Staff Directory 6370493

Joel Rippel

News Assistant | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4684
Recent content from Joel Rippel
Seven-time WNBA All-Star Tina Charles, left, leads the league in scoring in her first season with the Mystics, but Washington has lost five of its fir

Gameday: Lynx at Washington

The Lynx look to even up their record on the road against a Mystics team struggling without the injured Elena Delle Donne.
Liberty coach Walt Hopkins reacted to a call by an official during a game in the WNBA bubble last year in Bradenton, Fla.

Gameday preview: Lynx vs. Liberty

The Lynx head on the road for the first time this season, facing an old friend.
Gophers coach Piper Ritter talked to pitcher Amber Fiser and catcher Sara Kinch earlier this season.

U softball team meets Fresno State to open NCAA tournament

The Gophers will be part of a douvle-eliminationregional in Los Angeles with UCLA, the No. 2 overall seed, and Long Beach State.
Max Meyer pitched for the Gophers during a game in 2019.

Former Gophers pitcher Max Meyer has strong debut

The Miami Marlins prospect from Woodbury threw five scoreless innings for Class AA Pensacola, giving uo only one hit.
Duane Blaska, shown here in 1961, was called the most improved player on the team in 1962 by legendary head coach Murray Warmath.

Blaska, Gophers QB from '60s heyday, dies at age 79

After backing up Sandy Stephens on the 1960 and 1961 teams that advanced to the Rose Bowl, Duane Blaska became the Gophers starting quarterback in 1962. A loss to Wisconsin in the season finale prevented the Gophers from a third consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl.
CARLOS GONZALEZ • Star Tribune Gophers second baseman Zack Raabe batted .463 last year in a pandemic shortened season.

Gophers baseball team has veteran squad for Anderson's 40th season

Minnesota will open with eight games at U.S. Bank Stadium, beginning Friday against Indiana. Thirty-one players return from the 2020 team, including starters at all but one position.
CARLOS GONZALEZ • Star Tribune Gophers head coach John Anderson.

Gophers baseball coach John Anderson by the numbers

40: Seasons, counting this year, as the Gophers baseball coach for John Anderson. He is the longest-tenured coach in University of Minnesota history. Ralph Piper…
Amber Fiser returns to the Gophers with a 82-26 career record and 1.60 ERA.

Gophers softball enters season with a new coach and loaded roster

Ranked as high as No. 19 nationally, Minnesota opens its first season under Piper Ritter on Friday against Maryland in Leesburg, Fla.
Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman waved to the crowd after blowing the Gjallarhorn before the Vikings vs. Bears game at TCF Bank Stadium on De

Sid Hartman, Kobe Bryant and so many more: the sporting lives we lost

Before 2020 becomes an object in our rearview mirrors, we offer a tribute to those we've lost this year who gave Minnesota sports so much.
Tom Hanneman (right, in 2012) became a TV and radio host and reporter on Minnesota Timberwolves broadcasts after 16 years at WCCO.

Popular FSN broadcaster Hanneman dies at age 68

"We're deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Tom Hanneman," FSN said in a statement.
Elmer Kohorst

Elmer Kohorst, athlete, coach and teacher, dies at 87

Elmer Kohorst was a standout high school baseball player when he was spotted by a major league baseball scout.The scout, Cy Slapnicka, who had signed…
Jon Hersch

Jon Hersch, hall of fame track coach and educator, dies of COVID-19 complications at 74

One of the highlights of his career was working as an official at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Mary Bright

Principal, mentor Mary Bright, who helped lead troubled youth and young athletes, dies at 57

  During more than three decades as a youth counselor and social worker, Mary Bright stood out for her empathy. “She was a great teammate,…
Wayne Erickson.

Longtime North St. Paul basketball and softball coach Erickson dies at 80

He is a member of the Minnesota Girls' Basketball Coaches Association and the Minnesota Softball Coaches Association halls of fame.
The University of Minnesota Gopher’s Emily Oden (21) and Gracie Ostertag (6) battle for a loose puck with Ohio State's Gabby Rosenthal during the 1s

Ohio State holds off U women's hockey for weekend series split

Ohio State scored twice in the game's first 10 minutes and held on to defeat the Gophers women's hockey team 2-1 Sunday.
Edina middle schoolers keep peers in the know with daily Philosopher's Papers

Edina middle schoolers keep peers in the know with daily Philosopher's Papers

During the recent rancorous election cycle, two Edina middle school students launched a free online newspaper to give their peers another choice for news.
September 1, 1965: Gophers quarterback John Hankinson (left), with three of his top receivers.

