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Matt McKinney

Reporter | Regional Team
phone: 612-673-7329
As a roaming reporter for the Star Tribune, my assignments come from all across the region, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to the Bois Forte Band in Tower, from the farm country Amish to up North fishermen. Special areas of interest include but are not limited to business fraud, sand mining, the Mayo Clinic's multi-billion-dollar expansion known as Destination Medical Center, crime, shoreline development and outstate news. Send tips and story ideas to me at mckinney@startribune.com
Recent content from Matt McKinney
Food trucks likely to be allowed on public property in downtown Rochester

Food trucks likely to be allowed on public property in downtown Rochester

Mobile vendors likely to be allowed on public property
Anti-Muslim speakers find an audience in rural Minnesota

Anti-Muslim speakers find an audience in rural Minnesota

From Mankato to Mountain Iron, speakers who paint an alarming image of Islam are drawing several hundred people per visit.
Old theater in downtown Rochester headed for renovations and a new life

Old theater in downtown Rochester headed for renovations and a new life

Historic theater likely to get a new life as mixed-use events center.

Destination Medical Center project in Rochester reports strong private investment

Public funds are off-limits until private goals are met.

Batch of heroin suspected in 7 overdose deaths in Minnesota

Officials ask public to identify dealers, users as wave hits northern Minn.
Melrose residents stunned as fire destroys 118-year-old church

Melrose residents stunned as fire destroys 118-year-old church

Townspeople watched with dismay Friday night as smoke billowed out of broken windows near the church's main wooden altar. The fire's cause hadn't been determined.
Obituary: Charles W. Siftar, owner of Tangletown Bike Shop

Obituary: Charles W. Siftar, owner of Tangletown Bike Shop

Ditching a high-stress corporate job, Charlie Siftar made a midlife change a few years ago to open a south Minneapolis bike shop, where he could…
St. Paul landlord wins case against serial ADA litigant

St. Paul landlord wins case against serial ADA litigant

The Disability Support Alliance has filed dozens of such suits statewide.
Red Wing Stoneware settles lawsuit with collectors over trademarks

Red Wing Stoneware settles lawsuit with collectors over trademarks

Nearly a year after it began, a lawsuit that pitted the Red Wing Stoneware factory against a group of stoneware collectors has been settled with…
Rochester couple renovate historic Conley-Maass building

Rochester couple renovate historic Conley-Maass building

The Downses began as Mayo Clinic patients. Now they're helping renovate downtown.
Anti-Muslim billboard posted near St. Cloud taken down

Anti-Muslim billboard posted near St. Cloud taken down

Person behind sign not revealed; sign removed due to inaccuracy
Fire took the buildings, but not Madelia's community spirit

Fire took the buildings, but not Madelia's community spirit

La Plaza Fiesta co-owner thanks her lucky stars, makes plans to rebuild
'We're not going to walk away,' Dayton tells Madelia after fire

'We're not going to walk away,' Dayton tells Madelia after fire

The governor toured the fire-damaged town Friday morning and pledged to support those who lost businesses in the early-morning blaze.
Overnight fire erupts, leaving stretch of downtown Madelia in ruins

Overnight fire erupts, leaving stretch of downtown Madelia in ruins

Fire erupted and raced through adjoining businesses along a small south-central Minnesota town's Main Street, leaving a large stretch of the block in ruins, a witness and city official said.
Amish, non-Amish come together to help after deadly fire near Lanesboro

Amish, non-Amish come together to help after deadly fire near Lanesboro

As Amish arrived for funeral, non-Amish neighbors offered food, bedding, machinery.
Rochester redo could spell future rush-hour headaches

Rochester redo could spell future rush-hour headaches

Plan envisions thousands more commuters.

