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Tony Kennedy

Reporter | Investigative, General Assignment
phone: 612-673-4213
Tony Kennedy has been an investigative reporter at the Star Tribune since 2002. His work includes a 2012 collection of stories on executive compensation at the University of Minnesota; a four-part series on judicial penalties against BNSF Corp.; and an examination of factors leading to the collapse of the I-35W Bridge. Kennedy has uncovered corruption and lax oversight within Minnesota’s legal guardianship system for vulnerable adults, conflicts of interests that plagued Minnesota’s first lottery director at the time of his suicide in 2004 and the inside story of failure at Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Co. The St. Paul native holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University. He worked at the Frankfort (Ind.) Times, St. Cloud Times, Business Journal of Milwaukee and the Associated Press before joining the Star Tribune in 1991.
Recent content from Tony Kennedy
DNR issues citations after treaty rights challenge on Gull Lake

DNR issues citations after treaty rights challenge on Gull Lake

A treaty rights challenge by tribal members regarding wild rice harvesting broadened into a confrontation over netting on nearby Gull Lake, where two band members were issued citations.
Wild rice protest defused Thursday, may be revived Friday

Wild rice protest defused Thursday, may be revived Friday

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources defused a confrontation with Chippewa band members Thursday by issuing an unrequested one-day, special permit to harvest wild rice. But band members said the temporary move won't settle the treaty rights issue.
Obituary: Hockey star, sports buff Wade Wallen helped others with Huntington's disease

Obituary: Hockey star, sports buff Wade Wallen helped others with Huntington's disease

Huntington’s disease took its toll on Wade Wallen over the course of more than 12 years, leaving the former Bloomington Jefferson High School hockey star…
Wild rice showdown looms in northern Minnesota

Wild rice showdown looms in northern Minnesota

Chippewa band members push for off-reservation rights in 1855 Treaty territory.
Monarch butterfly rescue effort receives $20 million boost

Monarch butterfly rescue effort receives $20 million boost

Federal initiative follows a previously announced push by the White House.

Wisconsin county settles with frac sand firm over road damage

In an issue vexing many communities, Pepin County will get $480,334.
Green scum and fish kills have Albert Lea on edge

Green scum and fish kills have Albert Lea on edge

A revitalization of the area's waters will require reduced use of chemicals that seep off fields into local rivers and lakes, state officials say. But that argument is fueling sharp debate.
Judge denies media access to meeting on MN sex offenders

Judge denies media access to meeting on MN sex offenders

A federal judge has declined requests by the Star Tribune, New York Times and others to open the doors on a courthouse conference next week that he hopes will produce reforms of the troubled Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

Large fish kill in southern Minnesota trout stream is under investigation

State wildlife officials are investigating a large fish kill in southern Minnesota, along a designated trout stream on the South Branch Whitewater River just upstream…
Misconduct allegations 'dumbfounded' Nienstedt

Misconduct allegations 'dumbfounded' Nienstedt

The former archbishop denies allegations of personal misconduct that emerged last year during an internal church investigation of his behavior — a report that the archdiocese now is considering making public.
Wasps deployed in a sting operation against emerald ash borer

Wasps deployed in a sting operation against emerald ash borer

The beetle bandit wasp can help find infestations.
In farm country, tainted water is 'just the way it is'

In farm country, tainted water is 'just the way it is'

As costs climb to treat water, neighbors avoid blaming farmers.
Nienstedt accused of retaliating over rejected advance

Nienstedt accused of retaliating over rejected advance

A man who once studied under John Nienstedt to become a Catholic priest told investigators that Nienstedt made a sexual advance toward him and then expelled him from the seminary after being rebuffed.

After feedlot feud, a Minnesota citizens' board may bite the dust

After feedlot feud, Pollution Control Agency’s board became a lightning rod for agribusiness, GOP.

Nitrates from agriculture a 'growing threat' to Minnesota drinking water

Annual drinking water survey says supplies are safe overall, but finds need for prevention and vigilance.
Half of S. Minn. waters found too polluted for safe swimming, fishing

Half of S. Minn. waters found too polluted for safe swimming, fishing

Pollution pervasive in southern Minnesota, and growing worse, but waters in the state’s central and northeast regions are much cleaner.
Tainted drinking water costs Minn. taxpayers millions

Tainted drinking water costs Minn. taxpayers millions

Randall’s water emergency is the latest sign of an environmental problem in Minnesota. Nitrogen fertilizer is leaching into groundwater from farm fields, contaminating wells and costing taxpayers millions.

