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Maya Rao

Reporter | Regional
phone: 612-673-4210
Maya Rao covers regional issues in and around the state of Minnesota. She wrote for The Press of Atlantic City and The Philadelphia Inquirer before moving to Minnesota in January 2012.
Recent content from Maya Rao
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.

Feb. 24: American Indians' autopsy protests lead to a teachable moment

After scrambling to head off two autopsies, tribal advocates urge public officials to honor Indian religious traditions.
After restraining order, Clarkfield, Minn., is a town without a mayor

After restraining order, Clarkfield, Minn., is a town without a mayor

A restraining order is keeping Albert Gates away from city meetings until June.

Rural schools struggle to pay for transportation

Transportation funding falls short at many vast outstate school districts.
South Dakota sends speed limits shooting up to 80 mph

South Dakota sends speed limits shooting up to 80 mph

It's the latest state to kick up the speed on interstates. But safety experts warn that increased speed brings increased crashes and fatalities.
Somalis upset as racial unrest builds at St. Cloud Tech High

Somalis upset as racial unrest builds at St. Cloud Tech High

Somali students upset by being spit on while praying and other bullying.
Somali students protest in St. Cloud

Somali students protest in St. Cloud

100 students leave Tech High School over alleged racism on social media.
Alarm grows over explosion of meth in western Wisconsin

Alarm grows over explosion of meth in western Wisconsin

Cheap and easy to get, it has made a big comeback in western Wisconsin.
Controversy over fired assistant principal roils Hibbing school district

Controversy over fired assistant principal roils Hibbing school district

Jac Fleming was forced to resign in August, after a yearlong state investigation found probable cause that he had discriminated against female students. But an arbitrator Services later ruled that Fleming be reinstated.
East Grand Forks grapples with a $510,000 mistake with loan

East Grand Forks grapples with a $510,000 mistake with loan

City Council takes no action against firm of mayor’s brother.
Grand Marais farmer faces off with state over raw milk

Grand Marais farmer faces off with state over raw milk

David Berglund argues that state Agriculture Department regulators are intruding on his constitutional rights.
Minnesota college tragedies: Drunk, frozen and underage

Minnesota college tragedies: Drunk, frozen and underage

Accidents involving drunk students freezing to death have shaken campuses in Minneapolis, Duluth, La Crosse and beyond, but particularly here, at this 5,000-student campus along the shores of Lake Bemidji.
Jan. 21: Nelson pleads guilty to lesser charge; maximum of 90 days

Jan. 21: Nelson pleads guilty to lesser charge; maximum of 90 days

Philip Nelson was facing up to 20 years in prison and a ruined athletic career after he took part in a drunken fight that nearly killed another man. On Wednesday, he got his future back.

A closely watched fight brewing over nitrates in Iowa water

Iowa water utility threatens to sue three counties over fertilizer runoff.
Twin Cities hospitals are front line in treating Bakken burn victims

Twin Cities hospitals are front line in treating Bakken burn victims

Burn injuries among North Dakota workers have surged to more than 3,100 over the past five years. The Twin Cities have the closest burn centers.

Another defamation suit in Cold Spring murder case

Ryan Larson sues a Sauk Rapids officer who posted on Facebook that he was likely involved in Thomas Decker’s death.
Despite technology advances, space heaters still spark fires

Despite technology advances, space heaters still spark fires

Despite better technology, units can still spark tragedy if not operated properly.
Osakis school investigates photo of teen tied up during class

Osakis school investigates photo of teen tied up during class

The Osakis, Minn., School District is investigating allegations that bullies tied up a high school student with an electrical cord during class while a teacher…
Apple Valley 'apparent murder-suicide' involved two adults, one child

Apple Valley 'apparent murder-suicide' involved two adults, one child

A next-door neighbor who discovered the bodies and notified police said Sunday that the deceased were David Crowley, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter. Police said they didn’t know how long the bodies had been there, but the neighbor theorized it may have been since before Christmas.
Donald Kahn, U professor and husband of Rep. Phyllis Kahn, dies

Donald Kahn, U professor and husband of Rep. Phyllis Kahn, dies

University of Minnesota math Prof. Donald Kahn, husband of longtime state Rep. Phyllis Kahn, died unexpectedly Friday night. The couple had been married for 58…

Carbon monoxide deaths surge in Minnesota; two Lindstrom women are latest victims

Twenty-two people died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning last year, according to a preliminary calculation by the Department of Health. That’s the highest number since at least the 1990s.
For snowmobilers, 2014 was a deadly year

For snowmobilers, 2014 was a deadly year

The 15 deaths were the highest since 2010; speed and alcohol among the leading factors.

Uptown health center closing doors for good

Neighborhood Involvement Program offered low-cost dental, medical, mental health services.
Claremont struggles to draw interest in land giveaway

Claremont struggles to draw interest in land giveaway

The city literally can’t even give away lots to attract new residents
Livestock see massive casualties in Upper Midwest farm fires

Livestock see massive casualties in Upper Midwest farm fires

Farmers and safety groups are at odds over how to prevent casualties.