State: Anoka carnival operator took money but didn't show up for fairs

State attorney general acts to get money back for county fairs and festivals.
Destination Medical Center effort aims to jump-start state biotech sector

Destination Medical Center effort aims to jump-start state biotech sector

Rochester aims to retain the state's brightest talent by building a strong hub.
Slow start to winter slows snow-dependent sports, businesses

Slow start to winter slows snow-dependent sports, businesses

Cold-weather lovers feel jilted and winter sports sidelined as snow plays hard to get
Hotel project to rise in January in Detroit Lakes as city continues environmental rules debate with DNR

Hotel project to rise in January in Detroit Lakes as city continues environmental rules debate with DNR

E-mails illustrate state frustration over hotel project set to break ground in January
Confusion mounts over plans to close Red Wing Stoneware store

Confusion mounts over plans to close Red Wing Stoneware store

Stoneware collectors, city deny owner's complaint of harassment.
Man to be charged with hiding Minn. teen's body after using meth

Man to be charged with hiding Minn. teen's body after using meth

Laura Ann Schwendemann was found dead in October after a two-week search. An autopsy revealed she had been on meth.

Rania, Iraq, becomes Duluth's newest sister city

The two municipalities used Skype to seal their international deal, which grew from contacts made by a Duluth peace activist.
Red Wing pottery store to close, cites harassment from other businesses

Red Wing pottery store to close, cites harassment from other businesses

Owner says his family is being harassed by community members.
Minnesota schools wrestle with history, Indian nicknames

Minnesota schools wrestle with history, Indian nicknames

Schools that keep the mascot can cite historical and cultural links.
Economic development chief is the force driving Rochester's $6B rebirth

Economic development chief is the force driving Rochester's $6B rebirth

Executive works overtime to keep massive redevelopment project moving forward.
Midwest Traveler: Marquette, Mich., is mountain bike city

Midwest Traveler: Marquette, Mich., is mountain bike city

The plan, basically, was to drive east and see what happened. Plenty could go wrong as we ventured into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan without a detailed itinerary.
Derailments, spills bring safety worries to the fore

Derailments, spills bring safety worries to the fore

Two weekend derailments in Wisconsin lead to renewed calls for action on oil trains.
Flood-ravaged three years ago, Duluth's Lake Superior Zoo likely to shrink

Flood-ravaged three years ago, Duluth's Lake Superior Zoo likely to shrink

The remade zoo would shrink in half and include indoor and outdoor recreation space to boost offseason revenue
Slate of new leaders, including first woman mayor, chosen in Duluth

Slate of new leaders, including first woman mayor, chosen in Duluth

Mayor-elect Emily Larson and council newcomers are looking to build on the city's recent momentum.
Lanesboro weighs beliefs of Amish vendors, city rules

Lanesboro weighs beliefs of Amish vendors, city rules

Told to buy liability insurance, they left the farmers market in the town's park.
Farmer recounts finding body of missing Minn. college student

Farmer recounts finding body of missing Minn. college student

Human remains found in a western Minnesota farm field are those of college student Laura Ann Schwendemann, who was missing for nearly two weeks.
Mayo plan to remake Rochester is slow to gather steam

Mayo plan to remake Rochester is slow to gather steam

The city has little to show for the hoopla that surrounded the Legislature's $585 million assist in Mayo's plan to remake Rochester into an international center for medicine, research and health care.

State housing office awards $92.4 million for affordable housing projects statewide

Funds are for new builds, rehabilitation projects.
Killer of Aitkin County sheriff's deputy terrorized wife week earlier

Killer of Aitkin County sheriff's deputy terrorized wife week earlier

Danny L. Hammond terrorized his wife and threatened to kill her after she told him she wanted to leave their marriage of 12 years, authorities said.

Rochester's City Council explores arena proposal

The Rochester City Council asked for more information Monday after hearing a consultant’s report envisioning a $75 million, 6,200-seat sports and entertainment arena for downtown.…
Duluth Mayor Don Ness faces lifetime ban from local labor hall

Duluth Mayor Don Ness faces lifetime ban from local labor hall

Don Ness ate lunch at a local restaurant and, according to the union, crossed a picket line to get there.
Frac sand slowdown has some Wis., Minn., towns worried

Frac sand slowdown has some Wis., Minn., towns worried

The oil-industry boom aided towns in Wisconsin and Minnesota that are now waiting for a turnaround.
A weekend at Cuyuna park: It yurts so good

A weekend at Cuyuna park: It yurts so good

New housing option at the state park proves to be perfect base for a family of four.
Pine Island biotech park's legacy: foreclosures, unpaid taxes and interchange to nowhere

