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John Reinan

Reporter | Region & State
Phone: 612-673-7402
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

John Reinan is a news reporter covering Greater Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. For the Star Tribune, he's also covered the western Twin Cities suburbs, as well as marketing, advertising and consumer news. He's been a reporter for more than 20 years and also did a stint at a marketing agency.


Reinan has reported for seven newspapers from Alaska to Florida and points in between. A graduate of Fergus Falls High School and St. Olaf College, he usually can get within two degrees of connection to just about anyone in Minnesota. In his free time, he reads a lot of history, drives the historic Lake Harriet trolley in Minneapolis and plays the stand-up bass.
Recent content from John Reinan
Helping Hands of Alexandria volunteers and organizers said goodbye to CentraCare dialysis staff members after delivering gift cards, flowers and sweet

Thousands of helping hands rally to support Alexandria

The massive volunteer effort started with some friends getting together on Facebook to chat about what they could do to help their neighbors during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Fergus Falls woman gets 10 years in prison for abuse death of 6-year-old child

A Fergus Falls, Minn., woman was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for the death of a 6-year-old boy she abused while taking care…
Mel Jacobson, left, with neighbor Rod Hyde, abandoned Minnetonka for his cabin across the St. Croix River to wait out the virus pandemic.

Minnesotans hunker down at cabins to escape coronavirus

Despite concerns of year-round residents, some cabin owners head north to wait out the crisis
A worker wore a protective mask and gloves as he cleaned the light-rail platform outside Union Depot on Saturday in St. Paul.

As stay-at-home order takes hold in Minnesota, the streets go quiet

In a region embarking on a deep lockdown to keep a potentially deadly virus at bay, the mood was solemn and subdued, the landscape a still life largely devoid of humans and hundreds of businesses dark.
The historic Calumet Inn in Pipestone, Minn., is the subject of a fierce fight between its owner and local officials who have shut down the landmark h

Historic Calumet Inn in Pipestone shuts down in fierce fight between owner and city

In "absolute shock," owner Tammy Grubbs says the city acted illegally in condemning the property.
Diana Neidecker and her spouse Blake Ward, who started filling the little free library outside their home with grocery items on Monday to help those i

Enter the heroes: Ordinary Minnesotans do extraordinary things

The COVID-19 crisis has many Minnesotans rushing to help friends, neighbors and strangers.
These baby black bear cubs were rescued from a northwest Minnesota farm after their mother was injured by a combine harvesting corn.

Tiny bear cubs rescued in northwest Minnesota after mother struck by combine

Weighing only 5 pounds now, the cubs will be freed next spring.
The Roseau Stone had been at the University of Minnesota for years, but it is back at its place of origin and will be on display at the Roseau County

Another Minn. runestone? Mysterious stone lost for decades returns to Roseau

Are its odd markings natural, or carved by someone long ago?
Colten Treu was led into Chippewa County Court for a preliminary hearing, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Wis. man gets 54-year sentence in roadside deaths of Girl Scouts

Wisconsin man was high when he ran down three girls and a parent in 2018.
Osceola High School, in Osceola, Wis., was closed Tuesday for cleaning after someone testing positive for the coronavirus attended a function Saturday

Osceola, Wis., schools to resume Wednesday after scrubbing and cleaning

They had been closed Tuesday after a visitor tested positive for the coronavirus.
"You can take Winona out of Winona..." Ryder ponders while lying in a snowbank under the Winona, Minn. welcome sign.

Winona's Super Bowl ad felt more like 'Fargo,' residents say

City has launched marketing campaign to counter Super Bowl spot.
A major fire tore through downtown Alexandria, Minn., Tuesday morning. About 120 firefighters from Alexandria and surrounding communities were on the

Alexandria mourns loss of 4 historic buildings in downtown fire

A major fire tore through downtown Alexandria, Minn., Tuesday morning and destroyed historic buildings and forced the evacuation of about two dozen residents who lived above stores.
Fire investigators have turned the Northern Metal property back over to the company after a massive fire last week, Becker Police Chief Brent Baloun s

Investigators exit scene of massive recycling plant fire

Northern Metal has been cited for another fire code violation at its north Minneapolis location, where it has been storing junked vehicles during its move to the Becker site.
A Chisago County woman shut herself inside a gun safe similar to this one.

Pursued by deputies, Chisago County woman shuts herself in gun safe

Chisago County woman found hiding in gun safe, "sweating profusely."
More than 100 fire crews responded to the Becker fire, which was reported early Tuesday morning and burned for more than 48 hours before it was contai

Citing imminent danger, state shuts down Becker recycling company

The metal recycler is told to freeze its operations until it assesses environmental damage after a massive fire and gets a cleanup plan.
The fire at Northern Metal Recycling in Becker burned for days but was largely under control — and under ice — Thursday morning.

