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
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.
Construction of the 2 million gallon reservoir just west of Worthington, Minn. It’s part of the new water system that’s expected to go live within

Worthington gushes over new water pipe

Ribbon-cutting is tentatively planned for early December.
Aloma K. Gibson

Aloma Kewania Gibson, beloved cook at University of Minnesota frat house, dies at 76

He had success as the lead singer of Little K and His Internationals, a band that toured and had a hit with "The Squabble."
Jessica Hellmann and her daughter Ada, 11, try to avoid turning on lights in the house; those they do use have LED bulbs.

Climate perils driving some in Minn. to change habits

Many Minnesotans are rethinking how they approach daily life as evidence mounts on the imminent risks.

Judge bars Nobles County from certain immigration holds

A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday that bars the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office from using immigration documents to hold people in jail. The…
People took in the view of the Mississippi River and fall foliage from an overlook off Mississippi River Blvd. in St. Paul. From left is Jane Cremi, o

Week of rainy weather means muted Minn. colors during fall

Two to four inches of rain is expected to fall by Wednesday. Some places may see up to 6 inches, the Weather Service said.
From left, Jeremy Jacobs, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, Dr. John Noseworthy of the Mayo Clinic, Lisa Clarke, Randy Staver and David Mortenson threw dirt for an

Mayo complex is early test of Rochester's big plans

Finding tenants for the building known as One Discovery Square stands as an early test of Mayo's multibillion-dollar effort to create a new economy in Rochester.
The oil refinery fire in Superior, Wis., threw thick, black smoke into the sky after an explosion and fire in April.

OSHA: Explosion, fire at Superior refinery could have been prevented

OSHA fines plant for 13 safety violations after April explosion and fires that led to a citywide evacuation.
Sister Mary Eliot, left, and Sister Ramona next to a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi at Assisi Heights.

The sisters are given their due in two-part Mayo Clinic creation story

The Sisters of Saint Francis in Rochester are the lesser-known partners in a vital partnership early in Mayo Clinic history.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Mitch Boyum patrols for ginseng poachers near Rushford, Minn., on Sept. 18.

Minnesota's endangered wild ginseng still a tempting target for poachers

Opening of fall season brings poachers, and a patrolling agent.
Gary RedOwl, right, a descendent of Dakota leader Marpiya te najin, received an apology letter from Mayo Clinic's Jeff Bolton at the Ohiya Casino and

In hopes of healing, Mayo creates scholarship as apology for misuse of Dakota leader's body

A new scholarship at the clinic's School of Medicine will honor executed leader.
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Interim Police Chief Sara Rice stood near the sign where she and her department have jurisdiction on the reservation last Se

Policing agreement reached for Mille Lacs reservation

The agreement restores a power-sharing partnership that existed for 25 years before the county suspended it in 2016.
A screengrab of Madison Lake Chief Daniel Bunde’s video.

Madison Lake, Minn., police chief's video brings unwelcome attention

A police chief’s Facebook video that shows him mocking people for speaking languages other than English brought scrutiny to the lakeside town of Madison Lake,…
Swimmers enjoyed the high summer weather at the Strandbad Wannsee, a lake beach in southwesthern Berlin.

Splashdown in Berlin: Exploring the waterways of Germany's capital

A Minnesota family explores the canals, rivers and lakes of Germany's sunny capital.
A screengrab of the video that Madison Lake, Minn., Police Chief Daniel Bunde posted on Facebook.

Southern Minnesota police chief accused of posting racially charged cellphone video

Chief Daniel Bunde of Madison Lake ended the video by saying "Wake up, America."
Lawsuit against Superior, Wis., refinery alleges negligence caused April explosion

Lawsuit against Superior, Wis., refinery alleges negligence caused April explosion

Plaintiffs say thousands could join their class-action suit

Arby's apologizes after Brooklyn Center display sign is hijacked

A sign at a Brooklyn Center Arby's restaurant briefly displayed an offensive message Saturday morning for which the company later issued an apology before turning the matter over to local police.
Some called on Pope Francis to resign after allegations that he knew of abuse.

Catholics wrestle with new abuse claims and a feuding church

Minnesota's 1 million Catholics have been left aching after yet another painful revelation about a problem that has haunted the church for years.
A pickup truck had washed several hundred yards away from where it had been parked near Cashton, Wisc. The hazard lights on the back were still blinki

'Wall of water': Floods overtake towns, roads after southern Minn., western Wis. get soaked

Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin counties tally evacuations, downed trees, torn roofs.
'Grace,' Minnesota's iconic state photograph, celebrates a century

'Grace,' Minnesota's iconic state photograph, celebrates a century

Mysteries remain about some of the story behind enduring image.
In 2014, Angie Weaver comforted her daughter Amelia, 7, at a Senate hearing about a medical marijuana bill at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Amelia Weaver, Hibbing girl who helped advance fight for medical cannabis, dies at 12

Amelia's case was among those that persuaded Minnesota legislators in 2014 to make Minnesota the 22nd state to legalize some form of the drug.
Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening, shown in 2017.