April 2: Small Minn. town's drinking water crisis highlights larger problem for state

High nitrate levels in Adrian, Minn., and several nearby towns are making water unsafe for babies, pregnant women.
Obituary: Ole Hage, proud concrete craftsman, kept it simple

Obituary: Ole Hage, proud concrete craftsman, kept it simple

The hands-on owner of Hage Concrete Works wanted to experience at least one more season of bidding jobs, making new friends and assisting his crews, but he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on March 17 at age 74.

Southern Minnesota farmer asks: Who's minding the feedlots?

Those regulating feedlots have ties to them, drawing lawsuits.

State sweep targets southern Minnesota farm wells

State steps up efforts to make sure excess water isn’t being drawn, especially by livestock industry.
Standoff over huge Minn. dairy opens new chapter in feedlot battle

Standoff over huge Minn. dairy opens new chapter in feedlot battle

Common to the battles is a concern that the feedlots will deplete local groundwater, spill manure into waterways and produce odors that spoil rural living.
Rules for sand mine companies are melting under pressure

Rules for sand mine companies are melting under pressure

Miining companies are leveraging jobs and money to exert their will in the small communities of southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, where a sand rush has led to the permitting of more than 100 facilities in the past four years.
DNR halts pines-to-potatoes conversion in central Minnesota

DNR halts pines-to-potatoes conversion in central Minnesota

Study could take up to a year and will look at potential threats to groundwater

Minnesota frac sand project, stalled by environmental issue, resurfaces

Minnesota Sands makes $130K payment to fund environmental impact statement.
Bankruptcy case brings financial fears for Catholic schools

Bankruptcy case brings financial fears for Catholic schools

Institutions hope troubles of archdiocese don’t impact them.

Sleepy Eye moose died from brain worm infection

Brain worm infection caused a young moose to wander far south of its normal range late last year, where it died on a farmstead near…
In protecting wolves, advocates seek middle ground

In protecting wolves, advocates seek middle ground

They worry that a court decision made in December will trigger a backlash in Congress.
Twin Cities Catholics brace for archdiocese bankruptcy fallout

Twin Cities Catholics brace for archdiocese bankruptcy fallout

Twin Cities Catholics going to mass this weekend saw something waiting for them along with the bulletins and hymnals — fliers explaining their church’s bankruptcy.
Archdiocese weighs bankruptcy, cites costs of sex abuse cases

Archdiocese weighs bankruptcy, cites costs of sex abuse cases

The report in the Catholic Spirit online newspaper says litigation claims are expected to grow beyond the $5.3 million the chancery has reserved for them. Only two cases have been settled so far.
Former archdiocese official vouched for accused priest

Former archdiocese official vouched for accused priest

Ex-vicar general helped out despite Rev. Michael Keating's record of abuse allegations.
Jan. 2014: Doubts shadowed St. Thomas priest on the rise

Jan. 2014: Doubts shadowed St. Thomas priest on the rise

Documents show the Rev. Michael Keating's career was advancing as investigators gathered information about alleged improprieties.
Oct. 15, 2013: Twin Cities woman sues Keating

Oct. 15, 2013: Twin Cities woman sues Keating

The Rev. Michael J. Keating, 57, a University of St. Thomas professor, has been accused of sexual contact with a 13-year-old Twin Cities girl more than a decade ago, and of then giving her his car when she confronted him about the incidents eight years later.
Minnesota invasive species effort hits resistance before it begins

Minnesota invasive species effort hits resistance before it begins

An effort going into effect this summer already is facing a repeal effort.
Flu outbreaks soared in Minnesota schools before winter break

Flu outbreaks soared in Minnesota schools before winter break

One child died during the week, the third such flu-related death of the season among Minnesotans under 18. Last year’s influenza season produced no flu-related deaths among Minnesota kids.
Aitkin County gets swamped by state wetlands rules

Aitkin County gets swamped by state wetlands rules

In an unintended consequence of a state law, 65 percent of Aitkin County is covered in wetlands, largely to accommodate mine expansions to the north.
U.S. court rules gray wolf hunts in Great Lakes states illegal

