Staff Directory 10645411

Matt McKinney

Reporter | Regional Team
Phone: 612-673-7329
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Matt McKinney is a reporter on the Star Tribune's state team. In 15 years at the Star Tribune, he has covered business, agriculture and crime. 

McKinney graduated from St. John's University in Collegeville and spent the ensuing years chasing stories through Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Cambodia. A Minnesota childhood taught McKinney to love winter, skiing, the first warm day of spring, good books and time spent outdoors. He benefited from great teachers at Stillwater High School, and again in Collegeville and at the University of Minnesota. He's a fan of several local breweries, Prince, Jessie Diggins, the Loons, and newspaper reporters near and far who taught him the craft. McKinney bikes to work year-round from his home in the Twin Cities, which he shares with his wife and two sons.
Recent content from Matt McKinney
Stillwater Superintendent Denise Pontrelli said closing three schools in 2017 was needed for balance.

Stillwater may look at reopening elementary school

A rush of new housing developments could overwhelm some already-crowded schools in the Stillwater school district, forcing officials to redraw school boundaries just a few…
Opponents of the proposed 180-foot tower say it would would forever change Marine on St. Croix's identity as a river outpost that wants to hold fast t

Proposed cellphone tower in Marine on St. Croix drawing both support and opposition

Supporters decry spotty reception while some fear it would clash with scenery.
Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, Minneapolis Director of Public Works Robin Hutcheson and city sewer engineer

Walz seeks $300M to upgrade water systems across Minnesota

His goal is to help cities, particularly smaller communities in greater Minnesota, with costly upgrades to water systems needed to remove pollutants without causing soaring utility bills.
In his Facebook post, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell cited Article 1, Section 2: “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the

St. Paul chief vows to rid state Constitution of slavery language

After Police Chief Todd Axtell's Facebook post, legislators were publicly talking about holding hearings to launch a constitutional amendment.
John Juergens

John Juergens, Mayo Clinic cardiovascular specialist, dies at 94

The pioneering cholesterol researcher also taught at the Mayo Medical School.
St. Paul Park resident Andrew Jerome Placzek shows the sign that his landlord hung at an apartment complex after a turkey began hanging out in the par

Wild turkey ruffles feathers in St. Paul Park

Puffing its feathers at passing cars, chasing children at bus stops, its bald head turning from side to side, a wild turkey has moved into a St. Paul Park neighborhood.

DNR puts temporary ban on movement of farm-raised deer, following CWD

Transport of farm-raised deer halted over chronic wasting disease case.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Challenge to Trump-only GOP primary ballot leaves early voting in limbo

State election officials sought an expedited decision to meet the Jan. 17 start of early voting.

Owner of boat stuck in the frozen St. Croix River still hopeful he can dislodge his craft

A tow truck operator from Willmar has offered to help out Mike Olson, for free. He just hopes the cameras stay away.

Mark Ritchie says congressional failure won't handicap Minnesota's hopes for 2027 Expo

A bid to host the World's Fair in Bloomington eight years from now is still alive, despite the failure of a critical step in Congress…
Former barracks at Fort Snelling's Upper Post, shown in 2018.

Affordable housing project at Fort Snelling stalls

Developer cites rising costs and increased complications.
Richard Bild

Lawsuit: Washington County jail ignored red flags before inmate's suicide

Richard Bild died when he jumped from a jail balcony rail in June 2018.
Boats clogged the St. Croix River in 2018. More nonmotorized boats could join the mix with a push to open a rowing club and sports center just north o

Rowing club pushes Stillwater to kick-start riverfront park plans

Stillwater owns riverfront land, but doesn't yet have a master plan for it.
Charles P. Nord, 30, was identified as the Minnesota National Guard pilot who died in Thursday’s crash of a helicopter on a maintenance test flight.

Soldiers killed in copter crash returned from Mideast in May

Charlie Nord, 30, was piloting the UH-60 Black Hawk on a routine maintenance test flight when it fell into a field shortly after takeoff. He was killed along with two other Guard members aboard, who were named Saturday morning.
The site where a Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crashed killed three service members in Stearns County.

Cause of Guard helicopter crash that killed 3 under investigation

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the deaths of the crew members, which came during a maintenance test flight. The copter took off from St. Cloud and went down in a tree-lined farm field near Cold Spring. "My heart breaks for the families," Walz said.

Minneapolis man dies 2 days after being hit by a car on Hiawatha Avenue

The retired truck driver was hit as he walked in the predawn darkness.

Stillwater man takes matters into his own hands to free sailboat stuck in frozen St. Croix

Stillwater man steps in to rescue the boat stuck in the frozen St. Croix River.
Alexander Weiss

Murder charge against Rochester man dismissed in 2018 fender-bender shooting

Prosecutors won't try case again after juries failed to reach a unanimous verdict in two earlier trials.
Officer Heidi Eisenbeis watched video evidence in Minneapolis. St. Paul’s police chief wants ShotSpotter technology, but the mayor has doubts.

