Staff Directory 101372379

Kelly Smith

Reporter | Hennepin County and West Metro Suburbs
phone: 612-673-4141
Kelly Smith covers west metro suburban cities including Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Excelsior, Osseo and Robbinsdale.
Recent content from Kelly Smith
Three Rivers Park District's camp for autistic kids grows in popularity

Three Rivers Park District's camp for autistic kids grows in popularity

It's part of the district's increasing efforts to reach people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, expanding its reach to people who may not traditionally use its parks.
Lake Minnetonka sailing center launches $4 million campaign to build new center

Lake Minnetonka sailing center launches $4 million campaign to build new center

State's only accredited sailing school wants to replace outdated building.
Therapeutic horseback riding program leaves Minnetonka after 35 years

Therapeutic horseback riding program leaves Minnetonka after 35 years

Program found a 'good match' in Medina after losing its land after nearly four decades.
New Lake Street building marks end to five-year, $80 million plan to decentralize Hennepin County services

New Lake Street building marks end to five-year, $80 million plan to decentralize Hennepin County services

Hennepin County opens last in a series of new human services centers
Group unveils $1M campaign to fight Super Bowl sex trafficking

Group unveils $1M campaign to fight Super Bowl sex trafficking

The effort brings together public and private sector, with input from survivors.
Maple-Grove-run gun range finds itself 'at capacity'

Maple-Grove-run gun range finds itself 'at capacity'

Some cities have municipal liquor stores, others own community centers. In Maple Grove, it's a city-owned gun range that draws crowds. The city hopes an $8 million investment will keep up with growing demand.
Wayzata hotel opens Saturday, the first on Lake Minnetonka in more than 50 years

Wayzata hotel opens Saturday, the first on Lake Minnetonka in more than 50 years

The opening of a Wayzata hotel recalls an era when the lake was a lodging hub.
Graduation marks major milestone for youth who overcame challenges

Graduation marks major milestone for youth who overcame challenges

Some of these teens and young adults have been homeless. Many are poor. What they share, statistically, is the unlikelihood of ever earning a high school diploma.
Hennepin County ramps up the hunt for foster families

Hennepin County ramps up the hunt for foster families

Urgent needs prompt Hennepin County to go digital with heart-tugging ads.
New Minnesota rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors on boats pushed to 2018

New Minnesota rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors on boats pushed to 2018

Availability of marine carbon monoxide detectors is an issue.
Chaska to pay family $1.75M for fatal police shooting on Hwy. 212

Chaska to pay family $1.75M for fatal police shooting on Hwy. 212

Dawn Pfister's family sued the city and officer after the 2014 shooting.
Minnesota boaters face a new regulation, speed rules for Memorial Day

Minnesota boaters face a new regulation, speed rules for Memorial Day

New law this year requires carbon monoxide detectors on boats with enclosed cabins.
Plymouth explores setting earlier bar close, penalizing Cowboy Jack's

Plymouth explores setting earlier bar close, penalizing Cowboy Jack's

The city says five DWI arrests so far this year involved people who drank at Cowboy Jack's.
Developer pitches turning Century Plaza on the edge of downtown Minneapolis into new offices

Developer pitches turning Century Plaza on the edge of downtown Minneapolis into new offices

Downtown Mpls. building slated to be sold for $9.4M and renovated into offices.
Target asks Minnetonka to delay vote on liquor store, mulls existing one

Target asks Minnetonka to delay vote on liquor store, mulls existing one

Target officials said they will look to buy an existing liquor store rather than add a new one.
After 5 years and $342M, Wayzata ending largest redevelopment project

After 5 years and $342M, Wayzata ending largest redevelopment project

Construction on the five-block project will end in June.

