Staff Directory 10645991

Mary Lynn Smith

Reporter | Metro
Phone: 612-673-4788
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Mary Lynn Smith is a general assignment reporter for the Star Tribune. She previously covered St. Paul City Hall and Ramsey County. Before that, she worked in Duluth where she covered local and state government and business. She frequently has written about the outdoors.


After graduating with a master's degree in public affairs reporting, the Chicago native moved to Minnesota and fell in love with the outdoors despite being a Girl Scout dropout. Smith became an avid long-distance runner and cross-country skier, keeping her fit so she could backpack in the mountains and paddle the BWCA and Quetico wilderness areas with her husband and three children. Now that her daughters are adults, she gives them the heavier packs.
Recent content from Mary Lynn Smith
Wolf researcher Austin Homkes stood next to the largest jack pine in the United States, which is in Voyageurs National Park along the Namakan Lake sho

Northern Minnesota jack pine is the largest in the United States

The tree along the Namakan Lake shoreline in Voyageurs National Park makes Minnesota the home to four of the 783 national champions and co-champions.
A 2018 DFL precinct caucus meeting in Eden Prairie in February.

Minnesota officials thinking about mail-only ballots for 2020 presidential primary

Backers of the mail-only ballot say it will make it easier to administer the election.
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.
Boynton Health at the University of Minnesota conducts a survey every three years to help the student health service address key concerns affecting st

Rising number of University of Minnesota students report mental health concerns

That makes it the top health issue on campus, according to a student survey released this week.
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."
Wild Rumpus Bookstore owner Tom Braun in the Linden Hills landmark in 2010.

Tom Braun, who co-founded whimsical Wild Rumpus bookstore in Minneapolis, dies at 74

Creative and talented, Braun always had a thousand ideas, those who knew him said.

Fergus Falls man charged with second-degree murder in shooting at mother's home

The 29-year-old man is in jail after allegedly shooting a man in his mother's home in Audubon, Minn.

Becker County man jailed in Audubon death

Authorities say there is no threat to the public.
Alatus released this rendering of the Rice Creek Commons business area as it began to redevelop the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site in A

Ramsey County, Arden Hills at odds over ammo plant project

County negotiators called for a pause in hopes of returning to negotiations later.
Terrence "Terry" Brisk

Shooting death of Little Falls deer hunter remains a mystery

The family of Terry Brisk is desperate for answers in his 2016 death.
Tara Reitan, left, and Bridget Reiter hugged before going into the funeral for Haylee Hickle today in Chippewa Falls, Wis. Reitan had babysat for Hayl

'Your world has been stolen': Girl Scouts, mother laid to rest

The four victims of last weekend's horrific hit-and-run crash along a highway in northwestern Wisconsin will be laid to rest over the next two days.
Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.

Carleton College gets major boost from single $50 million donation

The alumni donation gets college's $400 million fundraising drive off to a strong start.
Andrew Goette, flanked by wife Ashley, cradled their 4-day-old son Lennon Andrew.

Minnesota man beats death, then gets to hold his newborn son

When Ashley Goette stood over her husband Andrew's lifeless body and pushed down on his chest, he was 28 -- and she was 39 weeks pregnant.
Jayme Closs, 13, has been missing since her parents were found dead in their Barron, Wisconsin, home.

911 call log: Officers found door kicked in, parents' bodies, no Jayme

Officials renew efforts in search for Wis. teen whose parents were murdered.
People search along Highway 8 near Barron, Wisconsin, for signs of Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old girl who has been missing since early Monday, after he

Dozens of volunteers help in search for missing Wis. teen

Despite the turnout of about 100 volunteers, Thursday's ground search ended in frustration.
Brainerd’s historic water tower, seen in 1952, has been called Paul Bunyan’s flashlight. It was decommissioned in 1958.

The push to save Brainerd's landmark water tower begins

The clock is ticking on whether Brainerd’s landmark water tower can be saved. A citizen committee has about two years to cobble together enough donations…

Trying to flee the law in St. Paul, man jumps from eighth-floor window

The 27-year-old Bloomington man survived the fall but is now headed to jail.

Minnesota National Guard helps with hurricane relief efforts in Florida

Six soldiers and a helicopter will head to Florida as it recovers from the Category 4 hurricane.

Minnesota Red Cross aids hurricane relief efforts

The Red Cross also said it's in need of blood donations from around the nation.