Hankinson, former Gophers quarterback, dies at 77

John Hankinson was a record-setting passer for the Gophers in the mid-1960s.
July 4, 1961: Manager Sam Mele hugs Julio Becquer

Julio Becquer, member of Twins' first team in 1961, dies at 88

Becquer's ninth-inning pinch hit grand slam on July 4, 1961 is part of franchise lore. His post-baseball career was known for his community service with the Twins.
Corbin McCall.

When COVID sent him home from school, school recruited him to work on the virus

When students at the University of Minnesota, Morris, were forced to finish their spring semester remotely because of the COVID-19 virus, Corbin McCall returned to St. Paul determined to deal with the situation in a positive way.
Eagle Scout Isabella Tunney

Minneapolis teen girl breaks down barriers to become a rare Eagle Scout

Isabella Tunney's weekend activities have been tied to her pursuit of earning all 137 merit badges — in categories ranging from American business to woodworking.
Ellie Meyer, center, in a MIAC championship game, was an All-America team member in volleyball and nominated by the MIAC for NCAA Woman of the Year. �

St. Thomas grad sees her field of dentistry as way to bring health to all

The biology major's goals have not wavered as she starts her first year at the Marquette University School of Dentistry, where she will focus on antibiotic resistance.
The Gophers’ Terrin Vavra rounded the bases after hitting a home run against Purdue during the 2018 Big Ten championship game in Omaha.

Ex-Gophers standout Terrin Vavra dealt from Colorado to Baltimore

The Rockies sent him to the Orioles as part of a package for reliever Mychal Givens.
Addie Fenster, 7, has made a new friend thanks to a pen pal program created by Augustana Care senior housing to combat social isolation.

COVID-inspired pen pals, 7 and 73, bond over letters and love of art

The program was started in March to help residents at a senior apartment building deal with isolation due to COVID-19.
George Smilanich

George Smilanich, Iron Range veteran, teacher and coach, dies at 98

After four years in his first teaching and coaching job in Illinois, George Smilanich was offered a teaching job in his hometown of Buhl, Minn.…
Kenneth Bergstedt

Longtime Roseville wrestling coach dies of COVID-19 complications at 97

Kenneth Bergstedt started the wrestling program at Roseville's Alexander Ramsey High School in 1953 — the school's first year — and taught at the school for 32 years.
Melvin Hougen

Melvin Hougen, WWII veteran who worked in lumber industry, dies at 101

Melvin Hougen was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and distinguished service in the Army during World War II.But he didn't talk about it."He remained…
Frances Callaghan

Wayzata special education teacher Frances Callaghan dies at 91

"She never stopped the push for recognition for students with needs," a former St. Cloud State professor said.
Richard Brubacher

Richard Brubacher, administrator who served GOP, DFL governors, dies at 90

Richard Brubacher, who grew up in a small farming community in southern Minnesota, had a lengthy career in municipal and county government in the Twin…
John O’Shaughnessy

Entrepreneur and philanthropist John O'Shaughnessy Jr. dies at 80

John F. O'Shaughnessy Jr. inherited a passion for philanthropy.His grandfather, a prosperous St. Paul businessman in the first half of the 20th century, established a…
Larry Johnson of Cologne, Minn., former farmer and early supporter of ethanol, shown in 2012.

Larry Johnson, Minnesota farmer known as the 'Ethanol Answer Man,' dies at 76

Johnson spent nine years on the board of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and served as the group's president in 1985.
Robert Healy

Robert Healy, adept in finances and Frisbee, dies at 84

"He was very good at his profession," his daughter said. "But he didn't take himself seriously. He did not sweat anything."
Andrew Benjamin

Andrew Benjamin, accountant and volunteer who prepared thousands of tax returns, dies at 85

Not many people look forward to the annual obligation of filing a tax return. Andrew Benjamin relished tax season. “He loved preparing taxes,” said Katy…
Gae Pearl

Gae Pearl, women's clothing designer, dies of COVID-19 complications at 87

In August 1965, Gae Pearl helped a Minneapolis apparel company pull off a fashion coup. Pearl, a clothing designer, designed coats that were purchased by…
Granville “Granny” Smith

Granville 'Granny' Smith, Park High teacher and coach, dies at 98

Smith began teaching in the fall 1945, retiring from full-time teaching in 1983 and serving as a substitute teacher at the school until 1990.
Robert Keane

Robert Keane, an engineer turned priest, dies at 95

At age 49, Keane made a profound career change.
Paul Verret

Longtime St. Paul Foundation leader Paul Verret dies at 79

"He played a big role in so many projects in St. Paul," said former St. Paul Mayor George Latimer.
Artist-golfer Bud Chapman posed in front of paintings of his fantasy golf course in 1978.