ACLU sues Nobles County sheriff over detaining immigrants

"Scores" more individuals have been unlawfully detained, suit alleges
Algae might keep some from enjoying the watery wonders of Little Rock Lake, but that’s not true of Evan Trompeter, 11, who lives on the Benton Count

Teaming up to take green out of Little Rock Lake

Benton County hopes to turn the tide on algae growth in its largest lake.
IBM systems engineer Joe Gibbons worked on a rack of IBM AC922 servers, the same units used for IBM’s newest record-setting supercomputer, Summit.

Rochester team helped build world's fastest supercomputer

Expectations were high for Summit, built with the help of a team from Minnesota.

DMC board considers highway deck as part of Rochester expansion

Building a deck over Hwy. 52 could address concerns about future parking and transit issues.

Police investigate after bacon strips left at Rochester mosque

Police are investigating after bacon was left near front door, in parking lot.
A 220-kilowatt solar array powers the St. Cloud Wastewater Treatment Plant, along with a biodigester that turns sewage into energy.

More cities across state are turning to renewable sources of energy

Solar, wind and hydro fill increasing roles in municipal power grids
Saint Mary’s Church in Melrose, Minn., is shown in this photo from March.

Sheriff: Teen admits setting fire to 120-year-old church in Melrose

Parishioners now must ask why as they debate whether to rebuild or restore.
Before launching Big River, Reggie McLeod found himself trying to persuade editors to let him write more about the river, because he enjoyed being on

Winona magazine Big River focuses on all things Mississippi

Big River's staff cranks out six issues a year for 5,000 subscribers
FILE - In this April 26, 2018, file frame from video smoke rises from the Husky Energy oil refinery after an explosion and fire at the plant in Superi

Superior, Wis., residents unsettled a month after refinery explosion, fire

A month after the explosion in Superior, people aren't sure how safe their soil and air are.
Someone set fire to the main building at the Sherburne County camp.

Volunteers to discuss future of Sherburne County camp

Arsonist set fire to the camp's main building, causing $200,000 in damage to the historic White Building that was kitchen, dorm and meeting space.
Aerial views of the Biesanz Stone Company and the frac sand mining operation near Winona, Minn.

Winona County ban on frac sand mining challenged at Court of Appeals

Attorneys on both sides were rigorously questioned by a three-judge panel.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum

Minnesota congresswoman calls on refinery to stop using highly toxic chemical

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said the use of hydrogen fluoride in a major population center is "unacceptable."
Katie Alee, 16-year-old wheelchair user and accessibility advocate, center, met with other state representatives and advocates at the William O’Brie

Minnesota state parks targeted for better accessibility for the disabled

It's time to make at least one or two state parks accessible for the disabled, commissioner says.
The Andeavor refinery in St. Paul Park

Legislators push to end refinery's use of toxic chemical

Public needs to know evacuation plans for St. Paul Park refinery, and first responders should do drills, two Minneapolis legislators said.
The Andeavor refinery in St. Paul Park

Superior refinery fire is reminder of toxic leak risk in Twin Cities

Major accidents involving hydrogen fluoride are rare. But the explosion and fire at the oil refinery in Superior, Wis., was a reminder of the potential danger at another refinery in St. Paul Park.
In this aerial photo of Husky Energy oil refinery taken Saturday morning damaged storage tanks, mangled pipes and pond of water and other liquids were

Twin Ports mayors want Superior refinery to stop using highly toxic chemical

Superior, Duluth leaders ask Husky Energy to stop using hydrogen fluoride.
In this aerial photo of Husky Energy oil refinery taken Saturday morning damaged storage tanks, mangled pipes and pond of water and other liquids are

As governor tours Wisconsin blast site, focus is on toxic chemical

The cause of Thursday's massive explosion and fire at Husky Energy, Inc. in Superior, Wis. has yet to be determined.
Kelli Briggs and her daughter, Gabby Shaul, 17, brought their belongings inside their home along with their Bernese mountain dog, Koda, 4, Friday morn

Superior refinery fire raged near chemical tanks with deadly risk

If a tank of hydrogen fluoride had been compromised, a "killing cloud" could have endangered 180,000 people.
Natalia Johnson, 12, right, and her sister Iley, 15, stood outside Amsoil Arena in Duluth with their 6-year old pug, Tucker, and some of their belongi

Superior, Wis., evacuation order lifted at 6 a.m., mayor says

The evacuation order, which followed a fire at an oil refinery, was lifted as of 6 a.m., the mayor said in a Facebook post.