Physical therapist can't turn back time, but helps runners slow it down

As people age, they lose lean muscle mass, flexibility and cardiovascular ability.
Mick Stephens made his way around Lake of the Isles during a morning run. Stephens, a longtime marathoner, had both knees replaced and is back on the

Aging yet active, baby boomers test the limits of artificial joints

For many in a generation hooked on running and recreational sports, artificial joints are a godsend.
'Daddy! I found a sword!' Minnesota girl pulls 1,500-year-old pre-Viking era artifact from Swedish lake

'Daddy! I found a sword!' Minnesota girl pulls 1,500-year-old pre-Viking era artifact from Swedish lake

Saga Vanecek found the sword after stepping on what she thought was a stick.
Diane Page, shown in 2017, held a White House brick made by slaves that is part of her and her husband Alan Page's collection of African American art,

Philanthropist Diane Sims Page, wife of Alan Page, dies at 74

She made a name in her own right helping "execute a lot of Alan's wishes and dreams."
Former Scott County Commissioner Joe Wagner

Minnesota funeral home cited for storing applesauce in embalming room

Mortuary lost appeal after being cited for a dozen violations.
FILE - In this June 9, 2014 file photo is a sculpture portraying a wounded soldier being helped on the grounds of the Minneapolis VA Hospital.

Minneapolis VA cited for failures in connection with vet's suicide

Officials are seeking ways to minimize gaps in care.

Deputy shot with arrow; suspect in custody after Sauk Centre standoff

The deputy, who was shot in the arm, suffered noncritical injuries.
A veterinarian at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota held a Little Brown Myotis bat.

Minnesota health officials seek woman who dropped off rabid bats

Health officials need more information about where dead bats were found.
Eric Fryman, left, Annaliese, 5 (in Eric's arms) Jansen,3, held by Cari Mews, Kyra 9, in front. Fryman and the children are dead after their kayak cap

Dad, 3 children likely suffered hypothermia when they died in Lake Superior

Sheriff issues preliminary findings; additional test results awaited.
Even though the weather was cloudy and muggy, a decent crowd gathered for the last day of the Minnesota State Fair on Monday, Sept. 3, 3018. The fair

Fair breaks attendance record, surpasses 2M for first time

Over the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair, 2,046,533 fairgoers streamed through the gates.
Eric Fryman, left, Annaliese, 5 (in Eric's arms) Jansen,3, held by Cari Mews, Kyra 9, in front. Fryman and the children are dead after their kayak cap

A light on a dark Lake Superior led to sole kayak survivor

A young mother from Wisconsin was pulled from the water after her family's kayak capsized. Three children and their father died.
A 911 operator answers emergency calls at a Minneapolis dispatch center.

Human error led to 911 outage in Minnesota, two other states

No serious incidents were reported during the hourlong disruption.
Joseph Gomm

Stillwater prison still in partial lockdown four weeks after corrections officer killed

Corrections officials dispute complaints about inhumane conditions.
Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt spoke about his surprise about the ICE raid and his frustration with the media coverage not being entirely accurate

Big Minnesota pork producer 'surprised' by immigration raids

Christensen Farms says third-party vendor may have hired illegal workers.

Corrections officer in St. Cloud assaulted

An inmate who had just been through intake elbowed him in the face, authorities say.
Starry stonewort can be hard to identify; its dense mats compete with native plants.

Invasive algae infests first Twin Cities lake

Medicine Lake infested with starry stonewort.
Doug Arneson became emotional while talking about his uncle, Navy Cmdr. John Micheel, who was shot down during the Korean War. At left is a painting o

65 years after pilot vanished, family hopes for answers

Repatriation of Korean War remains renews Minnesota nephew's hopes.
A 911 operator answers emergency calls at a Minneapolis dispatch center.

Cause of 911 call disruption remains a mystery

The afternoon outage hit police and county law enforcement departments across the Twin Cities metro area and around Minnesota. Officials are sharing alternative numbers to call in case of emergency.
Pallbearers carried the body of correction officer Joseph Gomm to his gravesite at Roselawn Cemetery in Roseville on Thursday.

'We're family': Slain corrections officer is saluted by thousands

"I think everyone feels this loss," Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen said of the killing of Joseph Gomm at Stillwater prison.
A whitetail buck kept a close eye on the photographer as he approached through the woods near Duluth.

First-ever Minn. deer management plan is 'delicate balancing act'

The 10-year plan is designed to provide more transparency, balance interests.
A fight over public breast feeding in the kiddie pool at the Mora Aquatic Center raised hackles and a call for a “nurse-in” at the municipal pool.

Police called over breast-feeding brouhaha at Minnesota pool

Cops called in over dispute over nursing in the kiddie pool.
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy spoke Thursday as Washington County Attorney Pete Orput stood next to him.

