Staff Directory 10645991

Mary Lynn Smith

Reporter | Metro
phone: 612-673-4788
After getting a master's in public affairs reporting, Mary Lynn Smith spent much of her 30-year-newspaper career covering government from the statehouse in Illinois to local governments in Minnesota. Now as a general assignment reporter, she covers a broad range of breaking news stories and features. She was born and raised in Chicago but has chosen to live, work, and raise a family in Minnesota -- first Duluth and then the Twin Cities.
Recent content from Mary Lynn Smith
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.
Billy Glaze, pictured in a 1988 file photo, walked out of the federal building in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Supreme Court dismisses appeal on behalf of deceased serial killer

Billy Glaze, who was convicted of killing three women, died in prison but his attorneys continued to push for his exoneration.
Warmer weather brought many out during lunch Friday, including Patrick Groschan, in shorts, left, and his dog Rex.

Weekend will bring taste of spring, maybe 50s to Minnesota

The snow will melt, but more could be on the way, combined with rain, next week.
A driver texted on her cell phone while waiting for a traffic light to change in Eagan.

'Epidemic' of distracted driving still on rise in Minnesota

The problem is growing even as speeding and DWI cases stay steady or decrease.
The Stillwater lift bridge peeked over the top of Ice Castles wall. Stillwater will be transitioning to the summer season soon enough and the Ice Cast

Flamethrowers? Dragons? All options put on the table for melting Stillwater ice cavern

Stillwater is facing a frigid conundrum: Disposing of a massive ice cavern.
Robert Gerhart, Osseo School Board chair

Osseo school board chair wants armed volunteers to patrol schools

Robert Gerhart, board chair of one of the metro area's largest school districts, floated the idea Tuesday, saying he's tired of all the talk but no action about protecting students.
The Hennepin Downtown Project will reconstruct Hennepin Avenue between Washington Avenue and 12th Street starting in 2019, according to the city.

People react to major face-lift in the works for Hennepin Avenue

Citizens got a peek at the plans on Thursday night.
Simon Matthew Schiffler, 33, of Williston, N.D.

Driver in Hwy. 65 crash recounts fatal shooting of knife-wielding man

A driver who had stopped to help shot the knife-wielding man as he assaulted others involved in the crash, police and witnesses say.
Chris Endicott

Criminal cases involving school principals raise questions for administrators

Charges this week against Lakeville Principal Chris Endicott are one of several criminal investigations involving Minnesota school principals.
Remaining club members Don Crisman, Gregory Eaton and Tom Henschel have attended every big game.

Three men, 52 years and a vow to always be at the Super Bowl

Tom Henschel, Don Crisman and Gregory Eaton have been at every game.
Starting Friday, the city of Minneapolis deployed its full complement of 44 traffic control agents at key intersections.

Downtown Mpls. traffic eases after 2 days of Super Bowl gridlock

Friday evening's commute was improved after epic traffic jams Wednesday and Thursday, commuters said.
Ice sculptures are taking form on Nicollet Mall, but the warm-up Friday was also having an effect.

One-day spring warm-up not so nice for Super Bowl ice art

Ice sculptures rising on Nicollet Mall will fare well as temperatures dip once again.
A video of an Edina police officer stopping and arresting a black man walking on a street around a construction area has gone viral on social media.

Video of Edina police officer confronting a black man goes viral

The man, stopped for walking in the street, demanded to know why the officer detained him. He was later charged with disorderly conduct.
A young girl stood front and center at the front of the procession from St. Paul College to the State Capitol for the noon rally. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE �

Why no march here? Some Twin Cities women want to take movement to the streets again

Leaders are shifting tactics ahead of election, but loss of visibility worries some.
Thrill seekers, including some children with their parents, walk on the frozen waters beneath Minnehaha Falls Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, in Minneapolis, M

Frozen Minnehaha Falls entices some into forbidden territory

Trekkers to the prohibited area can get a beautiful snapshot – and a day in court.
Steam rises from Lake Superior at the ship St. Clair comes to harbor during some of the coldest temps of the year Sunday at Canal Park in Duluth.

