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Mara Klecker

Reporter | Washington County
Phone: 612-673-4440
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Mara Klecker covers Washington County for the Star Tribune. She previously spent two years covering social services for the Omaha World-Herald. 

A native South Dakotan and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's journalism college, Klecker has always called the Midwest home. She's worked on journalism projects in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Nepal. In her free time, she can be found reading, hiking or planning her next international trip.
Recent content from Mara Klecker
Ryan Kulka

Kulka, Busse face off for Bloomington mayor

Busse looking at 'gutsy endeavors,' Kulka seeks rollback of regulations.
Bloomington Deputy Police Chief Mike Hartley

Bloomington police add tip line to report violent extremist behavior and mental health issues

Mental health concerns, extremist behavior can be reported anonymously.
Police union sells 'Cops for Trump' T-shirts, after uniform ban

Police union sells 'Cops for Trump' T-shirts, after uniform ban

Lt. Bob Kroll, head of the officers' union, posted the T-shirt image on his personal Facebook page, saying the shirts will be for sale starting Monday.
Police investigated the scene where one person and a child were found with gunshot wounds after a vehicle rollover, Sunday, Oct. 6, in St. Paul.

Man, 4-year-old boy shot in St. Paul found in overturned SUV

A man and a 4-year-old boy were shot as someone opened fire on their SUV, which then crashed and overturned in front of a St. Paul apartment complex Sunday night.
Hennepin Avenue is a popular destination for visitors during most weekends.

2 fatal shootings over weekend in the Twin Cities spark unease

Saturday night's shooting in Minneapolis continues a pattern of crime in downtown that is driving away some who used to frequent the area's bars, theaters and clubs.
The driving range at Hyland Greens Golf and Learning Center in Bloomington in 2016.

Minnesota PGA may take over Bloomington's Hyland Greens for state golf headquarters

Bloomington and the Minnesota PGA are considering a partnership
Volunteers Barb Gacek and Linda Ridlehuber on Sunday joined what is likely the first all-female operating crew on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line sinc

All-female crew honors history of Como-Harriet Streetcar's 'motorettes'

After donning their black “motorman” hats, the four women running the Como-Harriet Streetcar on Sunday evening lined up for a photo at the depot near…

'Community health' officer in Golden Valley focuses on help, not arrests

Golden Valley police aim for long-term follow-up after short-term encounters.
Bent Brewstillery in Roseville has popped up out of the taproom boom that has spread locally brewed porters, pilsners and hoppy ales across Minnesota.

Bloomington's charter puts the chill on taprooms, but voters might change that

The city's charter allows on-sale liquor and beer only in hotels, restaurants and clubs. An upcoming ballot question asks about lifting that.
Police sequestered an area where a police involved shooting occurred near North Griggs and Thomas Ave West in St. Paul.

St. Paul officer fatally shoots man who rammed squad car

The man got out of the vehicle and "initiated a physical confrontation," a police statement said. During the ensuing fight, the officer shot the man, who died at the scene.

Drop-in center for homeless young people to open in Cottage Grove

Site for homeless young people will be much like one that opened a year ago in a Stillwater church.
Heather Holm, right, a bee and pollinator expert from Minnetonka and member of Protect Our Minnetonka Parks, and Maureen Hackett, a local naturalist,

Minnetonka Council approves controversial mountain bike trail

The Minnetonka City Council approved a controversial mountain bike trail through Lone Lake Park on Monday night that some opponents fear will compromise habitat for…
Single family home construction is booming at the Kingston Fields development in Cottage Grove.

Home to farms, Cottage Grove sees growth along Woodbury border

The northern edge of Cottage Grove is being divided and developed into master-planned neighborhoods.
U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib will host a news conference Monday, Aug. 19, in St. Paul to address travel restrictions to Palestine and Israe

Omar, Tlaib will speak in St. Paul on Israel travel restrictions

Congresswomen barred from visit will speak at State Capitol.

Woodbury streets closed as crews work to stem a gas leak

Woodbury officials asked people to steer clear of the area as crews worked to shut off the gas.
The former St. Andrews Church has Romanesque features and other architectural details cherished by preservationists.

Demolition to begin today for former St. Andrew's Church in St. Paul

Neighbors and preservationists fought to save the church.

Stillwater dry cleaner challenging city's efforts to take property

Owners of Shorty Dry Cleaner don't believe the city's reasoning for the taking falls under public use or public purpose, as required by state law.