Bridge demolitions on Midtown Greenway to cause rerouting on Portland, Cedar avenues

Hennepin County will shut down sections of Portland and Cedar avenues on Monday to demolish the century-old bridges on those streets that cross the Midtown…
Crisis line could get cut without state funding

Crisis line could get cut without state funding

The operator of a statewide mental health phone service is preparing to cut back or shut down entirely unless the Legislature approves new funding.
Juliet Linder, Minneapolis nursing leader who consulted nationally on cardiac pacemakers, dies

Juliet Linder, Minneapolis nursing leader who consulted nationally on cardiac pacemakers, dies

It was her optimism amid a 25-year battle with multiple sclerosis that her friends and family say they'll remember most. She was 66.
Super Bowl group quietly plans sex trafficking prevention efforts

Super Bowl group quietly plans sex trafficking prevention efforts

A group is studying how to prevent abuse, raise awareness and help any victims.
Affordable housing crisis is hitting Eden Prairie families hard

Affordable housing crisis is hitting Eden Prairie families hard

In increasingly diverse Eden Prairie, Section 8 housing is in short supply.

Eden Prairie confronts affordable housing shortage as Somali families are squeezed out

Somali leaders estimate a third of East African residents have left the city.
Minnetonka Beach removes city's Planning Commission member who sued city

Minnetonka Beach removes city's Planning Commission member who sued city

Planning Commission member is suing over city fee and neighbor's patio.
Minnesota could mandate officer training for mental-illness calls

Minnesota could mandate officer training for mental-illness calls

State could mandate crisis training as police see more mental-illness-related calls.
Wayzata restaurant openings show a hunger to dine out in the suburbs

Wayzata restaurant openings show a hunger to dine out in the suburbs

So far this year, an estimated 700 new restaurant seats are coming in, and the boom shows no signs of slowing.
Hennepin County readies for $13 million child protection overhaul

Hennepin County readies for $13 million child protection overhaul

A year after stepping into the county's top human services role, Jennifer DeCubellis is leading the most dramatic reform of the child protection system in Minnesota.
Hennepin County puts 1930s-era Century Plaza up for sale with no price

Hennepin County puts 1930s-era Century Plaza up for sale with no price

The county is moving out of the former vocational high school by May.

Minnesota boosts state grants for law enforcement to fight sex trafficking

Nearly $800,000 given out ahead of Super Bowl.
Wayzata to move cellphone equipment from neighborhood park to middle school, pitting neighborhoods against each other

Wayzata to move cellphone equipment from neighborhood park to middle school, pitting neighborhoods against each other

The City Council recently approved the move from a water tower in Klapprich Park to a new monopole tower by a ballfield at West Middle School.
Hennepin County fund dwindles to lowest level in recent history

Hennepin County fund dwindles to lowest level in recent history

Some leaders concerned about the amount in the rainy day fund; others see it as a positive.

New Hennepin County pilot program boosts staff investigating, prosecuting youth sex trafficking

A new prosecutor and investigator are expected to start work in the spring.
Orono debates tightening rules for special events after Lorie Line shows

Orono debates tightening rules for special events after Lorie Line shows

The proposal would require a special event permit for a home that hosts four or more such events a year.
SWLRT critics say Minnehaha watershed had conflict of interest in permit approval

SWLRT critics say Minnehaha watershed had conflict of interest in permit approval

Minnehaha Creek agency is accused of conflict of interest over land sale.
Spring is almost here: Mississippi opens for navigation; area lakes ice-out

Spring is almost here: Mississippi opens for navigation; area lakes ice-out

Early ice-outs across metro are setting records after warm winter
Indian families in Minnesota are on edge after U.S. attacks

Indian families in Minnesota are on edge after U.S. attacks

About 200 residents last weekend held a peace vigil in Eden Prairie to remember two Indian computer engineers shot last month in a Kansas bar.
San Diego draws beer tourism as 'beercations' grow in popularity

San Diego draws beer tourism as 'beercations' grow in popularity

With 130 breweries and growing, San Diego draws ever more beer tourists.
Hennepin County medical examiner's office pursues relocating from downtown Minneapolis to Minnetonka