Winter causing misery in Minnesota with frostbite, busted pipes

Despite the stretch of biting cold temperatures, the winter season, at least so far, has been deemed mild by those who track the so-called Winter Misery Index. And relief is on its way as temperatures warm up on Sunday.

Vegan wedding dinner leaves bad taste for Twin Cities couple

Lawsuit seeks $22,000 from caterer, alleging "horrific" food.
As online shopping has grown, so have opportunities for thieves to troll neighborhoods in search of packages.

Package thieves got a nasty surprise from one Minneapolis man

A Minneapolis man used excrement in a box to teach the porch bandits a lesson -- and exact a little payback.

Shakopee man who died saving his drowning brother-in-law wins Carnegie hero's medal

He drowned in rough waters in Panama City, Fla.
In St. Paul, DFL Senate staffer Suzanne Sobotka watched from her State Senate Building office.

For many Minnesotans, Franken news brings resignation and melancholy

Moments after Al Franken stood on the U.S. Senate floor and announced his resignation Thursday, a red-eyed staffer answered the senator’s locked St. Paul office…
Volunteers unload Christmas trees at the YMCA in Idaho Falls, Idaho in late November. A low supply of Christmas trees nationally could mean higher pri

Minnesota escapes national Christmas tree shortage

Growers say state has a hearty crop but inflation and shortages in other parts of the country could mean higher prices.
Sometimes golf courses are open even in December. In this Dec. 19, 2011, photo, Mike Schneider, of St. Paul, Minn., golfs at Parkview Golf Club in Eag

Minn. registers some of fastest rising winter temperatures in country

Milder winters could spell trouble for those who celebrate cold and snow.
“She needs to come off County and State Aid now that she has some cash. It’ll be gone in 6 months on crack cocaine,” tweeted Tom McBroom, a Rice

Minn. sheriff's deputy backtracks on tweet criticizing Diamond Reynolds payout

"It'll be gone in 6 months on crack cocaine," the sheriff's deputy and City Council member tweeted.
Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, wearing a 1980s-era Science Museum of Minnesota sweatshirt in an episode of “Stranger Things.” The second seaso

Many still waiting for Science Museum's brontosaurus hoodie

Overwhelming demand and production glitches slowed down delivery, but anxious customers can expect orders to be delivered soon.
Hunter encounters friendly deer

'Shoo. Shoo. Get out of here.' Buck takes a liking to Wisconsin deer hunter

"It was pretty cool at first," the hunter said of the oddly friendly deer. "Then it got old."
A man stopped to admire the statue of Mary Tyler Moore following a dedication ceremony to mark the opening of the newly renovated Nicollet Mall Thursd

Two-plus years in the making: Nicollet Mall back in business

Nicollet Mall reopened at noon Thursday, marking the end of a construction headache that's cost millions of dollars and closed the downtown Minneapolis corridor for more than two years.
Kevin Schrader launched the U team's rocket, with Machlen Polfliet at left and Jeffrey Guevara.

U rocket team smashes competition, sets Guinness World Record with Alka-Seltzer

Team wins $25,000 and a spot in record book with fizz-fueled rocket.
Superior High School sophomore Kaiden Johnson was told he couldn't dance with the rest of his high school team because he's a boy and dance is for gir

Wisconsin teen challenging Minnesota rule banning boys from dance teams

Complaint says Minnesota policy perpetuates gender-based discrimination, violates Title IX.
Joel Vertelney (cq), a terrain park tester and attendeant at Afton Alps, watches as snowboarders test out some of his obstacles for the first time thi

Cold lets Twin Cities ski hills get a jump on winter

But next week's warmth will have die-hard golfers back on the course.
St. Paul mayoral candidate Melvin Carter celebrated his win Tuesday night with family and friends at Union Depot.

Melvin Carter wins mayor race in St. Paul; Frey leads in Mpls.

Carter spent much of the night with 50 percent of the vote in the mayor's race, outpacing Pat Harris. In Minneapolis, Jacob Frey led early among a tight and crowded mayoral race.
Even before the polls opened Tuesday, nearly 12,000 Minneapolis voters cast their ballots early.

