a summer camp for sch

Battle with the monster Brainerd bog isn't over yet

Workers say they'll cut the 8 million-pound giant down to size eventually. But for now, the floating mat of muck is still a formidable presence on a Brainerd-area lake.
At a news conference Tuesday, Faith Elsharkawy said her son Jacob killed himself after months of abuse at Chisago Lakes High School that school offici

Minnesota mother, Chisago Lakes School District dispute reasons behind 15-year-old's death

At issue: Whether thea 15-year-old Chisago Lakes High School student took his own life because he was bullied.
Volunteers attempted by land and lake to remove a large bog that terrorized north Long Lake last fall and grounded on the beach at Legionville, preven

Monster bog of Brainerd refuses to budge

In the ongoing struggle of man vs. nature, nature won by a knockout as a daylong effort to pull a floating mat of muck off shore failed.
There was no fishing on Jolly Ann Lake in Otter Tail County. A landowner in a property dispute with the state has blocked public access with a sturdy

Landowner's feud with DNR blocks lake access for fishing opener

There was one lake where they didn't catch anything, Jolly Ann Lake in Otter Tail County.
Ernest “Hod” Hutson flew 58 combat missions as a B-25 bomber pilot in World War II. Now 95 years old, Hutson took a flight in a restored B-25 on t

At age 95, heroic WWII pilot takes to the Minnesota sky in restored B-25 bomber

Seven decades after the Wisconsin farm boy's last combat mission, Ernest "Hod" Hutson says, "I feel like a kid again."
Downtown Sioux Falls, which provided fodder for “Our Towns.”Star Tribune file

Review: 'Our Towns,' by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows

NONFICTION: Writers James and Deborah Fallows crisscrossed the U.S., visiting small towns — and what they found gave them hope for America.
This pipe, carved by a Dakota chief, was sold for $40,000 to an anonymous bidder who is giving it back to the tribe.

Sacred Dakota peace pipe sells for $40,000 — and buyer gives it back to Minnesota tribe

An anonymous donor returned the sacred pipe, carved by a chief who was hanged after U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.
Sharon Patterson, a gym teacher at Kennedy Elementary School in Mankato, got her fourth-graders geared up and organized for a bike safety class.

Kid-powered transport grows as more than 150,000 Minnesota students get bike safety lessons

The statewide program is encouraging communities to make themselves more welcoming to bikers and walkers.
Kelli Briggs and her daughter, Gabby Shaul, 17, brought their belongings inside their home along with their Bernese mountain dog, Koda, 4, Friday morn

Superior refinery fire raged near chemical tanks with deadly risk

If a tank of hydrogen fluoride had been compromised, a "killing cloud" could have endangered 180,000 people.
Natalia Johnson, 12, right, and her sister Iley, 15, stood outside Amsoil Arena in Duluth with their 6-year old pug, Tucker, and some of their belongi

Superior, Wis., evacuation order lifted at 6 a.m., mayor says

The evacuation order, which followed a fire at an oil refinery, was lifted as of 6 a.m., the mayor said in a Facebook post.
The bodies of Gloria and Willie Scheel were found in their Toyota Prius in Kandiyohi County, officials said.

Paynesville grandson charged with first-degree murder in killing of grandparents

Gregory A. Scheel had a long criminal history before being charged with murder.
This photo provided by the South Padre Island Police Department shows Lois Riess, of Blooming Prairie, Minn., who was arrested by federal deputy marsh

Lois Riess' arrest in Texas eases the what-ifs, but not the whys

Lois Riess, 56, was in a Texas jail Friday, accused of killing her husband in late March and then heading to Florida, where she is charged in the death of a 59-year-old woman in Fort Myers Beach and stealing her identity.
Tess and Rod Koster returned to Blooming Prairie, Minn., from Florida on Thursday night just in time to find out Lois Riess had been captured in Texas

Using 'Stormy Liberty,' Riess sought Minn. friends in Florida

Tess and Rod Kosters of Blooming Prairie believe they're the reason Riess fled to Fort Myers Beach, Fla., where Riess allegedly killed one of their neighbors, 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson. And they feared they were next.
The fate of Lois Riess has kept the town of Blooming Prairie, Minn., on edge. “It’s what we talk about,” one local said.

For Blooming Prairie, murder manhunt leaves few answers

The Minnesota hometown of murder suspect Lois Riess can only guess what led to two killings, and residents are trying to make sense of it all.
Recent photos of Lois Riess, 56, of Blooming Prairie, Minn. Believed to be in Texas, she is now in the deaths of her husband and a Florida woman.

