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
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.

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.
Fox 9 reporter Courtney Godfrey posted this photo on her Facebook page, where she wrote about her recovery after losing part of a lower leg in a boati

Fox 9 reporter shares story about losing her lower leg in boating accident

Courtney Godfrey fell overboard and her foot became entangled in the boat's propeller.
The National Weather Service Twin Cities is predicting a heat index of 100 for Friday, the first day of fall.

Heat wave hits as fall arrives: It's going to feel like 100 today

The predicted high of 93 degrees will make it one of the hottest days of the year.
A cluster of zebra mussels is pictured in a Minnesota lake.

Zebra mussels found in Minneapolis, Lakeville lakes

A single mussel was found in Lake Harriet on a boat recovered from the bottom. Five were found in Lake Marion.

Rochester, police officer settle bias claim for $1 million

Police Lt. Elisa Umpierre filed the claim after she said she was suspended for comments she made on Facebook.

Police investigate bomb threat at Seward co-op's Friendship store in Minneapolis

The store shut down Saturday after the threat and reopened Sunday.
When the Minneapolis-St. Paul Military Relic and Weapon Collector show comes to the Process Center at the State Fairgrounds on Sept. 30, World War II

Nazi flags, swastika armbands: history or hate speech?

Show at State Fairgrounds has banned Nazi artifacts, citing changing times.
The National Weather Service is trying to simplify its weather messages.

National Weather Service tries to simplify winter warnings

The agency now has more than 100 different advisories, warnings, watches.
University of Minnesota athletics fundraiser Randy Handel on the sidelines of Minnesota football's spring game in mid-April.

U leak probe cost $74K, caught no one

A $74K investigation into who leaked confidential information about a University of Minnesota athletic official has ended — with no culprit in sight.

Pipe bomb found in package at Hennepin Technical College

The college's Brooklyn Park campus is expected to reopen Friday.
Wayzata officer William Allen Mathews with his wife and 7-year-old son.

Wayzata officer struck, killed while clearing Hwy. 12 debris

A car hit officer William Mathews, who had pulled over to the side of the eastbound highway to clear the road. The driver stopped and was cooperating but has been booked into jail.
Minneasota legislator Ilhan Omar makes the cover of Time magazine as one of 46 influential women who have changed the world.

Minneapolis legislator Ilhan Omar makes the cover of Time

Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim to become a legislator, is one of 46 influential women to break barriers.
Students displayed flags Wednesday at Rocori High School to protest a school ban on flying them. School officials later rescinded it.

Minn. high school banned flags on vehicles, until protests began

Rocori school officials announced the ban after students flew the Confederate battle flag last spring.
Club Jager in Minneapolis

Backlash over owner's donation to ex-KKK leader shutters Club Jager

The Club Jäger employees became collateral damage in the wake of the news.
St. Paul Como Zoo’s new twin emperor tamarins now weigh about 40 grams, no more than the size of a mini candy bar. They’ll grow to be about 1 poun

Meet Pitino and Fleck: Como Zoo's new twin tamarins

The baby primates are named after Gopher coaches P.J. Fleck and Richard Pitino.
Some performers canceled gigs at Club Jäger after a City Pages story on a controversial donation by the North Loop bar's owner to David Duke's 2016 S

Patrons, performers protest Mpls. bar owner's David Duke contribution

Performers, Huge Improv Theater blast landlord's political donation.
Red Lake Public Safety Director William Brunelle holds up a naloxone injector which costs $2000, up from $400 since it was reformulated. The departmen

Red Lake faces new addiction epidemic, but 'nobody is giving up on anybody'

The battle against addiction has been a constant on the reservations in northern Minnesota. But recently, the demons have escalated to deadly mixes of heroin.
Hannah and David Edwards, shown in April 2016, said they hope other schools learn from their case.

St. Paul charter school, family settle discrimination complaint over transgender student

The settlement with Nova Classical Academy should be a lesson to other schools, Dave and Hannah Edwards said.
Capt. Tarrence Robertson, who is transgender, serves in the Minnesota National Guard.

Transgender Minnesota natives want to serve their country in military

Two Minnesotans serving in the military expressed disappointment at President Donald Trump.
Red Lake Police Department Public Safety Director William Brunelle, shown in 2015 when the indictment of a multi-state heroin trafficking conspiracy w

Red Lake Indian Reservation declares public health emergency over drug epidemic

A significant uptick in overdoses the last few months prompted tribal leaders to take the unusual action.
Antonio DeMeules’ father, Jeffrey, held his son’s photo outside the courthouse Friday as the boy’s aunt, Sheila Potocnik, at left, looked on.

Family says Isanti driver's sentence in death of teen skateboarder falls short

Family pushed for charges after boy hit, left to die.
An undated photo of James Byron Haakenson.

St. Paul teen ID'd as victim of 1970s serial killer John Wayne Gacy

The 16-year-old boy who had been missing since he left his St. Paul home in the 1970s has now been identified as one of the 33 victims of the Chicago-area serial killer.
Adam Fetcher spoke on behalf of the outdoor clothing maker Patagonia in support of a mining ban.

Foes of Twin Metals mine jam St. Paul listening session; advocates stay away

A group of 17 organizations that support the copper-nickel mining proposal near the BWCA boycotted the event, while speakers from a crowd of about 1,000 were unanimous in opposition.
Kade and Kallan Maresh

E.coli sickens siblings from Wright County, killing 3-year-old girl

A boy in critical condition is fighting for his life, days after toxin-producing bacteria killed his sister.
Todd “Adman” Waters

Minnetonka advertising executive who was part-time hobo dies at 69

Todd Waters was drawn to two worlds, his home on Lake Minnetonka and the free-spirit ways of riding freight trains.
More than 70 years after Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Jacobsen went missing during a World War II battle in France, his remains were finally recovered and la

Long-lost soldier returns to Minnesota and to love of his life

Gerald Jacobsen, listed as missing in action for 73 years, was buried Friday at Fort Snelling Cemetery. And the woman he left behind finally found peace.
Jay Olstad

KARE 11 TV reporter Jay Olstad bids farewell

Olstad said he's leaving the news business to spend more time with his family.
A cottontail rabbit browsed on plants near where Basset's Creek flows into the Mississippi River Sunday afternoon

West Fargo carnival shuts down booth giving away bunnies as prizes

Fair officials shut down booth after discovery.
Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, said the threatening e-mail received Thursday evening is the second one it has received from the s

Minnesota CAIR receives threatening e-mail, notifies FBI

E-mail advising "Get ready to have a war" is the second in seven months from the same sender.
On Thursday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota National Guard Major General Richard Nash presented the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to Catherine Tauer,

73 years after World War II loss, Minnesota widow receives medals

The emotional ceremony with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar took place a week before Gerald Jacobsen's remains will arrive home in Minnesota.
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