Pine Island biotech park's legacy: foreclosures, unpaid taxes and interchange to nowhere

The fast-growing biotech companies and high-paying jobs never materialized near Rochester, leaving a story of what might have been.
Washington Post detractor gets tour of 'ugliest' Red Lake County

Washington Post detractor gets tour of 'ugliest' Red Lake County

A marching band, a gaggle of beaming local officials and lots of civic pride were on display for reporter Christopher Ingraham's visit.
At Camp Ripley, National Guard trains for the worst

At Camp Ripley, National Guard trains for the worst

The disaster drills, which involved about 2,000 people and were two years in the making, put the Guard's emergency skills to the test.
Federal Reserve launches Center for Indian Country Development

Federal Reserve launches Center for Indian Country Development

New center will try to combat widespread poverty on reservations.

Husband says wife fatally shot by intruder in their SW Minn. home

The 40-year-old woman in Brewster, Minn., was shot to death in her own bed early Wednesday.
Ugly Minnesota? Residents take to Twitter to differ

Ugly Minnesota? Residents take to Twitter to differ

A Washington Post reporter gets an earful after Minnesota ranks low on his list of the most desirable counties to live in, with Red Lake rated the worst.
Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter lands $25 million donation from former students

Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter lands $25 million donation from former students

Calling it an “extraordinary” gift and the largest in the school’s history, the president of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., said the institution…
Driver accused of texting in Glencoe crash that killed cyclist

Driver accused of texting in Glencoe crash that killed cyclist

Prior Lake woman, 25, denied using phone; records showed texts about the time of the crash.
Loss of walleye gives rise to old animosities on Lake Mille Lacs

Loss of walleye gives rise to old animosities on Lake Mille Lacs

Tensions reignite between anglers and Indians who have treaty rights, even as state scientists say tribal netting cannot be blamed for the lake's vanishing walleye population.
Body of missing St. Cloud boy, 6, found in Mississippi River

Body of missing St. Cloud boy, 6, found in Mississippi River

The boy, who was reportedly autistic and nonverbal, had last been seen Thursday night about three blocks from the Mississippi River. His family reported him missing shortly before 9 p.m.
Student's death raises questions about campus drug informants

Student's death raises questions about campus drug informants

A North Dakota student's family says Andrew Sadek's work for a drug task force ended in his death. Sadek was busted for selling $80 worth of marijuana. He faced the possibility of more than 40 years in prison.
Rare parasite threat grows with third Minnesota lakes case

Rare parasite threat grows with third Minnesota lakes case

An Alexandria boy remained in critical condition after apparently inhaling the Naegleria fowleri amoeba while swimming in Lake Minnewaska, the third confirmed case of the parasite involving Minnesota swimmers since 2010.
As Airbnb takes off, Duluth and other cities wrestle with rules

As Airbnb takes off, Duluth and other cities wrestle with rules

Surprised by the website's sudden growth in Duluth, and coaxed into action by traditional B & B owners, the Duluth City Council recently enacted a one-year moratorium effective July 15 on new vacation rental permits.
Protesters decry death of Citizens' Board at MPCA

Protesters decry death of Citizens' Board at MPCA

Speakers ask for reinstatement of Citizens' Board at MPCA.
Minnesotans are rushing north to Winnipeg for Women's World Cup

Minnesotans are rushing north to Winnipeg for Women's World Cup

The crush of fans bogged down a popular border crossing on the eve of the first U.S. game. Hotel rooms in Winnipeg sold out long ago, with some fans giving up and staying in Grand Forks.

Bingo! Woman wins $71,000 in Eveleth playing e-bingo

A customer at Margie's Roosevelt Bar in Eveleth on Saturday won $71,054 playing an electronic bingo game ­— the largest jackpot ever for the charitable…
Mystery plane that circled Twin Cities was part of secret FBI fleet

Mystery plane that circled Twin Cities was part of secret FBI fleet

The flight path and ownership records of the plane in Minneapolis made it conspicuous to aviation buffs.
Review: Tim Moore traces an amazing bicycle race through Italy's mountains in 'Gironimo!'