Video shows Minn. homicide suspect with victim in Florida brewery

The video shows Lois Riess chatting with a woman who was found shot to death four days later. Riess is suspected in the murder and is also alleged to have killed her husband in Minnesota before fleeing the state.
From left, Kyle Stauffenecker, Robert Hlucny, Steven Hlucny worked with a team from Granite City in a big regional robotics tournament at the Universi

'Hoosiers' with robots: Small towns play big in Minnesota high school robotics

A team from tiny Greenbush, Minn., regularly takes on the biggest schools in the state and the nation — and beats them.
Lutsen Mountains is hoping to nearly double its skiing terrain by expanding onto adjoining land owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

Lutsen Mountains ski area seeks to double in size, says survival is at stake

Family-owned North Shore attraction says it must grow to compete.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, partially visible and U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer present the Congressional Badge of Bravery to Jason Falconer, the Avon polic

Officer who stopped St. Cloud mall stabbing spree awarded Congressional Badge of Bravery

Jason Falconer was off duty when he shot and killed knife-wielding man at Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud.
Olivia, Pam Dowell’s 10-year-old cat, went missing last year. Her neighbor has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the cat’s death.

Man in northern Itasca County town admits cruelty to cats

The case of the missing cats set off a community dispute that ended this week when a man pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty.
Gustavus Adolphus campus in St. Peter, Minn., in 1998.

St. Peter, Minn., remembers devastating tornado 20 years later

The town rallied and rebuilt, and later this week will celebrate its resilience with a ceremony to thank those who helped the city recover.
The bodies of Gloria and Willie Scheel were found in their Toyota Prius in Kandiyohi County, officials said. The Paynesville, Minn., couple were repor

Grandson booked on 2 murder counts in deaths of couple called 'Paynesville royalty'

The bodies of Wilbert and Gloria Scheel were found Thursday in their car on a rural road. Their grandson is in custody.
John Knoblauch won a lawsuit against Hubbard County, ending a 40-year lakeshore battle that his late father started in the 1970s.

Bad smells are part of cabin life, rural Minn. garbage business says

Hubbard County business owners appeal fines, citing "sensibilities of vacationers."
Teaching artist Cheryl Henningsgaard of the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis led a remote class of preschoolers in Sunburg, Minn.

Online classes are beautiful music for rural Minnesota students

The MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis created a partnership program that allows districts to supplement their music offerings.
The Golden Arches have left Pelican Rapids, Minn., and residents there aren't lovin' it.

No more Big Macs in Pelican Rapids: McDonald's left town

"It leaves you with a hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach," mayor says.
Dennis Kujava (from left), his daughter, Denise, and his sister, Debbie, show off their lottery winnings. In a lump sum, after taxes, the family membe

Family from Badger, Minn., shares $22.8 million lottery jackpot

Brother-sister combo hits it big after playing for 20 years. "Most people wish on that for a whole lifetime."
Reigning world clown champion Edmund Khong (“Captain Dazzle”) of Singapore performed in a final round Tuesday at the Mall of America.

Send in the clowns? They're already in Bloomington for a worldwide convention

They take their work to heart, showing off their skills in parades and skits.
Winners of the Men’s Snowboard Cross SB-LL1 event from left gold medalist Mike Schultz of United States and bronze medalist Noah Elliott of United S

St. Cloud snowboarder wins Paralympic gold on artificial knee he created

If there's one thing that can top carrying the U.S. flag in an Olympics Opening Ceremony, it's winning a gold medal — on an artificial knee that you invented.
Red Lake Nation College, housed in a 45,000-square-foot building on the shore of Red Lake, is applying for and hoping to gain full accreditation by 20

Red Lake Nation College hopes to close 'education canyon'

School hopes to train a new generation of American Indian leaders
Kaelynn Gottwald, 10, laid down a card as she played a game of Uno with Angel Rios, 11, at right, and other friends after school as part of Healthy To

Willmar modeling a five-year, $2 million program to get 'healthy together'

Willmar is test site for $2M program that could spread through the state.

Woman shot by state trooper near Moorhead was wanted for kidnapping, police say

The woman, who is from Milwaukee, was also driving a stolen vehicle, police said.

Woman shot by state trooper near Moorhead was wanted for kidnapping, police say

The woman, who is from Milwaukee, was also driving a stolen vehicle, police said.

Woman shot by state trooper near Moorhead was wanted for kidnapping, police say

The woman, who is from Milwaukee, was also driving a stolen vehicle, police said.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Leah Weyandt talked with angler Darrin Stuhr of Eden Prairie about the upcoming deadlin

Minnesota DNR hits the lakes to tell anglers: Get your ice houses off

DNR officers are making the rounds of area lakes reminding anglers to remove icehouses before it's too late.
Advocates packed all three floors of the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda in St. Paul on Thursday during a rally calling for sensible gun laws sponsore

Gun violence protesters crowd Minn. Capitol, call for action

Minnesotans descend on Capitol to demand tougher laws to prevent gun violence, but Republican majorities show little interest.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Shane Bouvet, a campaign volunteer, in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, i

Trump's attacks on the FBI have Chisago County choosing sides

Trump's campaign against the FBI and the Department of Justice is rare for a U.S. president. Even his strongest Minnesota supporters say they wish he'd tone it down a bit.
Lin Strong, a director of the Chisago County Historical Society, showed artifacts that will be on display in the new headquarters in Lindström, Minn.

History is a booming business in Chisago County

After almost doubling its membership in the past 18 months, the Chisago County Historical Society is about ready to unveil its new headquarters.
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