'18 Infamous Golf Holes' painter Bud Chapman dies at 97

In the early 1970s, Bud Chapman took a break from his career as a commercial artist to hunt for treasure. His subsequent unsuccessful search for…
Dr. Harold Panuska

Harold Panuska, Minnesota oral surgeon and volunteer in Honduras, dies at 91

For nearly 40 years, the International Health Service has provided dental, medical and eye care services in the Central American country.
Artist-golfer Loyal (Bud) Chapman posed in front of paintings of his fantasy golf course in 1978. Chapman, a Minnesota Golf Hall of Famer, died at age

Golf legend Bud Chapman dies at 97

He was a member of the Minnesota Golf Hall of Fame and the artist of the "Infamous Golf Holes."
Adwina Jackson Baptiste, educator and poet, dies of COVID-19 complications at 71

Adwina Jackson Baptiste, educator and poet, dies of COVID-19 complications at 71

Adwina Jackson Baptiste always emphasized two things to her three children. “Faith and the pursuit of knowledge,” said daughter Alicia Ayodele of New Hope. “They…
Ron Ricketts

Ron Ricketts, Minnesota Orchestra trombonist who played with top bands in the 1960s, dies at 87

Ricketts also taught at the University of Minnesota School of Music.
Donald Carruth.

Donald Carruth, longtime musician and Minnetonka Public Schools educator, dies at 106

Education, music and sports were lifelong passions for Don Carruth.After surviving a life-threatening illness as a child, Carruth, the youngest of 11 siblings, became the…
Rose-Mary Utne

Rose-Mary Utne, Minnesota teacher, coach and artist, dies at 93

The "tough old Ranger" was a woman of many talents and interests: a teacher and coach, politician and artist.
Dwight Brown

University of Minnesota geography Prof. Dwight Brown dies at age 83

Brown's nearly five-decade career at the U was fueled by his own curiosity.
Alden “Al” Hylland

Alden 'Al' Hylland, longtime MnDOT manager, dies at 87

Much of his work involved environmental impact statements and attending public hearings to get feedback.
Fred Friswold.

Fred Friswold, who 'flunked retirement' and spearheaded key U projects, dies at 83

Fred Friswold showed an interest in community service at an early age. He was a sixth-grader at Keewaydin Elementary School in south Minneapolis when he…
Cleo Herrera, who worked to protect children, dies of COVID-19 complications at 82

Cleo Herrera, who worked to protect children, dies of COVID-19 complications at 82

As a single mother in her 30s with six children, Cleo Herrera set a lasting example for her family when she earned a master’s degree…
Russ Bauer.

Hardworking salvage yard operator Russ Bauer dies at 80

A couple of years ago, Russ Bauer and his wife, Judy, contemplating retirement, bought a house in Arizona."But my grandpa wasn't ready to slow down,"…
Jill Lewis

Jill Lewis, who helped make Dakota County a better place, dies at 74

Over the past 45 years, organizations in Dakota County came to know they could rely on Jill Lewis. "She was very devoted to anything she…
Rod Leonard

Minnesotan Rod Leonard, national policymaker and food safety advocate, dies at 90

After he assumed office in January 1961, President John Kennedy tasked a member of his Cabinet to develop a program to address the poverty and…
Dick Garmaker (shown in a 1955 game against Indiana), a consensus All-America basketball player for the Gophers who went on to play six seasons in the

Garmaker, former Gophers All-America basketball star, dies at 87

Dick Garmaker was also a four-time NBA All-Star, playing for the Minneapolis Lakers and Knicks in the late '50s and early '60s.
As a Gophers hockey player, Dave Preuss scored a goal against the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

David Preuss, former Gophers hockey player, dies at 56

Preuss made an immediate impression as a freshman, but his promising hockey career would end prematurely because of a freak injury.
Doug Adkins

Doug Adkins, 'superstar' advertising executive, dies at 53

The "Get to know 'em" campaign for the 2001 Twins, produced by a team led by Adkins, turned out to be immensely popular.
Laurie Hanson happily embraces her nickname “Trash Lady of Ramsey.”

