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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
Dr. Erik Bostrom sews and embroiders blankets for every baby he delivers, including Reese Hietalati, held here by mom Lacie.

Rural Minnesota doctor sews a baby blanket for every newborn he delivers

Dr. Erik Bostrom of Aitkin isn't an obstetrician. But in rural hospitals, delivering babies is part of a family doctor's job. And for Bostrom, it's become his favorite part.
Kurt Eichenwald Brandon Thibodeaux • New York Times

Review: 'A Mind Unraveled,' by Kurt Eichenwald

NONFICTION: A former New York Times reporter tells his own story about living with seizures and suffering trauma — and nearly dying.
Jerry Hennessey

Ashby elevator manager fled state 'to get his head clear,' attorney says

Lawyer for man accused in $5 million theft said he never left the country.
Jerry Hennessey

Fugitive elevator manager from Ashby, Minn., turns himself in

Jerry Hennessey, who now faces a mail fraud count in federal court, told a friend he was "in big trouble" before fleeing to Iowa.

Woman alleges 'ritual sexual abuse' at Catholic school in Stearns County

Diocese of St. Cloud says the school, Holy Innocents', has no link to organized Catholic church.
The Ashby Grain Elevator looms above the downtown Main Street.

Big game, small town and a $5 million mystery in tiny Ashby, Minn.

Grain co-op's manager and money have disappeared.
The Closs family home in Barron, Wis.

A month after Closs vanished, feeling in hometown 'very dark'

Town and family struggle while investigators keep hope alive: "The motive isn't there. The reason isn't there. I wish, wish, wish every night before I go to bed that we find a clue."
Mankato mayor-elect Najwa Massad celebrated on election night with her husband, John, and grandson Johnnie.

She's fed Mankato for over 30 years; now she'll run it

Days after her election as Mankato’s first woman mayor, Najwa Massad wasn’t quite used to the idea. “It still seems kind of surreal,” Massad said…
Bob Naegele was majority owner and chairman of the Wild when the team was sold in 2008.

Bob Naegele Jr., key to bringing Wild to Minnesota, dies at 78

Naegele was the lead investor for a group that got an NHL expansion team in St. Paul for the 2000-01 season.
Young Jayna Kelley, with her mother, Robin Kelley, a teacher at Jayna’s elementary school, during the roadside cleanup on Saturday. The photo was ta

Driver who hit Scouts on Wis. road allegedly was 'huffing'

Officials say driver had been inhaling chemicals before getting behind the wheel. "There's a deep sadness in this town," says Chippewa Falls minister.

Wisconsin girl, 10, charged with killing baby in day care

She is charged with killing infant in home day care run by her foster parents.
Elizabeth Radichel (here with her mother, Alice) is among 250,000 Minnesotans who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

University of Minnesota professor begins statewide tour to shed light on Alzheimer's

Joseph Gaugler, who holds an endowed chair in long-term care and aging in the School of Public Health, said he hopes to visit all 87 counties.
A Wisconsin man is charged with breaking into the Closs family home, pictured earlier this month, on Saturday in Barron, Wis. AARON LAVINSKY • aaron

Police: Man broke into Jayme Closs' home and stole her clothing

Officials said suspect not linked to disappearance of 13-year-old Wisconsin girl.
Jeremiah Smith of Faribault, Minn., admitted to faking cancer and spending more than $23,000 raised for his medical bills on entertainment.

GoFundMe scams raise questions of whether more can be done

Online charity platform says it's safe; some see need for oversight.
A single casket was brought out after the service for the funeral for James and Denise Class.

Hundreds turn out to remember parents of missing Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs

Twelve days after the two were shot to death in their home, their 13-year-old daughter remains missing.
Jayme Closs, 13, has been missing since her parents were found dead in their Barron, Wisconsin, home.

Reward doubled to $50K for return of missing 13-year-old Jayme Closs

The funeral for her parents is set for Saturday afternoon.
Sandra Albrecht with seven of her 11 children in 1991, just before the family cloistered itself on a farm outside Montevideo.

Children fight back when abusive father steals their mother's gravestone

Montevideo, Minn. – As Sandra Albrecht turned 50, she moved out of town and dropped out of sight. Twenty-five years later, she died. During…

Manager still missing as losses near $5 million at Ashby, Minn., grain elevator

The co-op closed its doors Sept. 10, just as harvest season was getting underway.
Sonya Goins of Minneapolis plans to run the Medtronic TC 10 Sunday carrying an IV bag. “Everyone has baggage,” she joked.

Living on an IV bag, Minneapolis runner won't let Crohn's disease slow her down

Sonya Goins has been training for months to run the Medtronic TC 10 Mile race Sunday. And for nearly all that time, she's been living only on the fluids that dripped into her veins through an IV port.
Cedar waxwings like this one are among the few migratory birds that eat fruit, which has led to problems in Gilbert, Minn.

Birds are flying under the influence on the Iron Range

The town of Gilbert, Minn., was buzzing about erratic avian behavior. Turns out, the birds have been getting tipsy on fermented berries.
Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak watched Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins in a recorded statement during Friday's announcement that the city wi

Cross-country ski World Cup event coming to Twin Cities

Ski champ Jessie Diggins of Afton will perform before a home-state crowd at the first event held on U.S. snow in nearly 20 years.
Workers installed a pedestal for broadband service on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The band created a corporation to provide fiber-optic service.

Fond du Lac Indians are creating their own broadband provider

Chippewa band creates broadband firm to serve its reservation.

Millions allegedly stolen from Minn. grain elevator, spent on hunting safaris and taxidermy

General manager Jerry Hennessey disappeared two weeks ago just as authorities began looking into a major problem with the elevator's books.
The Faribault Municipal Airport was hammered by a storm that wrecked havoc across southeastern Minnesota on Thursday.

Storm that hit southern Minn. spun off as many as 6 tornadoes

Floodwaters, strong winds and tornadoes left a trail of damage.
“When’s the last time you had a popsicle?” Joy Culpepper said as she handed out popsicles at a grand opening for the Virtues Trail in Faribault,

Faribault celebrates the virtuous life with community effort to bring out its best

A group of residents felt that now was the time to encourage people to bring out the best in themselves. Thus was born Faribault's Virtues Project.
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.
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