As gunfire continues in St. Paul, so does ShotSpotter debate

In St. Paul, leaders debate whether ShotSpotter technology is a useful tool or an unproven sales pitch.
Foundation President Oliver Din said the Manitou Fund wants to retool the Warner Nature Center and that it could reopen within a couple of years.

Manitou Fund rises from obscurity to leading charity

A recent infusion of nearly $1 billion has made even more puzzling the decision by foundation officials to pull the plug on a popular nature center on the St. Croix River.
Ramsey County Sherif Bob Fletcher collects a Public Employees Retirement Association pension on top of his salary.

Some Ramsey County sheriff's workers get pension plus salary

The County Board chairman said it was "baffling" that several high-ranking Sheriff's Office members were collecting pensions while working. Bob Fletcher defended it, citing "a lifetime of contributions."
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said the proposal “does not appear it could meet applicable statutory requirements."

Minn. DNR: 'Virtually no scenario' for shipping water to Southwest

The response came amid widespread shock and concern over the water shipment plan proposed by Empire Building Investments Inc., the real estate arm of Lakeville-based Progressive Rail.

Two homicides in St. Paul bring city's total to 26 for year

The two homicides continued a violent streak in St. Paul. Nine people were killed in the city in September and 2019 is the deadliest in the past decade.

Public budget hearings scheduled for Minneapolis City Hall

Three meetings scheduled for Minneapolis residents.
Beverly Jonnes

Pioneering schoolteacher Beverly Jonnes dies at 87

Beverly Jonnes, a pioneering elementary school teacher who relied on listening and empathy to lead students and who later authored voluminous poetry about her life…
Former Vice President Walter Mondale spoke to about 150 supporters and friends Tuesday at William O’Brien State Park near Marine on St. Croix, at th

Minnesota honors Walter Mondale by naming 5 St. Croix river spots for him

The memorials recognize the former vice president's early role in efforts to protect the St. Croix and other vulnerable rivers.
Dan and Brooke Triplett and daughters Macyn, 10, left, and Madelyn, 7, enjoyed the fall colors Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Warner Nature Center near Marine

After sudden closing, fate of 900-acre site still a mystery

The private foundation that owns the Warner Nature Center's land near Marine on St. Croix said last month it was severing its relationship with the Science Museum of Minnesota, which staffs the center and runs programming.
A group calling themselves Neighbors Together in Solidarity appears every Friday to show support for Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, site

Bloomington mosque leaders unnerved by photographers

Strangers bearing still and video cameras have come and lingered in the parking lot or walked around the building, officials say.

Former Ramsey County sheriff disputes accusations of overspending

Serier disputes Ramsey Sheriff Fletcher's accusation of over-hiring.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

Ramsey County imposes financial restrictions on Sheriff Bob Fletcher's office

Fletcher said he inherited the cost overruns; county will monitor spending.
The crowd waited Tuesday night to be let into Lakeland City Hall.

Lakeland City Council strips mayor of most of his powers

The move follows months of acrimony between the mayor and council.
Lakeland Mayor Richard Glasgow, shown in 2012.

Lakeland mayor locks City Hall to block out City Council, in latest flare-up snarling the east metro city

Lakeland officials have feuded since winter over how to fill vacancies in the St. Croix riverside burg.
A silver carp found in 2017 in Illinois waters.

Minnesota DNR catches, tags silver carp in the St. Croix River

Wildlife officials found the silver carp, the first of its kind to get a tag, while tracking a tagged bighead carp.
In 1994, Randy Christman, left, of the Raptor Resource Project directed students from the Marcy Open Elementary School in Minneapolis as they hoisted

Warner Nature Center in St. Croix Valley to close at end of year

No explanation given for closing of the Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center near Marine on St. Croix.
A.J. Klein controlled the race, winning in a “devil takes the hindmost” contest where the last to finish each lap is eliminated.

Blaine velodrome that hosted Olympic trials gets ready to close

One of the only outdoor wooden tracks in the nation and a source of pride for the local bicycling scene, the 250-meter velodrome will be torn down after this race season.

Mower County deputy charged for allegedly punching teen

Rough arrest leads to charges.
Laile Vang, 24, was a 2013 Chippewa Falls High School graduate.