Ramsey runner gets in miles and picks up piles of trash, too

Meet the person that people call the "Trash Lady of Ramsey."
Kurt BlueDog

American Indian leader and lawyer Kurt BlueDog dies at 70

He assisted in drafting legislation that became the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and was a consistent voice nationally.
Dr. James Meyer

Dr. James Meyer, longtime Twin Cities urologist, dies at 80

He worked his way through his undergraduate years at St. John's by playing saxophone in a big band. Outside of work, he was avid about fitness.
Terrell Towers

Terrell Towers, who worked behind scenes to help Minnesota businesses grow, dies at 73

His civil service career spanned more than three decades, including two stints in state economic offices and a stint with a Minneapolis city agency.
James (Jay) Perrill

James Perrill, visionary businessman, dies at 53

Innovative and bold, the University of Minnesota grad embraced the internet early on.
Dennis Erickson.

Dennis Erickson, a championship high school volleyball coach, dies of COVID-19 complications at 83

  The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) girls state volleyball tournament was in its infancy when coach Dennis Erickson and his Robbinsdale Armstrong volleyball…
Rosalie Kane

Rosalie Kane, professor of social work and expert on aging, dies at 79

Rosalie Kane made an indelible mark in the world of social work and the study of aging. Last fall, the National Association of Social Workers…
Larry Laukka.

Larry Laukka, Twin Cities real estate developer, dies at 84

  The University of Minnesota Alumni Association had wanted to build a permanent home on campus for more than 30 years when alumnus and Twin…
John Weiland,

John Weiland, longtime General Mills employee and hockey referee, dies at 80

He helped save a snowmobiler on Lake Minnetonka, and that man named his first son Weiland.
Frances Brown Paulu, who led Minnesota nonprofit with global focus, dies at 99

Frances Brown Paulu, who led Minnesota nonprofit with global focus, dies at 99

Through her work with international organizations, she traveled to 40 countries.
Dale Ackmann

Dale Ackmann, former Hennepin County administrator, dies at 85

During his public service career of high-profile jobs in Hennepin County government, Dale Ackmann preferred to stay out of the spotlight."He didn't try to take…
Dick Yates

Dick Yates, football player and longtime Minneapolis Park Board employee, dies at 88

In his three years on the varsity, he didn't appear in a game for the Gophers until the final seconds of the final game of his senior season.
New technical skills offered up by patient teens grant older adults exciting opportunities to keep in touch during COVID-19.

Twin Cities seniors stay connected through pandemic thanks to tech-savvy teens

Cyber-Seniors is a nonprofit that connects tech-literate teens with seniors to help them understand and use technology.
Rex Gaskill

Rex Gaskill, a longtime leader at Normandale Community College, dies at 77

Gaskil arrived at Normandale in 1973 and served a number of roles before retiring in 2012.
Orv Bies.

Orv Bies, teacher, coach and State High School League administrator, dies at 93

He is a member of five coaching or athletic halls of fame.
Former Gophers softball coach Jamie Trachsel will be making $245,000 annually as the new coach at Ole Miss.

Former U softball coach Trachsel gets big raise in Mississippi move

Former Gophers softball coach Jamie Trachsel turned down a one-year deal to stay. Ole Miss offered her a multi-year contract and a six-figure raise.
Thomas Tipton

Thomas Tipton Jr., businessman and gospel singer, dies at 86

He started singing at churches at age 4, but music took a back seat in early adulthood. That changed after he sang at Hubert Humphrey's funeral.
Former Gophers coach Jamie Trachsel.

Softball coach Trachsel rejects one-year offer, leaves U for Ole Miss

After she led the Gophers to the College World Series, the sides couldn't agree on a new contract.
Jamie Trachsel won 102 games in three seasons as Gophers coach.

Gophers softball coach Trachsel leaving for Ole Miss

JamieTrachsel, a Duluth native, led the Gophers to their first Women's College World Series appearance last year and is leaving after two seasons at the U.
Floyd Henderson

Floyd Henderson, Twin Cities research librarian, dies at 87

After a standout athletic record in high school in Oklahoma and at Valparaiso University in Indiana, he went on to a library career.
Kate Berman

Kate Berman, nonprofit executive and YWCA board chair, dies at 61

After three decades in corporate and nonprofit leadership positions, Kate Berman was a gifted mentor to other business executives on how to be more effective…
Longtime environmentalist Bryce Hamilton of Minneapolis was among a small group tapped to create the first Earth Day 50 years ago this month.

Minneapolis man among small group who started Earth Day 50 years ago

An oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969 helped spark the group.