At Cottage Grove cemetery, fight over mementos reopens wounds

Newly enforced limits on mementos create a stir in Cottage Grove.
Minneapolis Police Sargent K.A Angerhofer and SWAT team members stood outside Target Field after the Twins game Sunday.

Minneapolis ramps up police presence as Minnesotans grapple with latest mass shootings

More police visible as many in Twin Cities voice fears
Nancy Edwards, shown in 2018.

Woman charged with illegally renting her dock in Orono will not go to trial

The city agreed to suspend prosecution of Nancy Edwards, 75, who has for years relied on income from renting out her boat dock along with her home.
Howard Bohanon

Howard Bohanon, a professional Santa, dies at 73

After decades of heart problems, Bohanon died of a heart attack July 24 at his Elk River home.
Brooke Eaton held 16-month-old Lola Bond, who received a heart donation from her son Cazmirr “Cash” Landers.

From one heart to another: Families of donor, recipient meet at last

In a rare reunion, a Minnesota family meets the mom of a boy who gave new life to a baby girl.
Some of the damage from Sunday's tornado outbreak was significant. Here's a look at the cleanup around Bone Lake in Scandia on Monday.

Those hit by tornadoes count their blessings with no one hurt

The EF0 and EF1 tornadoes left damage in their wake as four moved through Washington and McLeod counties in Minnesota, plus two in Wisconsin.

St. Croix Animal Friends to break ground on animal shelter in St. Croix County

For years, many stray animals picked up in Wisconsin have been transferred to Minnesota.
Bloomington resident Nick Niziolek, 17, canoed past a "floating island," in Winchester Pond, steps from his family's residence. The Niziolek family an

Bloomington neighborhood uses 'floating island' to clean up pond

Planted with beebalm, milkweed and native grasses, the island is essentially a man-made wetland that can help improve water quality.
Supporters hold a tribute to the former St. Andrew's Church in St. Paul on Sunday, July 21, 2019.

Group holds tribute to the former Como Park church they tried to save

A temporary restraining order preventing demolition of the 92-year-old building is set to expire at 2 p.m. Monday.
Keith Ellison is part of a 16-member group that will host talks. surrounding police encounters involving deadly force.

Ellison, other officials announce working group on police deadly force

Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington are set to announce a working group to discuss police-involved shootings. The group aims to…
June Fremont proudly saluted in the finely fitting Marine Corps uniform. For the annual Marine birthday ball in 2017, she wore a friend's jacket (thou

Meet a 97-year-old Woodbury resident who was one of the first female Marines

June Fremont joined up during WWII, shortly after the Marine Corps authorized a Women's Reserve in 1943.
Denise Pontrelli

Stillwater school board to explore separation agreement with superintendent

Concerns persist about compatibility and a 2016 consolidation decision.
Brooklyn Park’s 6,000 solar panels are spread across the city.

Brooklyn Park completes largest solar project of any Minnesota city

City facilities will run on sustainable energy and save $60K in first year.
Regional parks in the metro area, such as Minnehaha Regional Park, saw nearly 60 million visits in 2018, a record.

GPS data may help Met Council better understand park use

That data would offer more specific insights about how far visitors travel to reach a park and what areas of the park they are using, the director of regional planning said.
A person armed with an umbrella headed out into the rain along Main Street as a storm hits Thursday in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities will get a second

A hot and stormy week is ahead in the Twin Cities

Monday could bring a second round of the severe weather that warranted at least one tornado warning Sunday afternoon. Hot weather is also likely to…
Chris Eng, Washington County's economic development director.

Washington and Anoka Counties team up to market suburbs as Minnesota Technology Corridor

Effort aims to attract data centers, tech employers to two northeast metro counties.

Former University of Minnesota Duluth track athlete sues regents

Paige du Bois claims UMD punished her for supporting her coach.

Stillwater plans to use eminent domain to add downtown parking

City officials plan to add more parking spots and a municipal parking ramp.
Lakeland's Richard Glasgow

As Mayor Richard Glasgow stays away, Lakeland City Council seats two new council members

After disputes with mayor over how to fill vacancies, City Council is full again.
Standout Gophers wrestler Gable Steveson was arrested Saturday evening along with a second U athlete on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct, Minneapo

U wrestling star Steveson jailed on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct

Gable Steveson of Apple Valley, one of the nation's top heavyweight wrestlers, was arrested Saturday along with a second Gophers wrestler, Dylan Martinez. No charges have been filed yet.

Mediator reaches out to cities before politics become toxic

The League of Minnesota Cities aims to share best practices in governance and conflict resolution, which can reduce insurance claims made against cities.
Museum director Lynne Blomstrand Moratzka leads a tour of Gammelgarden, showing Swedish immigrant life, in August.

