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
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…
Orono reviews event policy after complaints about Lorie Line recitals

Orono reviews event policy after complaints about Lorie Line recitals

When is a private party a special event? The city is reviewing its regulations after neighbors objected to pianist's recitals.
Hennepin County adds alternative community service for women

Hennepin County adds alternative community service for women

In its third year, program gives young mothers and women who are pregnant or disabled a new option for community service.
Dozens rally against plans to create joint Hennepin/Ramsey juvenile facility

Dozens rally against plans to create joint Hennepin/Ramsey juvenile facility

About 100 people disrupted a meeting in Richfield, holding signs with slogans such as "No Cages for Kids." The meeting ended with several people yelling.
Developer of old Dayton estate pays $5k after cutting 54 trees

Developer of old Dayton estate pays $5k after cutting 54 trees

In a rare step by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, a developer must pay $5,000 for violating a permit while developing the former shoreline estate of the late Douglas Dayton.
Herbert "Hippy" Wagner, idea man, apple grower and piemaker, dies at 91

Herbert "Hippy" Wagner, idea man, apple grower and piemaker, dies at 91

A hailstorm is credited with sparking Herbert Wagner’s most popular business idea. When a storm damaged the crop at his longtime orchard, Jim’s Apple Farm,…
Hennepin County to follow Sheriff's Office in automatically deleting e-mails sooner

Hennepin County to follow Sheriff's Office in automatically deleting e-mails sooner

The policy changes are raising concerns over what some view as shrinking transparency and the destruction of public data.
Hennepin County to give cities incentive to start organics recycling

Hennepin County to give cities incentive to start organics recycling

By 2020, Hennepin County plans to send more funding to cities in order to speed process.
Pet boarding gets plush in west metro, complete with flat-screen TV, spas

Pet boarding gets plush in west metro, complete with flat-screen TV, spas

Businesses appeal to dog owners who want to spare no cost to pamper their pooches, especially in west metro suburbs where pet spending and ownership is highest.
Hennepin County expands new frost sensors in west metro suburbs

Hennepin County expands new frost sensors in west metro suburbs

Hennepin County using devices to warn about problems in water pipes as weather cools.
Three Rivers District shifts plan to bring parks to the people

Three Rivers District shifts plan to bring parks to the people

The suburban park system is changing priorities from building up parks and amenities to bringing the massive system right to residents.
Number of kids waiting to be adopted in Hennepin Co. quadruples

Number of kids waiting to be adopted in Hennepin Co. quadruples

The jump follows increases systemwide, with jumps in child-protection reports to the county and children placed in foster care.
Database of deaths after police use of force in Minnesota since 2000

Database of deaths after police use of force in Minnesota since 2000

More than 140 people have died in forceful encounters with law enforcement in Minnesota since 2000.
Developer pitches turning vacant Four Seasons Mall into 'urban-type village'

Developer pitches turning vacant Four Seasons Mall into 'urban-type village'

Vacant Plymouth mall could become an "urban-type village."

Hennepin discussing $26M child protection plan that would add nearly 250 staffers

Hennepin County officials seek state aid for a new, $26M family-centered prevention system.
HCMC seeks a name change to HHMC, upsetting some county leaders

HCMC seeks a name change to HHMC, upsetting some county leaders

Hennepin County Medical Center is getting a new name to align it with the county's health care system, but not everyone thinks it's a smart move or necessary.

Election ushers in first-ever female majority on Hennepin County Board

The election of a mayor to the Hennepin County Board marked the first-ever female majority on the board, while a contentious race in one Lake…

Hennepin County shifts child protection mission with new model

As child abuse cases rise, Hennepin County Board is considering plan to prevent it.
Excelsior looks to add docks, revitalize Lake Minnetonka park

Excelsior looks to add docks, revitalize Lake Minnetonka park

The city is compiling feedback from numerous focus groups this month.
Medina City Council to vote on proposed luxury car condo building

Medina City Council to vote on proposed luxury car condo building

Medina council to vote on building for luxury vehicles.

Hennepin County Board slated to vote on 2.5 percent pay raise Tuesday

Hennepin County commissioners are scheduled to vote Tuesday on their own proposed pay raises for 2017 and 2018. The County Board will vote on a…
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