Hennepin County medical examiner's office pursues relocating from downtown Minneapolis to Minnetonka

A proposed $58 million facility, also serving Dakota and Scott counties, could be built east of the county's Home School.
$2.3 million sought at Legislature for young sex trafficking victims

$2.3 million sought at Legislature for young sex trafficking victims

Bill would continue to add services, including outreach workers, shelter beds.
After uproar from veterans, Orono keeps docks at Big Island

After uproar from veterans, Orono keeps docks at Big Island

Veterans still want to see a long-term solution to accessibility to the island.
HCMC, Nice Ride partner on new program to help people with mental illness by providing free bikes

HCMC, Nice Ride partner on new program to help people with mental illness by providing free bikes

The innovative effort starts its second year on April 1.
New Hennepin County pilot program uses small businesses to renovate tax-forfeited homes

New Hennepin County pilot program uses small businesses to renovate tax-forfeited homes

The program, estimated to cost $1.2 million, aims to give small businesses experience on larger projects, and put women- and minority-owned companies to work.

Minnesota veterans want Orono to keep the Big Island docks

Veterans, disability advocates asking city leaders to reverse decision.
So long, surface lots: Parking areas redeveloped in Twin Cities suburbs

So long, surface lots: Parking areas redeveloped in Twin Cities suburbs

Driven by high land prices, they're being turned into retail, offices and housing.
Hennepin County jury pool goes from basement to new 'penthouse'

Hennepin County jury pool goes from basement to new 'penthouse'

Hennepin County wanted a more inviting, comfortable place for potential jurors to wait.
Major Mpls. routes to be shut down for bridge work on Portland, Cedar Avs.

Major Mpls. routes to be shut down for bridge work on Portland, Cedar Avs.

West metro commuters will have to endure yet another major disruption this year, when sections of two busy roads in south Minneapolis — Portland and Cedar avenues — close this spring to allow Hennepin County to replace aging bridges across the Midtown Greenway.
Minnesota State picks none of the above for new chancellor, continuing search for permanent top leader

Minnesota State picks none of the above for new chancellor, continuing search for permanent top leader

Board turns to interim Metro State president while it seeks "the right individual."
Hennepin County Library posts messages that 'all are welcome here'

Hennepin County Library posts messages that 'all are welcome here'

Hennepin director says libraries have a history of responding to events.

Hennepin County looks to increase staff to prosecute, investigate sex trafficking

Funds sought to beef up county attorney's, sheriff's offices.
Hennepin County sees drop in 'repeat users' of shelters after boosting services

Hennepin County sees drop in 'repeat users' of shelters after boosting services

Pilot program to break cycle of homelessness showing promise in Hennepin County.
New study shows that fight against invasive plant is more complicated

New study shows that fight against invasive plant is more complicated

Researchers hope the study results Wednesday will help Minnesota lakes better combat spread of milfoil.
From farmers markets to Surly Brewery, baker turns bread into dough

From farmers markets to Surly Brewery, baker turns bread into dough

Joachim Berndt turned a hobby into a booming business in northeast Mpls.
Eden Prairie museum showcases aviation history year-round

Eden Prairie museum showcases aviation history year-round

The location, which will celebrate its second year, already has expanded.
Hennepin County leads state in 24/7 child protection response

Hennepin County leads state in 24/7 child protection response

Following a state mandate, Hennepin social workers now respond quickly to abuse calls.
New hotels coming to Plymouth as part of 'urban-type village'

New hotels coming to Plymouth as part of 'urban-type village'

Project will be built on the old Four Seasons Mall site.
After criticism, Orono starts videotaping planning meetings

After criticism, Orono starts videotaping planning meetings

New members discard privacy concerns for transparency at city planning meetings.
From St. Paul to Excelsior, more cities rely on conservancies to fund public parks

From St. Paul to Excelsior, more cities rely on conservancies to fund public parks

According to a 2015 report, nearly half the nation's top 100 cities now have conservancies that are often driven by financial need.
Hennepin County to pay off Target Field debt a decade early

Hennepin County to pay off Target Field debt a decade early

County hopes to clear loan by 2027 instead of 2037.