Stillwater inmate accused in corrections officer's death had run-ins

Prosecutors said they are awaiting end of BCA investigation before deciding on charges against inmate.
The scene of an officer-involved shooting in Chanhassen on Friday that left a Minnetonka High School student dead.

Carver Co. releases 911 transcript in fatal police shooting, deputies' info

One deputy's personnel information includes four disciplinary actions and several awards.

Video prompts probe into police handcuffing black teens in Mpls. park

Police are investigating the validity of the 911 call that prompted the incident.
The Vikings surprised Millie Wall by sending her some tickets to her first playoff game for her upcoming 100th birthday.

Vikings superfan Millie Wall celebrates 100 years

As birthday wishes rolled, she's betting on the Vikings again.
The Minnesota State Patrol shared this photo online Tuesday, July 3, 2018, along with a warning to drivers to be careful of roadways covered in water.

Rain, wind and oppressive heat hitting Minnesota

High winds, hail and rising waters smacked parts of Minnesota Tuesday, washing out roads and flooding homes, while the threat of more rain on Wednesday…
Patricia Torres Ray; state senator, District 62; DFL; Minneapolis; 2006

8 arrested in Bloomington during immigration protest

Protesters rallied outside General Dynamics Mission Systems' office for its role in the federal immigration crackdown.
A protester holds a sign outside a closed gate at the Port of Entry facility, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Fabens, Texas, where tent shelters are being

Migrant children separated from parents start to arrive in state

The first in an expected surge of unaccompanied minors, forcibly removed from their parents, are making their way to distant relatives in Minnesota and surrounding states.
The March to Protect Children and Families Wednesday made its way down E. 7th Street in St. Paul toward City Hall.

Despite Trump's reversal, Minn. activists say fight over immigration policies isn't over

The battle of over separating immigrant children from their parents may be over but Minnesota activists and others say the bigger fight over proposed immigration reforms and policies is still on.
Edward Fletcher

Scientist and professor Edward Fletcher dies at 93

Edward Fletcher was a rocket scientist — until he saw more possibilities in the sun. Now generations of solar scientists are following in the footsteps…
Minnesota State Patrol investigated the scene where a motorist being pursued by the State Patrol veered into a Minneapolis school playground and hit a

Mike Freeman questions chase that ended with SUV hitting 3 kids on Minneapolis playground

The motorist allegedly ran nearly two dozen stop signs while pursued. "Residential streets just aren't made for people driving 80 mph," the Hennepin County attorney said.
Minnesota State Patrol investigated the scene where a motorist being pursued by the State Patrol veered into a Minneapolis school playground and hit a

Driver who hit kids on Mpls. playground hasn't had valid license for years

The motorist remains jailed as charges are pending.
Some of Barron’s offspring, left to right: Connie Hoye, Candi Gardner-Hoyt, Lori Stangl, Dena Simon, and Shelia Jenkins.

Dad who fathered kids around country has offspring tracking 'Johnny Appleseed'

He traveled coast to coast and "didn't go very long before impregnating somebody," said one daughter.
Childhood abuse survivor Jamie Heutmaker embraced bankruptcy attorney Brittany Michael after Thursday's news conference detailing the settlement reach

$210M settlement was long time coming for clergy abuse victims

For many, the announcement was closure as they continue to heal their scars of emotional trauma.
A passerby takes cell phone photos of the aftermath of a three-alarm fire at Lake Street and Chicago Avenue.

Cause of fire that destroyed Minneapolis artist hub is undetermined

Building was too heavily damaged to allow crews inside to investigate.
Seven of the roughly 100 ticks picked off two dogs during a trip to Glacial Lakes State Park in Minnesota.

Beware: In Minnesota, ticks are lying in wait for you

It may just be an average season for ticks. But one icky tick may be one too many.
Three men fishing where Minnehaha Creek meets the Mississippi River clung to safety after escaping a deluge of water during Thursday night's storm.

Rising water in Mpls. culvert 'came out of nowhere,' say men who held on for dear life

Park police on duty knew the Minnehaha Falls area and found the three — still gripping the gate.
David and Elizabeth Weinlick were married at the Mall of America in 1998 after David's friends chose Elizabeth from among women who entered a contest

'Greatest love story' began with arranged marriage at Mall of America, ended too soon

Colon cancer claims David Weinlick, whose friends picked the bride for the 1998 wedding at the Mall of America.

Wood chipper piece flies off, killing tree trimmer in Richfield

The man reportedly was struck in the head by a piece of metal.
In 2010 some Leech Lake Chippewa band members set nets in Lake Bemidji the day before Minnesota's walleye and northern pike seasons began.