Scandia group proposing tourism upgrades, including arts and heritage center

Washington County town considers reconstructing a structure from its past.
Don Fraser

Ex-congressman, longtime Mpls. mayor Don Fraser dies at 95

Fraser was the mayor of Minneapolis from 1980 to 1993. He remains the longest serving mayor in the city's history.
The Rince Na Chroi Irish Dancers performed in the Grand Old Day 2019 Parade on Sunday.

After almost taking a hiatus, Grand Old Day was grand indeed

Thanks to determined neighbors and last-minute fundraising, the decades-old event happened as usual, with thousands of people walking up and down the popular St. Paul shopping and restaurant district.
The Stillwater Gazette, one of Minnesota’s oldest newspapers, will celebrate its 150th year of publishing in 2020.

Stillwater Gazette is returning downtown

Newspaper's move comes during revitalization of Main Street after opening of the St. Croix River bridge.
Crash followed police pursuit, closing down part of I-35E on Sunday

Crash followed police pursuit, closing down part of I-35E on Sunday

Several people were injured; the suspect was arrested.
Voters approved seven of 15 building referendums on Tuesday. The six that failed were all in greater Minnesota and totaled $250 million in building pr

Voters around Minnesota say yes to $539 million in school upgrades

Seven of the 15 building measures passed on Tuesday.
Dr. Thomas J. Stillwell

Flying doctor Tom Stillwell is remembered for finding 'human connection' delivering care by air

Last fall, Dr. Thomas Stillwell put in notice of his retirement from Minnesota Urology. He planned to fully retire in two years but in the…
Traffic backed up in the east metro after a crash Sunday.
Credit: MnDOT

Pickup veers onto I-694 shoulder, killing man next to his vehicle

A pickup truck veered onto the shoulder of Interstate 694 in Oakdale on Sunday morning, authorities said, striking a vehicle that had pulled over and killing its driver, who was standing outside the vehicle.
Lakeland city hall, as seen in 2013

Authorities renew call for tips about 2016 Lakeland city hall arson

Authorities are offering a reward for information on those responsible for a 2016 arson incident that destroyed the city hall building then under construction…

Prior Lake man dies from injuries while on vacation in Mexico

His brother said he had severe injuries.
St. Paul man killed in motorcycle accident near Maplewood

St. Paul man killed in motorcycle accident near Maplewood

Donald Nordquist, 68, was thrown off the motorcycle.
According to Police a Virginia woman handcuffed behind her back committed suicide by shooting herself through mouth.(Dreamtime/TNS) ORG XMIT: 1285234

Man fatally shot in Minneapolis' Warehouse District identified

Police said a disturbance between two groups may have escalated into gunfire.

Lakeland City Council meets, but it's still at odds

After four failed attempts in the past weeks, Lakeland’s City Council held a meeting Thursday. The special meeting, held at noon, ran for about two…

Lake Elmo sues neighborhood association over trail use

Officials say paved trails near Sunfish Lake were intended to be public.
Four-year-old Maren Haugen got her pink cowboy boots ready for a ride on Daisy the pony at a class at River Valley Riders in Afton.

Property and indoor arena allow Afton horse therapy program to grow

Afton nonprofit expands riding lessons with new indoor arena.
The Edina team, seen celebrating its victory

'Joy, cheering and definitely some tears': Edina robotics team celebrates national honor

It's the first time that a Minnesota team has won the national award.
Dmitri Moua, a junior in Roseville, along with Zachary Greenwald, a junior in Hopkins, opened the door for male dancers.

Boys allowed to join Minnesota high school dance teams

The Minnesota State High School League agreed to a settlement that will allow boys to compete beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
People attending the memorial service held candles during a moment of silence to remember the bombing victims.

'It's tragic': Dozens at Minneapolis Buddhist temple honor victims of Sri Lanka attack

On Sunday evening, more than 30 people gathered at the Minnesota Buddhist Vihara in north Minneapolis to send peaceful energy and blessings to the victims of the attacks in Sri Lanka.

Lakeland residents, officials divided over how to fill vacant City Council seat

is just the latest sign of dysfunction in the city, where more than 300 residents have signed a petition calling for an audit.
Fred Henderson, brother of the victim, and Tawana Henderson, his mother, held a photo of Mark E. Henderson Jr.