Some Wells Fargo mortgage customers in Hennepin County surprised by tax notice

A mix-up by Wells Fargo startles about 40 mortgage customers throughout Hennepin County.
Suit filed over couple's fatal shooting on Hwy. 212 accuses police of colluding

Suit filed over couple's fatal shooting on Hwy. 212 accuses police of colluding

City, BCA deny collusion in '14 shooting case review.
Coins tossed into Hennepin County Government Center pool aren't just for wishes

Coins tossed into Hennepin County Government Center pool aren't just for wishes

Four times a year, crews clean out the reflecting pool in the center of the government center's skyway level and collect the coins, donating the money to local charities.
Nation's largest Hindu temple has big plans for 60 acres in Maple Grove

Nation's largest Hindu temple has big plans for 60 acres in Maple Grove

Preliminary plans include senior housing, a community center, yoga retreat center and cottages, education center and outdoor recreation to be built next to the Hindu temple, considered the largest in the nation.
Sun Country organics program aims to make flights greener

Sun Country organics program aims to make flights greener

Airline might be the first in country to compost and recycle food waste.
Randy Johnson, longest-serving Hennepin County commissioner, retires

Randy Johnson, longest-serving Hennepin County commissioner, retires

Randy Johnson leaving Hennepin County after almost 40 years
Stepped-up enforcement barely slows boating fatalities

Stepped-up enforcement barely slows boating fatalities

In 2016, 17 people died on the water despite ramped-up enforcement.
Gusting winds prompt travel warnings, delays at MSP

Gusting winds prompt travel warnings, delays at MSP

The National Weather Service says winds will gust over 60 mph in southwestern Minnesota, and no travel is advised in far northwestern Minnesota. MSP is also experiencing significant delays.

Sleeping taxi driver alerted to Mpls. car fire

Grumbling and confused, man woke and left the vehicle just before it went up in flames.
Travel unadvised on parts of I-94 northwest of Twin Cities

Travel unadvised on parts of I-94 northwest of Twin Cities

After freezing rain, the metro area is expected to get a thunderstorm this afternoon.
Lake Minnetonka to host pond hockey tournament for 5th year — no matter what Mother Nature does

Lake Minnetonka to host pond hockey tournament for 5th year — no matter what Mother Nature does

Lake Minnetonka event has been altered by warm temps in past.
Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office moving to suburbs

Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office moving to suburbs

A larger facility will meet Hennepin Co. demands.

Family sues cities, MnDOT over pedestrian's death

Alberta Geist was hit in 2013; her family says the crosswalk was poorly lit.
Hennepin County elections manager saw no technological glitches in a record-setting 2016

Hennepin County elections manager saw no technological glitches in a record-setting 2016

Election 2016 is barely in the books, and Ginny Gelms is already preparing for the next one. Gelms, who manages Hennepin County’s elections, is planning…

Ramsey, Hennepin counties take joint facility for juveniles off the table

The counties will now focus on improving their own facilities while working together on youth programming.
Funeral honors 3 in family killed in wrong-way I-494 crash; 2 still in serious condition

Funeral honors 3 in family killed in wrong-way I-494 crash; 2 still in serious condition

Boy, mom, grandma in car hit by wrong-way driver.

Twin Cities counties approve 2017 budgets, all with tax levy hikes

Hennepin County leads with a 4.5 percent increase.

Hennepin County Board consolidates Sheriff's Office, county IT staff

Hennepin County is moving the Sheriff’s Office information technology, or IT, staff to county jurisdiction. The change will transfer 17 staffers from the Sheriff’s Office…
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