Two men die after being swept away in Lake Superior

Man, 40, goes into Lake Superior to cool off and is swept away by large waves; a second man, 66, dies during a rescue attempt.
Minnesota's oldest resident dies at 114

Minnesota's oldest resident dies at 114

Minnesota’s oldest resident was an enthusiastic user of technology right up until she died in her sleep Sunday at age 114.
Obituary: Frances Naftalin, Minneapolis Library Board member and mayor's wife

Obituary: Frances Naftalin, Minneapolis Library Board member and mayor's wife

Frances Naftalin, the wife of former Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin and an avid reader whose passion for books and public service led her to preside…
Jewel thieves make off with $500K in sparkly spoils

Jewel thieves make off with $500K in sparkly spoils

Thieves allegedly tailed a van of jewelers 350 miles from a Chicago trade show — then nabbed them at an interstate rest stop near Rochester and escaped with at least $500,000 in jewels.
Cash from Bakken oil boom can make college a tough sell

Cash from Bakken oil boom can make college a tough sell

In face of Bakken oil boom, Williston State College offers free tuition to boost enrollment numbers.
Thanksgiving weekend now most dangerous on Minnesota roads

Thanksgiving weekend now most dangerous on Minnesota roads

“Blackout Wednesday” and distracted drivers make Thanksgiving a dangerous time to drive.
Rochester becoming a hot market for foreign investors

Rochester becoming a hot market for foreign investors

Mayo’s expansion is driving more deals, higher valuations.
Bakken truckers often 'haul heavy'

Bakken truckers often 'haul heavy'

Overweight loads pose significant safety risks on crowded roads around the oil fields. And the frenzied pace of the industry and spotty enforcement by authorities have encouraged the rise of overloaded trucks.

Rochester police plan to target at-risk teens raises concerns

Rochester police are proposing the use of predictive analytics to identify at-risk teens, but community members have worries.
'Brewcations' encourage tourists to visit Minnesota breweries

'Brewcations' encourage tourists to visit Minnesota breweries

As breweries open and expand around the region, and interest in craft beer intensifies, Minnesota tourism leaders are trying to encourage people to travel farther to experience them.
Aug. 16: Downtown bars, clubs face patchwork of security rules

Aug. 16: Downtown bars, clubs face patchwork of security rules

Minneapolis regulators negotiate array of conditions with owners after violent incidents and shootings. Police are still looking for a suspect in the 400 Soundbar shooting last weekend.
May 28: Minneapolis restaurants push for change in alcohol rules

May 28: Minneapolis restaurants push for change in alcohol rules

Minneapolis works with bars, restaurants to adjust laws that require a majority of sales from food – tough in era of craft beer.
American Indians in South Dakota slip through cracks of health overhaul

American Indians in South Dakota slip through cracks of health overhaul

Nine months after Obama’s health care law expanded medical coverage for millions of people, the promised benefits are slow to reach some Indians, who already face disproportionately high rates of obesity, diabetes and mental health problems.
Wisconsin, 10 other states join list where gay couples can marry

Wisconsin, 10 other states join list where gay couples can marry

Move will make it legal for about 60 percent of the U.S.

Superior rocked by robbery that turned into fatal shooting

In a quiet Wisconsin town with few homicides, a robbery ends with a slain victim.
Cambridge school principal charged with stalking, disorderly conduct

Cambridge school principal charged with stalking, disorderly conduct

Woman said Cambridge official was intoxicated.

Missing Pine County children are found in Kansas

Two children are set to return home to Pine County after their father, Peter Kunze, was taken into custody in Kansas nearly two weeks after…
Record harvest raises risk of more grain bin accidents this year

Record harvest raises risk of more grain bin accidents this year

Record crop, delayed shipments raise the risk of more Midwest farm accidents this year.
Lower Wisconsin minimum wage affects border towns

Lower Wisconsin minimum wage affects border towns

While Minnesota’s higher minimum wage took effect last month, Wisconsin has kept its base rate of $7.25 for most workers and a third of that for tipped employees.
City parking ramp at Walker Art Gallery a loser for taxpayers

City parking ramp at Walker Art Gallery a loser for taxpayers

After a decade, the ramp at Walker Art Center is not meeting projections.

Uptown's Neighborhood Involvement Program to stop seeing medical patients

The Minneapolis community clinic cited “extra­ordi­nary fi­nan­cial” prob­lems brought on by the na­tion­al health care over­haul. Den­tal and men­tal health ser­vices will re­main open.

Aug. 20: Minneapolis works with utilities on being green

New arrangements could help the city meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Minneapolis Uptown vibe goes upscale with high-end luxury rentals

Minneapolis Uptown vibe goes upscale with high-end luxury rentals

Explosive growth has raised concerns over whether more affordable housing is needed and prompted worries that the very people who give Uptown its hip and funky vibe could be priced out.
Hodges proposes 2.4% levy increase, more spending on public safety

Hodges proposes 2.4% levy increase, more spending on public safety

Plan would target more spending on public safety.