Tribal protest planned before Minnesota's fishing opener

The protest is sparked by Chippewa tribal members' opposition to an oil pipeline in northern Minnesota.
In 2017, protesters performed and sang songs in front of Derham Hall opposing cuts to the music and theater programs at St. Catherine University in St

St. Kate's expects to cut about 50 faculty, staff members

University officials have not yet decided where the cuts will be made.
NWS fire danger map

Most of Minnesota is under a warning for possible wildfires

The red flag warning for most of the state is in effect for Friday until 7 p.m.
Paul Pyykkonen, left, with Todd Sandberg, the man who launched the Pedals for Paul GoFundMe campaign to buy a new bicycle for Paul.

Minnesota man in need of a bike draws a community together

"The community loves Paul so much," said Todd Sandberg, who started Pedals for Paul and raised $24,000.
In a Thursday, March 1, 2018 photo, Tatum Weir, left, sets to drill a pilot hole while building a tool box during a cub scout meeting in Madbury, N.H.

Getting prepared: Twin Cities Boy Scouts look ahead to new name

Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts will stay the course and remain a girl-only organization.
People in a boat work to break up a large piece of ice into smaller chunks, preventing it from smashing into the docks at Tonka Bay Marina on Lake Min

Lake Minnetonka joy ride tries to help break up the ice

Marina operators are making waves to break massive chunks of ice into smaller pieces.
December 15,1983 MCLU Executive Director Matthew Stark: “The question isn’t who gives us money. Everybody gives us money. They (critics) say it’

Matthew Stark, former head of Minnesota ACLU, dies at 88

Matthew Stark, a longtime voice for the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, didn't care if he ruffled feathers. It went along with the job.
Lawn furniture is prematurely set outside on Sunday amid snow in Minneapolis. More is on the way this weekend.

Back to winter with 7-15 inches of weekend snow possible in metro

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning. Other areas of Minnesota could get more, with rain and ice tossed in the miserable mixture.
A winter storm watch has been issued for Friday night into Saturday covering much of the region, including the Twin Cities.

Weekend winter storm with rain, ice and snow targets Minnesota

Some parts of Minnesota will be buried by a foot of snow. Other parts will be slapped with a rain-ice-snow combo.
Jon Markle and his wife, Mandy, stood at their daughter Tabitha's grave in Mendota Heights.

Family goes through Lake Minnetonka ice and into hell

A reckless moment, a horrific loss and a father's quest for atonement.
This long winter has many Minnesotans crying for help, especially those who remove snow. This is a scene from March at U.S. Bank Plaza in downtown Min

As another snowstorm looms, Minnesotans rebel

But good news: The forecast of the latest storm is fizzling, at least in the Twin Cities area.
“I just figured my friends would get a good laugh, and then it escalated,” Jesse Roscoe, who is the superintendent at the Ortonville Golf Course,

Minnesota golfer's tee time in the snow turns into viral video

"I just figured my friends would get a good laugh, and then it escalated," said Jesse Roscoe, who is the superintendent at the Ortonville Golf Course on South Dakota border.
Nan Herman

Nan Herman, longtime security captain at Shakopee women's prison, dies at 81

Nan Herman walked into the women's prison in Shakopee looking for a part-time job. Little did she know that she would rise through the ranks and become a mentor over the next 20 years to the women and the staff who oversaw them.
A spring snowstorm leaving nearly a foot of snow in some areas of the metro made for slick driving conditions, where traffic was backed up in both dir

Many Minnesotans ready to cry 'uncle' after April snowstorm

Tuesday's daylong snowfall slowed commutes, sent hundreds of cars skidding and forced folks back into their boots and winter down. But mostly the 8-plus inches of new snow and temperatures that barely eked above 30 broke the spirits of those yearning for spring.
Cars drove over the ice road from Madeline Island to Bayfield on Monday, March 5, 2018. Photographed from La Pointe, Wis. ] RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER •

Spring closes Madeline Island ice road

On Madeline, residents accept their seasonal fate and wait for the ferry.
Philip Malkerson is fighting Minneapolis City Hall in an effort to keep a hockey rink he built for his children.

Minneapolis homeowner loses appeal for front-yard hockey rink

Zoning Board rejects rink argument after neighbor's complaint.
Philip Malkerson is fighting Minneapolis City Hall in an effort to keep a hockey rink he built for his children.

Fight over front-yard hockey rink goes to Minneapolis City Hall

Some neighbors say it's a great place for kids. Another calls it an eyesore.
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