U.S. court rules gray wolf hunts in Great Lakes states illegal

Returning the wolf to “endangered” status ends three years of hunting in the region.
Obituary: Journalist, free-speech advocate Richard Kleeman loved to play with language

Obituary: Journalist, free-speech advocate Richard Kleeman loved to play with language

Living-room Scrabble games were vicious in the Kleeman home, where Dick Kleeman taught his children to love writing and language. An education and political reporter…
July 30: Portion of investigation of Nienstedt is complete

July 30: Portion of investigation of Nienstedt is complete

The archdiocese commissioned the investigation in an effort to address accusations received by the chancery as Nienstedt fended off mounting criticism over the church’s handling of other sexual misconduct cases.
Giant S.D. dairy farm threatens revived Minn. border lake town

Giant S.D. dairy farm threatens revived Minn. border lake town

Leaders of Hendricks, Minn., say the efforts to clean up their lake are threatened by a giant 4,000-cow dairy farm proposed just across the border in South Dakota, on top of the area’s highest hill.
Pilot program helps urban polluters clean up air, image

Pilot program helps urban polluters clean up air, image

Companies in Improving Minneapolis Air campaign are testing more, disclosing more to address urban air woes.

North Branch frac sand plant fined for excessive noise, air pollution

Tiller Corp. says it’s now in compliance with state regulations.
USDA extends habitat funding for honeybees

USDA extends habitat funding for honeybees

Minnesota and other Upper Midwest states to receive more money for the federal pilot project.
State considers banning class of pesticide to help bees

State considers banning class of pesticide to help bees

Public concern over the plight of honeybees caused the Ag Department to revise its study.

Wis. city's land grab to attract frac-sand mine is overruled by state agency

A Wisconsin city’s plan to annex a “balloon-on-a-string” strip for a mine could mean a setback for similar jurisdiction maneuvers.

Frac-sand firm cited in Wisconsin is wrong one

“We are pleased that the record has been corrected,’’ says Superior Silica Sands CEO.
Bee campaign takes flight for General Mills

Bee campaign takes flight for General Mills

Its Cascadian Farm unit began a campaign to help increase the insect’s failing population.

Wisconsin county shuts down frac-sand operation 'running wild'

Trempealeau County regulators say the rogue operation has been dumping polluted wastewater into an unlined pond.
Outstate cities plan to challenge state water regulations

Outstate cities plan to challenge state water regulations

Dozens of outstate cities contend the new clean-water regulations are excessive and complying with them could cost millions.
MNsure overhauls consumer outreach grants

MNsure overhauls consumer outreach grants

More than a dozen agencies have been cut from the roster of enrollment subcontractors after concluding that the $4.7 million outreach effort lacked proper oversight in 2014.
Mercury in St. Louis River sets off fight among state, tribes, groups

Mercury in St. Louis River sets off fight among state, tribes, groups

Critics say state is choosing industry over kids’ health by not going after sulfate discharged into the St. Louis River and North Shore.
Oct. 17, 2013: Priest sent e-mails expressing love to girl

Oct. 17, 2013: Priest sent e-mails expressing love to girl

In e-mails sent from Rome, he expressed his love and affection for teen girl he is accused of sexually abusing. His lawyer said claims were “discredited.”

Obituary: Patrica LaBerge, General Mills trailblazer, dies at 85

Business writers took notice in 1973 when Patricia Louise LaBerge was promoted to a corporate position at General Mills that no woman had ever held:…

Refinery fined $40,000 for toxic release into lagoon near Mississipi River

St. Paul Park plant discharged benzene into unlined lagoon.
DNR reconsiders opening state natural areas to hunting

DNR reconsiders opening state natural areas to hunting

The state Department of Natural Resources is changing course on a strategy to open more Scientific and Natural Areas to hunting and trapping, a high-ranking DNR official said Tuesday.
June 23: Minnesota DNR considers opening more rare natural sites to hunters

June 23: Minnesota DNR considers opening more rare natural sites to hunters

Former staffers Bob Djupstrom and Ellen Fuge lead fight to guard Minnesota’s 160 Scientific and Natural Areas from hunting and trapping. But three have already opened, and 10 more are under review for such a change.
Obituary: The Rev. Pat Malone, 55, walked with the poor

Obituary: The Rev. Pat Malone, 55, walked with the poor

Malone died July 22 in Omaha after a 27-year fight against leukemia and related health problems.
June 8: Church helped abusive priest advise kids

