Staff Directory 273043871

John Reinan

Reporter | Region & State
phone: 612-673-7402
John Reinan hails from Fergus Falls and has been a reporter at seven newspapers, from Alaska to Florida and points in between. He covers news in Greater Minnesota. He's also been a Star Tribune business reporter and metro reporter.
Recent content from John Reinan
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.
Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind's boyfriend Ashston Matheny holds their daughter, Haisley Jo, as victim impact statements are read during the sentencing o

Fargo woman was alive when baby was cut from womb, prosecutors say

One of two suspects was sentenced Friday to life in prison in the death of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind.
Bryan Mealer Photo by Wyatt McSpadden

Review: 'The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family's Search for the American Dream,' by Bryan Mealer

NONFICTION: Journalist's tale downplays historical context that would make it richer.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Anwatin Middle School principal Ellen Shulman and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held ceremonial check for $220 thousand awarded a

NFL gives Minneapolis middle school $220,000 for new athletic field

Anwatin Middle School in Minneapolis breaks ground on a new athletic field with $220,000 from Super Bowl sponsors
The Balgaard brothers, Brady, 12, Tayson, 10,and Max, 4, got a photo with Stefon Diggs at the Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Cent

Vikings fans dig chance to thank Stefon for miracle touchdown grab

It was the fans' first chance to see Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs since his miracle playoff catch, a walk-off touchdown grab against the New Orleans Saints that every Vikings rooter will remember for life.
The beating of their son has changed how Dale and Tonya Hurley feel about their hometown of Blue Earth and the people who live there.

Family of savagely beaten Blue Earth football player is moving out of state

Months after a local high school football player was allegedly beaten savagely by four of his teammates, the city of Blue Earth is still reeling.
With the completion of an “electrified” corridor, electric vehicles can find charging stations from the Twin Cities all the way north to Grand Mar

Electric vehicles now can charge all the way from Twin Cities to North Shore

Vehicles can now recharge to Grand Marais and beyond.
Promoting health
Mayor Jacob Frey and state Rep. Ilhan Omar joined students in a Zumba class at a new wellness hub at People’s Center Clinics & Serv

Super Bowl committee spreads the wealth with 52 community gifts in 52 weeks throughout Minnesota

Super Bowl Host Committee gives millions across Minnesota to build a lasting legacy.
Elisabeth Asbrink Photo by Eva Tedesjo

Review: '1947,' by Elisabeth Åsbrink

NONFICTION: Author shares family's story of persecution amid items about war's aftermath and Middle East.
Richard Holmes, foreground left, and Gavin Smith, right, reacted to a Eagles interception and run back of a Vikings pass for a first quarter touchdown

Vikings' drubbing deflates Thielen's hometown of Detroit Lakes

Fans in Detroit Lakes suffered through another big Vikings' loss - this one while watching one of their own.
Big donors “value that cross-disciplinary, problem-solving, big-picture thinking that they get at a place like Gustavus,” said the college’s Tom

Gustavus Adolphus College is landing 'transformative' donations

It's getting to the point where you wonder whether Gustavus Adolphus College would turn up its nose at a paltry $1 million gift.

KKK group from North Carolina is recruiting members on Iron Range

Recruiting effort met by outrage in three cities.
The Minnesota State Patrol investigates a two-vehicle crash Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, morning that sent a semi-trailer crashing into Lyle Public School

Runaway semi crashes through wall of school in southern Minnesota

Police said incident in Lyle, Minn., easily could have been much worse.
John Knoblauch won a lawsuit against Hubbard County, ending a 40-year lakeshore battle that his late father started in the 1970s.

Decades-long battle over lakeshore property ends with judge's scathing rebuke

The 40-year battle over garbage ended with sharp criticism of county officials.

Family seeks answers after man found dead in Willmar jail

Attorney says family will ask for a second autopsy.
Minnesota National Guardsman Jeff Kirkwold served two tours overseas before dying of a stroke in 2013. Now his mother is fighting for his reputation.

Mom of dead Minnesota soldier can't get answers on theft of his identity

Mother says her late son's identity has been stolen, but credit bureau isn't responding.
“She was the most wonderful person I had in my life,” Dorothy Kvitek said of her friend Deloris “Dee” Kenner (above).

Friend sheds light on rural Minnesota schools' $1 million benefactor

Three schools in Perham, Minn., got an unexpected Christmas gift from Deloris "Dee" Barnack Kenner. But why?
With thousands of Super Bowl fans encountering the skyway system in Minneapolis, plans are being made to help guide them.

Lost in the skyway? Super Bowl visitors will get some help

Planners for the big event are readying an army of volunteer guides and a specially designed phone navigation app.
A walker in the skyway near Target Field.

The good, the bad and the weird in Minneapolis skyways

Here is a guide from one veteran skywalker of the nearly 9 enclosed miles in downtown Minneapolis.
Deloris "Dee" Barnack Kenner, a retired nurse who died in 2015, left $1 million to schools in Minnesota.

Enigmatic donor leaves $1 million legacy to small-town Minn. schools

Little is known about the giver, a retired nurse with no children.
Just beyond the “No Trespassing” sign is Rick Chodek’s sturdy fence, which now blocks public access to Jolly Ann Lake near the town of Ashby.

Landowner's feud with DNR closes access to Otter Tail County lake

The latest shot in an ongoing battle between a local landowner and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was fired last month
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, Nov. 7, 2015.

Minnesota's new Senate duo prompts 'Tina and Amy' meme on social media

Twitter is thrilled by Minnesota's soon-to-be U.S. senator. Why? Three words: Tina and Amy.

Feds moving forward on plan to cut hours at two Minnesota border ports

Gov. Mark Dayton described the shorter hours at two ports of entry as "deplorable" and "ridiculous."
Brooke Crews pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit murder of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind and kidnap her baby during a hearing with her lawyer Steven M

Woman pleads guilty in Fargo murder, newborn kidnapping

The defendant's boyfriend is also charged in the case.
Some Fergus Falls shoppers left a message at their Target store, which is set to close in February. The company says it has never reversed a closing d

Fighting store closing, Fergus Falls hopes to keep Target interested in rural Minnesota

Store's fate is a warning to all of rural Minnesota, city leaders say.

Blue Earth football banquet cancelled after charges against 4 players

Charges that Blue Earth players beat a teammate prompted the decision.
Jack Peterson weighed in on the firing of Garrison Keillor while gathered with friends in Billy's Bar & Grill in downtown Anoka, Keillor's hometown, W

Minnesotans confess 'very turbulent feelings' over allegations against Garrison Keillor

In his hometown, a mix of shock and disappointment.

Authorities identify anglers who drowned in Upper Red Lake

They went through the ice on their ATV while fishing last weekend.

Blue Earth football players accused in attack played in state playoff game

Blue Earth district wanted more facts before discipline was considered.

Blue Earth seeks answers after 4 teens are charged in attack on teammate

Among the questions: What prompted the beating last month and why did it take so long to be investigated?
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