Woodbury reaches $1.5M settlement with mother of man killed by police

The settlement comes after a panel ruled last fall that a jury should hear the suit filed by the mother of the man fatally shot by police in a hostage crisis.
High School Principal Rob Bach took to YouTube to respond to the bathroom controversy.

Stillwater High students, principal go back and forth over locked bathrooms

School officials said the decision was made to curb vaping and vandalism, but students have launched a multifaceted campaign to "Let Us Pee."
If you remember last year, when Alfonso Velez plowed around cars in the 2100 block of Portland Avenue S. in Minneapolis, you might want to put that sh

April looks to deliver another record-breaking snowstorm

Major airlines, including Delta and United Airlines, already have issued weather waivers for flights on Wednesday and Thursday out of MSP.
A worker tried to clear snow and ice from the Metro Government Center Plaza station during a storm last April.

'That's it, I'm moving': Winter storm likely for Minnesota this week

Parts of the state could get over 6 inches of snow.
Tip-Off Tailgate
Nicollet Mall was transformed into a Final Four party with themed activities, decorations and a Ferris wheel.

Minnesota Madness begins countdown to the crown

Tens of thousands of basketball fans descended on the streets and skyways, reveling all day and into the night in Final Four fan activities that stretched from U.S. Bank Stadium to the Minneapolis Convention Center and along Nicollet Mall.
Hope House resident Carlin Jones, 52, has diabetes as well as HIV and cannot walk. He is among those living longer after becoming infected with the vi

After 25 years, Stillwater home focuses on aging with HIV

"Individuals with HIV now have to worry about that aging thing that you and I have to worry about," said Bill Tiedemann, Hope House's executive director. "So now for [Hope House] it's about how we can help them age in place with dignity and compassion and how we can take our mission outside the house's walls."
Sudais Omar, a student at Galtier Community School, one of the winning schools, read as part of the “Read to the Final Four.”

The youngest readers courted in this Final Four challenge

Final Four planners hope friendly reading challenge is just the beginning for budding readers.
Third grade teacher Chris Warner engaged his students in a book discussion during class at Marine Elementary School in Marine on St. Croix in January

Charter school won't be moving into Marine Elementary next fall

River Grove balked at moving to vacant school in Marine on St. Croix.
Members of the crime lab collected evidence from around the car where one man was shot to death and another wounded on 7th St. N heading into downtown

Driver shot dead in car, passenger wounded on edge of downtown Mpls.

Car flees after a driver is killed, passenger is critically injured while Twins game is played blocks away.
3M headquarters in Maplewood.

Lake Elmo to use 3M settlement money for new well

The city getting about $2 million toward the construction of replacement well.

Cottage Grove considers lodging tax, visitors bureau

A 3 percent tax on lodging would help boost tourism.
For Valerie Castile, working on the tool kit with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and others was a highly personal project.

Valerie Castile and John Choi create guidelines to reduce officer-involved shootings

Prosecutor and families collaborated on a guide to reduce police use of force.
Tom Anderson, 67, right, a student in the senior citizen education program who retired from 3M after a career in sales, sat in his nonfiction writing

More than 500 retirees taking classes at U — but not to earn a degree

Minnesotans 62-plus are heading to class through U's Senior Citizen Education Program
Josue Huerta of Service Restoration squeegeed a few inches of water from a flooded basement caused by rain and melting snow in the west-metro suburbs.

Rain, snowmelt creating 'perfect storm' for soggy basements

With much of the Twin Cities snowpack melting, the water has to go somewhere. For many homeowners, it's yet another mess from winter.
Working from memory and armed with shovels and picks, Minneapolis park keepers Jennifer Dennis and Ryan Susag have been working to clear drains packed

Rain, snowmelt get Minnesota scrambling to fight flooding

A steady, two-day rain expected to drench the knee-deep snowpack across much of Minnesota is raising flood concerns and sending crews to work to find a place for all that water.
Producer Alaina Myers ran the teleprompter for SWCTC’s “Weekly Wire” anchors Ann Schweisguth and Justin Atkinson.

Local public-access channels fear FCC proposal that threatens their future

FCC rule change poses threat to financial survival of service in many communities.
The ceiling section of darkening curtains is 55 percent complete at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis in preparation for the NCAA Final Four in early A

$4.6 million curtains going up to block sun at U.S. Bank Stadium

The fabric panels will be removed after the Final Four, but can be reinstalled for future events. Officials said they'll also help with concert acoustics.
Snowmobile crashes into power pole in Scott County, killing two

Snowmobile crashes into power pole in Scott County, killing two

Sheriff's Office says alcohol may have been a factor.