June 8: Church helped abusive priest advise kids

The Rev. Timothy McCarthy was the “kids’ pastor” who wore sneakers under his vestments and dropped profanities into his sermons. Girls had crushes on him,…
Ely bear researcher says he'll be sidelined without DNR permit

Ely bear researcher says he'll be sidelined without DNR permit

Chief Administrative Law Judge Tammy Pust recommended that the DNR stick to its decision to deny the renewal of Lynn Rogers’ state research permit. Rogers plans to appeal
May 1: Judge chides DNR over Roigers' case

May 1: Judge chides DNR over Roigers' case

Chief Administrative Law Judge Tammy Pust says the agency withheld documents from Lynn Rogers as he seeks to win back his research credentials.
Obituary: Merrilyn Belgum, social worker, comic

Obituary: Merrilyn Belgum, social worker, comic

A master of the human condition from years of professional social work, Merrilyn Belgum switched careers at age 60 to tell jokes.Often referred to as…
Dayton says no to frac sand moratorium in southeastern Minn.

Dayton says no to frac sand moratorium in southeastern Minn.

Gov. Mark Dayton rebuffed a group of mining opponents who delivered a moratorium petition to St. Paul as part of an Earth Day rally at the Capitol.
Minnesota launches three-year debate: Deer vs. forests

Minnesota launches three-year debate: Deer vs. forests

Three-year discussion will decide how many deer are enough for hunters, too much for the woods.
March 13: Minnesota PCA delays ruling in wild rice-sulfate standoff

March 13: Minnesota PCA delays ruling in wild rice-sulfate standoff

The state Pollution Control Agency said it needs more time to study variables in wild rice production and water quality before proposing any new rules.
Archdiocese: Priest abuse victim later killed wife, committed suicide

Archdiocese: Priest abuse victim later killed wife, committed suicide

Local Catholic church officials have released new details about a pair of abusive priests showing that one priest was accused of sexually abusing a brain-injured woman and another sexually abused a boy who did not want his community to know what happened.
Minn.’s Environmental Quality Board offers model frac-sand regs

Minn.’s Environmental Quality Board offers model frac-sand regs

Environmentalists quickly derided the optional standards as too soft, and mining interests faulted them as overreaching.
Dec. 17, 2013: Archbishop denies allegations, steps aside

Dec. 17, 2013: Archbishop denies allegations, steps aside

Archbishop John Nienstedt vehemently denied the allegations and will remove himself from public ministry. St. Paul police say church officials aren't fully cooperating.
Obituary: Dick Gray, 95, co-founder of Freshwater Society

Obituary: Dick Gray, 95, co-founder of Freshwater Society

In the winter of 1968, a pollution-fed algal bloom on Lake Minnetonka turned the water bright red, causing consternation to people who lived nearby and…
Mom of 2 abused boys: Church trying to blame me

Mom of 2 abused boys: Church trying to blame me

Archdiocese says she knew abused boy’s visits with priest violated rules.
Abusive priest gets disability, support from archdiocese

Abusive priest gets disability, support from archdiocese

Star Tribune exclusive: Archdiocese gave pedophile salary, disability benefits, expenses and consulting work.
Archdiocese moves to block testimony in clergy abuse cases

Archdiocese moves to block testimony in clergy abuse cases

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis moved to block this week’s court order that Archbishop John Nienstedt testify about the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse cases and release the names of all local priests accused of sexually abusing children since 2004.
Archdiocese spent $8.8M on clergy misconduct; $3M deficit

Archdiocese spent $8.8M on clergy misconduct; $3M deficit

The first release of a detailed financial audit shows that even with insurance, the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis spent nearly $9 million on settlements, victim therapy and priest support.
Jan. 30: Wehmeyer case under review again

Jan. 30: Wehmeyer case under review again

Ramsey County officials said they are reviewing a document received after they cleared church officials.
Archdiocesan leaders avoid charges in two clergy misconduct cases

Archdiocesan leaders avoid charges in two clergy misconduct cases

Ramsey and Washington county attorneys declined to prosecute archdiocese leaders accused of failing to report sex abuse and porn.
Obituary: Michael Roan, peace and justice activist

Obituary: Michael Roan, peace and justice activist

Roan traveled the world for more than two decades, bringing Nobel Peace Prize winners to Minnesota for annual public discussions that built a global following.
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