Wisconsin woman targeted by gunman remembered as happy, 'bold'

Laile Vang studied at UW-Eau Claire, was a YouTuber, traveler and "glue" for her family.
Chippewa County Sheriff James Kowalczyk and held a press conference with further information that Ritchie German Jr. fatally shot his 66-year-old moth

Sheriff: Wis. man who killed 4 may have sought to imitate Closs kidnapping

A motive for the shootings at two Chippewa Falls area residences remains unclear, but investigators believe Ritchie German Jr., may have been trying to kidnap a woman at one house.
Lake Hallie police and the Wisconsin State Patrol investigated Monday the scene of a shooting that left two dead and two in the hospital. Three people

Relative identifies three of the five killed in Wisconsin shootings

The suspected shooter was among the dead, and his father said he had struggled with mental illness.
A burrowing mayfly rested on the leaf of a tree hanging over the Mississippi River near Red Wing. A plentiful hatch is a signal that the river is in g

Mayfly hatch is a sure sign of summer

Some years it's a black plague; others, just a brief nuisance
Minnesota's new wage theft law doubles the number of state investigators examining wage theft cases and will mean more site visits, said state labor C

Rochester case is first test of new wage theft law

A group of construction workers alleges they were shorted thousands of dollars in pay after working much of last year on a $40 million, city-supported affordable housing project
Rochester United FC players Lindsey Monnet (left) and Thainá Cavalcante during a recent team practice at Mayo High School in Rochester, Minn.

Women's soccer team brings international competition to Rochester

Rochester United FC notched its first win of the season last week
Moses Simon, a Winona boathouse owner, was born in his family’s boathouse on the Mississippi but the family moved away when he was 4. But the lure o

Easy living on the river? Not always, for this boathouse city

The residents of Winona's boathouse city have an intimate – and perilous – relationship with the Mississippi.
This green-card holder has been checking in annually for 16 years after being convicted of a felony at age 18. He fears U.S. efforts to forge new depo

As push to deport felons grows, Minnesota man fears he'll be next

Immigration crackdown ripples through Minnesota's Southeast Asian community
A cafeteria worker made burritos at Owatonna High School cafeteria. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison issued a binding opinion that schools can

Minn. schools can't withhold diplomas because of unpaid lunch debt, Ellison says

The opinion says that existing statutes prohibit demeaning a child over an unpaid lunch debt.
A coalition of elected Minnesota officials and legal advocates wants to make it the law that a student cannot be denied a diploma over a lunch debt.

Push on in Minnesota to keep students from denied diplomas over lunch debts

State law already prohibits school districts from withholding diplomas for nonpayment of fees. Legal Aid attorneys believe that should include school lunch debt.
Andy Smith unloaded theater chairs he purchased in Boston for his new microcinema, Gray Duck Theater, in Rochester. The 66-seat theater opened Friday.

Minnesota couple raise the curtain on 66-seat microtheater in Rochester

The newest cinema in Rochester shows classics, documentaries
“The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom sa

Dakota County woman who had 64 dead cats, 43 live ones pleads guilty

The grisly situation was discovered after deputies were called about a pig on the loose.
A 50,000-ton pile of sand that was called "Mt. Frac" in downtown Winona. The Winona County Law Enforcement Center is in background.

Minnesota Supreme Court weighs Winona County frac sand case

Company argues that county's frac sand mining ban is unconstitutional.
Photorealistic graffiti artist Guido van Helten painted four locals onto six 100-foot tall silos in Brim, Australia.

Mankato silos could be canvas for striking murals

The giant, concrete towers overlook the Minnesota River.
A demolition crew has started removing the charred metal and broken equipment at the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wis., a key first step to

Residents wary of Superior, Wis., oil refinery rebuild

Husky Energy won't say if tanks of acid will remain.
A bicyclist traveled the Midtown Greenway March 4 near Bryant Ave South. Bike paths are giving some cyclists a respite from the snowbound streets.

Snowbound streets and paths change landscape for cyclists

Record-setting snow has put a lot of people to the test.
Warren Alton Dahl

Warren Dahl, one of the best-known meat cutters in Minneapolis, dies at 92

Most people knew him from his years behind the counter at Ingebretsen's on Lake Street in south Minneapolis.
Alan Geisenkoetter Sr. at his family's dining room table looks at a photo of his son, Alan Jr., on Feb. 2, 2018.

Snowmobiler sentenced to prison for drunken crash killing 8-year-old boy on Chisago Lake

Eric J. Coleman gets 12½ years in prison in the death of Alan Geisenkoetter Jr.

Rochester eyes 'transit villages' to ease traffic and parking crush

A pair of parking ramps surrounded by housing and retail are envisioned for the city.
A rendering of the $257 million Bloom International Realty project that was proposed for the South Fork Zumbro River waterfront in downtown Rochester.

Hopes dim for Rochester's riverfront project

Developer backs out of once-touted $257 million project.
A close-up photo of police lights by night.

Sub zero cold likely a factor in death of Rochester man

The 22-year-old was found on the back deck of a relative's house where he had been living.
The addition of a major airline, a push to “fly local” and an expansion boosted travel out of Rochester’s airport last year.