Voter turnout surprises Twin Cities poll watchers

Election officials estimate that 43 percent of the registered voters turned out at the polls, up from 33 percent four years ago.
Dusk settled over frozen Lake Mille Lacs after a chilly, windy day of winter fishing in February.

Return of winter walleye fishing on Mille Lacs is welcome news for region

The limited season will open Dec. 1; "We'll take it," says one resort owner.
Skaters rollered around the concourse of U.S. Bank Stadium last December. Stadium officials Thursday announced new dates for runners and inline skater

U.S. Bank Stadium opens for runners, skaters through end of year

The stadium will be closed for running and skating in January with preparations underway there for the Super Bowl.
Family members consoled each other Wednesday during an all-night visitation for AIM co-founder Dennis Banks at the American Indian Center in Minneapol

American Indian community honors Dennis Banks' vision and leadership

Dennis Banks was remembered as a leader who brought pride and progress.
John Lundquist of Minneapolis was reunited with his dog, Lindsey, after a clap of thunder sent the family pet on a the run for four weeks.

City mutt survived month alone in BWCA, close call with wolf

After getting lost in the BWCA and eluding rescuers, John Lundquist's pet is back home in Minneapolis.
Roger Erickson, right, is shown with his longtime WCCO Radio partner Charlie Boone in 1992.

WCCO Radio legend Roger Erickson made mornings, snow days a joy

For generations of Minnesotans, Roger Erickson was the first voice they heard in the morning.The WCCO-AM radio legend, along with his co-host Charlie Boone, were…
ReBecca Roloff, president of St. Catherine University in St. Paul

St. Kate's adjunct faculty rejects union

Failed effort is the latest by part-time professors to organize on state campuses.
Gerard Murphy shared a hug with his Minnesota friend Kathy Kehrberg to whom he donated a kidney before heading home to New Zealand.

Long-distance kidney donation links Minnesotan, New Zealanders

"I feel blessed," recipient says of the extraordinary gift. "You don't owe us a thing," donor says.
The fall colors along the Mississippi River Tuesday are near peak as a small tug boat heads up river, as seen from the Franklin Ave. Bridge in Minneap

Time for hooky: Minnesota soaks up picture-perfect days

More Minnesotans may be calling in sick this week. Blame it on a string of higher than normal temperatures that has folks keeping their shorts…
Logs and a portion of a tree were wedged under Bridge Av. W. and River St. N. on the Crow River in Delano, Minn., on Thursday. Recent heavy rains have

Wet October pushing some Minnesota rivers over their banks

Rain and a soggy landscape are causing minor damage along rivers.

Muslim ban protests expected Thursday across downtown Minneapolis

The protests will pop up as the evening commute begins, including near freeway entrances.
Spell Estate winery owners, Bill and Tiki Spell, are in the barrel room with wine maker, Andrew Berge, a former Minnesotan.

Edina couple say their California winery escaped the fire

The flames consumed structures within just a few blocks of their Sonoma winery.

Two bodies found in a car in Coon Rapids parking lot

The deaths appear to be accidental, according to police.
Aar Maanta

Minnesota concerts canceled for London-based Somali musician after visa delays

Aar Maanta has performed twice before in Minnesota without problems.
Kris Delarosby, right, and Colleen Anderson hold Charleen Jochim, center, as they walk toward a Las Vegas hospital in search of information on a missi

Twin Cities man among the dead in Las Vegas mass shooting

Friends and family of a Minnesota man learned Tuesday that he is among the dead after Saturday's mass shooting in Las Vegas. Steve Berger, a financial adviser in the Twin Cities, is a father of three kids ages 8, 11 and 15.
Colleen Ronnei, right, read a victim impact statement about her son Luke Ronnei, who died of a heroin overdose. The statement came Thursday during the

Twin Cities heroin dealer gets 14 years for 2 overdose deaths

Beverly Burrell was convicted of third-degree murder in the overdose deaths of Max Tillitt and Luke Ronnei in a statewide push to get heroin off the streets by going after distributors.
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An injured distance runner reinvents her Twin Cities Marathon tradition

I used to be that runner — someone who squeezed in a run nearly every day to take a break from the rest of life and feel the outdoors. I long for those days.
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