Review: Tim Moore traces an amazing bicycle race through Italy's mountains in 'Gironimo!'

NONFICTION: Riding a century-old bike, the author chases the ghost of a 1914 champion while seeking the lost, pure heart of road racing.
Mysterious low-flying plane over Twin Cities raises eyebrows

Mysterious low-flying plane over Twin Cities raises eyebrows

281,409 VIEWS: The small aircraft circled Minneapolis, the Mall of America and Southdale for hours late at night.
Minneapolis officer pleads not guilty to perjury, other charges

Minneapolis officer pleads not guilty to perjury, other charges

Michael Griffin pleaded not guilty in his first appearance in federal court and was released on $25,000 bail.
Isaac Kolstad jersey number wins big for ex-teammate on 'Price Is Right'

Isaac Kolstad jersey number wins big for ex-teammate on 'Price Is Right'

A football player for Minnesota State University, Mankato, won prizes including a trip to Paris on an episode of "The Price Is Right" by using…
In Marshall, Minn., Main Street is rising up against a flurry of disability lawsuits

In Marshall, Minn., Main Street is rising up against a flurry of disability lawsuits

Nonprofit has sued businesses from Marshall to St. Paul
Stearns County man sentenced to 40 years for kidnapping, assault

Stearns County man sentenced to 40 years for kidnapping, assault

"Dangerous offender" statute applied in Stearns County case.
Minneapolis cop under investigation by federal authorities

Minneapolis cop under investigation by federal authorities

Michael Griffin, a patrol officer, has been the subject of 22 internal affairs investigations since 2007.
Minneapolis police officer with two costly lawsuits has record of complaints

Minneapolis police officer with two costly lawsuits has record of complaints

All but three of the complaints against officer Michael Griffin, a patrol officer on the North Side, have been closed with no discipline; three cases are still under investigation.

U.S. Appeals Court rules in favor of Indian band over Duluth gaming proceeds

A federal appeals court Friday reversed a lower-court ruling that ordered the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to pay Duluth some…
3 charged in killing of Minnesota farm couple in their 70s

3 charged in killing of Minnesota farm couple in their 70s

The Hivelys were born, raised and married in Lyon County. And then they died there, both shot in their home of 45 years. By the time the bodies were found, the house had been torched.
Controversial Houston County frac sand mine gets day in appeals court

Controversial Houston County frac sand mine gets day in appeals court

Houston County mine owners reject restrictions over trout stream.
Opiate OD deaths drop in Hennepin County, rise in Ramsey County

Opiate OD deaths drop in Hennepin County, rise in Ramsey County

Overdose deaths from heroin and other opiates fell in Hennepin County last year for the first time since 2010, according to a local drug trends report issued Monday.
Part 4: Minneapolis teen struggles to avoid line of fire

Part 4: Minneapolis teen struggles to avoid line of fire

Part 4: One family shows how the threat of illegal firearms hangs over life on North Side.
Part 3: Illegal gun market thrives in Minn.; penalties light

Part 3: Illegal gun market thrives in Minn.; penalties light

Federal law enforcement officials say their limited presence in the state and significant constraints in federal law present serious obstacles to cracking down on illegal gun trafficking.
Part 2: One stolen gun blazes violent path

Part 2: One stolen gun blazes violent path

Thousands of illegal guns flood city streets, moving easily from hand to hand.
March 17: A gun at 14, then a senseless killing

March 17: A gun at 14, then a senseless killing

Two young lives are swept away in Minneapolis by a relentless flow of illegal firearms.
State champion jack pine in Mountain Iron felled by loggers

State champion jack pine in Mountain Iron felled by loggers

The tree would have held the national title but was cut down to make room for a $40 million expansion of U.S. Steel's Minntac mine.
Tiny Tower, Minn., has big tourism hopes

Tiny Tower, Minn., has big tourism hopes

The little Iron Range town has spent $8 million so far hoping to lure boaters off Lake Vermilion to its harbor.

Detroit Lakes approves $11.8 million project, defying DNR

City Council approves the hotel-restaurant complex, in spite of a legal threat from the DNR.
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