Rochester airport sets record passenger count in 2018

The ramp-up follows a general quickening of the Rochester economy in recent years.
Jayme Closs, right, with her aunt Jennifer Smith in a photo posted Friday to the "Healing for Jayme Closs" Facebook page, which has closely tracked Ja

Back with family after escaping, Jayme Closs 'is the hero'

Wisconsin authorities said Jayme Closs was abducted by 21-year-old Jake T. Patterson, who is being charged with murder and kidnapping. She was reunited with her family. "It's amazing, the will of that 13-year-old girl to survive and escape," Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said.
The sign outside Barron, Wis., City Hall celebrated the escape of 13-year-old Jayme Closs.

After 88 days of worrying about Jayme Closs, northwest Wisconsin finally can celebrate

Elated residents couldn't help but gush after the teen's 88 days away.
Back in 2009, work crews laid sewer line near Highway 52 on what had originally been planned as a biosciences park near Pine Island, Minn., north of R

Prairie Island buys land near Pine Island

Concern over nuclear waste, aging power plant spur $15.5M purchase.
Toni Thuringer, co-owner of the Haven Bar in Babbitt, Minn., is among the local business owners supporting the mine. Her bar is right along the road t

Iron Range cities ready to welcome mining revival

As PolyMet, Twin Metals mines clear hurdles, cities hope for economic boost.
M.K. Nguyen hugged friend Jennifer Nguyen-Moore as Nguyen-Moore wiped away tears during Thursday's news conference. to condemn deportation of Southeas

Twin Cities community leaders call for end to deportations of Vietnam War-era refugees

At State Capitol news conference, officials and families say they will do whatever they can to fight it.
Volunteers unloaded books at the University of Mosul Nov. 25. The academic topics included medicine, engineering, law and IT.

Minnesota-based Reconciliation Project sends 10,000 books to Mosul

The city's prestigious university had been decimated by ISIS terrorists. The library's historical manuscripts, maps, documents and academic texts had been deliberately burned.
Sia Her, shown in 2015, is executive director of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans. She said she had been on the phone for much of Thursday wit

Deportation proposal shakes Minnesota's Southeast Asian refugee community

Trump's deportation effort worries immigrants in Minnesota.
Prince and Molly, Belgian draft horses, are stars of a viral video of the pair pulling a semi rig up an icy driveway in Canton, Minn.

Display of raw power turns southern Minnesota horses into viral video stars

A pair of Belgian draft horses named Molly and Prince became Minnesota’s latest viral video stars when, with a mighty pull, they towed a semitrailer…
Thick smoke poured from the fire at the Husky Enery oil refinery in Superior, Wis.

Hole in valve triggered explosion, fire at Superior, Wis., refinery

The erosion in a slide valve created a hole that allowed air to mix with hydrocarbons, setting off last April's blast at the Husky Energy refinery.
A wall of smoke rose from the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wis., on April 26. Residents and officials are concerned about a dangerous chemic

Superior, Wis., to hold town meeting on refinery explosion to discuss emergency plans

Wednesday event will include an update from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazardous Investigation Board on its investigation.
Army Master Sgt. Carl H. Lindquist

Remains of Korean War serviceman from Willmar to be returned to Minnesota

The remains of Army Master Sgt. Carl H. Lindquist had been marked "Unknown" and buried in a Hawaii military cemetery.
Rachel Nagel said being an Airbnb host in Mayo Clinic’s backyard is important because “these people need a lot of extra TLC.”

Guests from far and wide make Rochester an Airbnb hot spot

Local hosts say Mayo patients appreciate the personal touch.
The ice sheet at the Two Harbors Curling Club, which will host the U.S. Junior Nationals in January.

Two Harbors Curling Club gets a refresh ahead of national tournament

The upgrades come as the longtime North Shore club prepares to host the U.S. Junior National Championships in January for the first time in club history.
Local owners are converting the Rochester Armory into a restaurant, arts center and one-of-a-kind performance venue, where work was underway recently.

Landmark downtown Rochester armory gets a third act

Planned art space, bookstore and restaurant will fill a gap downtown.
Downtown Rochester in April 2017. The number of downtown apartments, condos and flats expected to double in the next five years, according to a new re

Mayo Clinic expansion project unleashes Rochester housing boom

The number of downtown housing units is expected to double in the next five years, according to a new report.
Hibbing's First Avenue was decorated with American flags for Flag Day and July 4th.

'Sigh of relief' can turn into turbulence quickly on the Iron Range, like after this PolyMet ruling

Permit approvals for PolyMet open a new chapter in an old struggle.
Tire tracks marked with spray paint where the vehicle that struck three Girl Scouts and an an adult chaperone climbed out of the ditch to get back on

Charges: Driver, passenger fought for control before truck hit Wis. Scouts

The two men allegedly were inhaling a computer keyboard cleaner to get high before the truck veered into a ditch, killing 3 Girl Scouts and a mom.