Minnesota flood warnings include Mississippi River in St. Paul

Minor flooding expected along rivers for the next few days.
Ji Chen skied the cross country course Wednesday at Theodore Wirth Park.

Tired of endless winter? Twin Cities skiers can't get enough

Deep snow, fresh tracks, freezing temps: Winter's staying power delights some.

Minnesota flood risk low despite historic April snowstorm

A slow warmup over the next few days means there is only a low risk of flooding throughout Minnesota, with the potential for some minor…
After her flight to Paris was grounded, Delta Air Lines flight attendant Victoria Flees slogged through snow with as much dignity as possible on Satur

Historic blizzard slams into Minnesota; record snowfall possible

Travel is discouraged as snow falling at 1 to 2 inches per hour and 50-mph wind gusts created whiteout conditions. With 10-plus inches at the airport, flights were grounded until late Saturday. More snow is to come, so Sunday events are getting called off.
Cold Spring police officer Thomas Decker

Unsolved murder case of Cold Spring officer is closed

Focus of investigation committed suicide in 2013.
SEIU workers staged a one-day strike at Mayo's hospital in Albert Lea, Minn., in December.

Mayo Clinic, union to meet with judge over lockout of Albert Lea health care workers

The National Labor Relations Board will hear a complaint filed by hospital workers' union.
Dr. John Noseworthy of the Mayo Clinic tipped his hardhat to the crowd following an outdoor groundbreaking of Discovery Square, one of two projects ac

DMC private investors spend another $131 million remaking Rochester

That's slightly less than what was invested the year before, a drop that officials attributed to the timing of projects rather than a slowdown.
The $257 million riverfront project has retail, housing and a hotel.

'Home run' development on horizon for Rochester's riverfront

But some city planners and residents worry that the scope of the $257 million riverfront project is too much, too fast.
As work proceeds on the new bridge at Red Wing, Minnesota road crews will install a new ramp that will take traffic in a new direction to Hwy. 61.

New ramp coming for Red Wing bridge

It's a step closer to the bridge's eventual replacement next year.
It's been two years since St. Mary's Church in Melrose was set ablaze and the person responsible still hasn't been caught.

Fight over Melrose church hit by arson has divided local Catholics

A 2016 fire gutted the Church of St. Mary, scarred the Melrose community
Photo by Leila Navidi: John Nasseff

St. Paul publisher and philanthropist John Nasseff dies at 93

Nasseff died Feb. 21, the day he turned 94, at his St. Paul home.
Rochester flag redesign contest Round 1 winners
Public voting
First place: Leo Ariemma, Woodbridge, Ontario

Rochester considers designs for new city flag

Medical symbols, stars and bars, crosses ... and lots of geese.
Zachary T. Anderson

Family friend pleads guilty to murder, rape of 5-year-old Minn. girl

Zachary Anderson of Monticello immediately sentenced to life in prison in death of 5-year-old Alayna Ertl.
Alan Geisenkoetter Jr.

Snowmobiler faces murder, drunken driving charges in death of boy, 8

Snowmobiler's blood alcohol level was allegedly twice the legal limit three hours after the incident.
A bell mysteriously left outside the doors of the Nicollet County Historical Society a couple of years ago was thought to have originated from the old

A dogged volunteer uncovers the mystery of the bell of St. Peter

It's a story that includes history, tragedy, family lore, town gossip, a thrilling discovery - and a second, enduring mystery.

Grants kick-start energy efficiency projects around Minnesota

A Department of Commerce program to kick-start energy efficiency around the state named 39 projects, from LED lighting in La Crescent to solar panel systems analysis for dairy farmers in west-central Minnesota, in its latest round of grant awards.
Regina Mustafa

Rochester mayoral candidate victim of crude anti-Muslim comment

Threat was left on Regina Mustafa's webpage.
The parents of Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. said they’ll remember their 8-year-old son as a boy who was both a budding outdoorsman and someone willing to

Family calls 8-year-old killed on Chisago Lake a budding outdoorsman and eager helper

Alan Geisenkoetter Jr. died five days after he and his family were hit by a snowmobiler on Chisago Lake.
Server Peter Tazin took an order from Brenda Luther, Michelle Luhman, Hannah Wright, Jean Fox, Stacy Weelborg and Ruth Grimm in an igloo on the roofto

Rochester restaurant's rooftop dining domes to be taken down

Fans of Rochester igloos are upset, but an official called them hazardous.
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