Plans for North Side workforce center pick up steam

A project to transform a decrepit building on W. Broadway into a workforce training center and retail shops is closer to getting about $500,000 in…

Minnesota House races cause intraparty spats

One contest in each party has drawn attention from beyond Minnesota.
Race reshaping debate at Mpls City Hall

Race reshaping debate at Mpls City Hall

Minneapolis, with a close eye on how even the most routine practices affect minority groups, is hoping to make workforce more diverse.
Noor, Kahn go door to door to make their final pitch

Noor, Kahn go door to door to make their final pitch

The Minneapolis legislative candidates are making late pitches to voters one at a time.
W. Broadway is still waiting for a revival to take hold

W. Broadway is still waiting for a revival to take hold

Minneapolis city officials and developers are targeting empty spaces along the North Side corridor as debates are playing out at City Hall and in the local neighborhoods about whether those are the kind of fixes Broadway truly needs. Already, the city has poured $14.3 million into the area over the last five years and several new projects are underway.
For victims, tainted peanut butter trial a chance for justice

For victims, tainted peanut butter trial a chance for justice

Tainted peanut butter killed three Minnesotans six years ago. Now, the trial against food executives brings hope of justice.
After shying away from the spotlight, Hodges faces her first big test

After shying away from the spotlight, Hodges faces her first big test

After low-key first few months in office, mayor faces challenge and opportunity as she hammers out initial budget.
July 16: Court sides with Kahn in election judge dispute

July 16: Court sides with Kahn in election judge dispute

City moved election judge to area where she won’t have contact with voters.
May 15, 2013: $60,000 reward for Terrell Mayes' killer

May 15, 2013: $60,000 reward for Terrell Mayes' killer

A significant reward is being offered for information that would solve who fatally shot 3-year-old Terrell Mayes Jr. in his north Minneapolis home on the day after Christmas in 2011.
Minneapolis mayor launches Best Week of Bragging Ever

Minneapolis mayor launches Best Week of Bragging Ever

With All-Star fans pouring into town, Betsy Hodges is urging folks to take to social media to show off the city.
July 8: Legal disputes escalate in Kahn-Noor race

July 8: Legal disputes escalate in Kahn-Noor race

DFL primary for legislative post has divided Minneapolis’ Somali-American community.

Minneapolis residents to vote on $500 fee to run for mayor

Move follows a crowded Mpls. mayor’s race with 35 last year.
Minneapolis goes the distance for its asphalt

Minneapolis goes the distance for its asphalt

The plant just around the corner from Minneapolis’ public works yard can churn out 175 tons of hot asphalt an hour – but very little of it ends up on city streets.
Landlord Steve Meldahl is Minneapolis' biggest challenger

Landlord Steve Meldahl is Minneapolis' biggest challenger

Steve Meldahl has persisted despite bankruptcy, an unfavorable ruling from a state appeals judge last year, and countless afternoons mired in municipal minutiae that take him away from his business of running investment properties.
Minneapolis Mayor Hodges forms Cradle to K Cabinet

Minneapolis Mayor Hodges forms Cradle to K Cabinet

A team of experts will look at how to improve the lives of children of color by focusing on their early health and education.
Minneapolis planners halt plans for Somali mall expansion

Minneapolis planners halt plans for Somali mall expansion

Parking and traffic issues have struck the mall at E. 24th Street and 10th Avenue S. particularly hard in recent years. Somali-American shopkeepers even raised the matter to Mayor Betsy Hodges when she visited last month.
Reporter never knew she had Minn. roots until job brought her … home

Reporter never knew she had Minn. roots until job brought her … home

On a Midwestern odyssey, a woman from the East Coast discovers her Minnesota roots ­­— and a deeper connection to the power of family.
Maya Rao - My Perfect Saturday - 2014 Best of MN

Maya Rao - My Perfect Saturday - 2014 Best of MN

While I love grand adventures that take me new places, sometimes the perfect Saturday involves no innovation, unfolding along one mile-long stretch of Uptown.

Minneapolis considers plan to limit foam takeout boxes

A proposal restricts the use hard-to-recycle containers.
Where has all the trash gone? Minneapolis eyes 'zero waste'

Where has all the trash gone? Minneapolis eyes 'zero waste'

Minneapolis officials are taking early steps toward joining ­Seattle and San Francisco in becoming “zero waste” cities where just about every scrap of trash is recycled.

ACLU sues Minneapolis over All-Star Game 'clean zone'

It is suing Minneapolis on behalf of a planned street festival.
Mpls. Council president frustrated, angry over racial equity plan

Mpls. Council president frustrated, angry over racial equity plan

In a rare display of emotion, Barb Johnson said she’s frustrated and angry at the time City Hall employees are spending on a plan to close racial disparities, noting the rampant gunshots and other problems afflicting her North Side ward.
Building addition collapses at Somali mall in south Minneapolis

Building addition collapses at Somali mall in south Minneapolis

Part of a building near Lake Street and Pillsbury Avenue gave way around 8:45 a.m.
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