Firefighters contain intense blaze at Becker recycling plant

City now its turns attention to air and water quality concerns.
Junked autos at Northern Metal Recycling in Becker, Minn., were encased in ice from firefighters’ efforts Wednesday morning.

Becker schools to close today as pile of cars still burns at recycling plant

Firefighting crews were trying to separate a portion of the burning stack of vehicles in hopes that the blaze would eventually die out.
Glen Davis, who drove a school bus for 55 years, wanted to be buried in a school bus casket. So the local funeral director made one for him.

Beloved Minnesota school bus driver gets his wish: a school bus casket

Glen Davis, who drove a school bus for 55 years, will be buried this week in a special yellow coffin.
The smiley-faced water tower in Freeport, Minn., has been a landmark on Interstate 94 for nearly 50 years. Now its future is in doubt.

Iconic smiley water tower faces uncertain future in Freeport, Minn.

How much is a smile worth? The city of Freeport, Minn., is a­bout to find out.For half a cen­tu­ry now, travelers on busy In­ter­state 94…
Deneal Trueblood wrote, directed and is starring in a play about her life, which includes a four-year prison sentence.

From prison to playwright: Mpls. woman is 'a voice for those who don't have one'

Deneal Trueblood, a 48-year-old senior at Metropolitan State University is directing and starring in "Secrets," a play she wrote abut her life-changing experience.
A $3 million gift to the Animal Humane Society will help build a new animal care campus in St. Paul.

Former Toro CEO gives Humane Society $3 million, largest gift ever

The Animal Humane Society (AHS) has landed a $3 million gift, the largest donation in the 142-year history of the Golden Valley-based organization. The society…
Radio station KBEK in Braham, Minn., offers its listeners a rare mix of original, local programing hosted by DJs like Shawn Sullivan.

Small-town Minnesota radio station bets its future on live and local

KBEK in Braham, Minn., is "doing what everyone else quit doing."
The Freeborn County board balked at Sheriff Kurt Freitag's request for a 23% pay raise. The issue is now before the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Above,

Freeborn County pay dispute raises question: How much is a rural sheriff worth?

Dispute over pay in rural Freeborn County heads to state Court of Appeals.
Marshall “Turbo” Bader, 9, of Boy River, Minn., died in a farm accident. He was an avid hockey player and he’s being honored with hockey sticks

The State of Hockey honors a young player who died in farm accident

Hockey sticks are being placed outside homes across the state in honor of 9-year-old Marshall "Turbo" Bader.
Kathleen Grogan Bush

Kathleen Grogan Bush, star of the fashion runway, dies at 88

Juggling modeling and motherhood, Bush often brought her children to photo shoots, where they sometimes wound up appearing with her in ads.
Michael Karkoc in his Minneapolis yard in 2014.

Minneapolis man exposed as commander of Nazi-led unit dies at 100

A pillar of the local Ukrainian community, Michael Karkoc was a top commander of a military unit accused of war crimes.
Shirley Kittleson, a Sherburn veterinarian for 40 years, took in the ponies a year and a half ago after the Animal Humane Society seized them from a f

Fate of 72 rescued ponies still in the air as Minn. vet and Humane Society battle

Humane Society, rural veterinarian haven't agreed on their future.
Waseca police officer Arik Matson.

Waseca police shooting suspect fled across roof before firing, complaint says

Meanwhile, the wounded officer's pastor says "there are great chances he will be OK."
Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought addressed reporters Tuesday. Behind Vought is Drew Evans, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension superintendent. A Waseca po

Officer 'gravely wounded' in Waseca is in critical condition

The suspect in the encounter was shot twice but expected to survive, according to the BCA. The incident happened Monday night after police responded to reports of a disturbance at a residence in the city, about 70 miles south of the Twin Cities.
Veterinarian Shirley Kittleson could find new homes for the 72 miniature horses she took in and boarded for the past year and a half on her own dime,

Minn. vet caring for 72 seized miniature horses now stuck with the bill

The animals, seized from a southern Minnesota pony farm, have racked up $325,000 in care and boarding costs.
Feb. 11, 2006: Spectators line up to see the eelpout on display on the shores of Leech Lake in Walker, Minn., during the 27th Annual International Eel

Canceled Eelpout Festival leaves Walker, Minn., scrambling

Local resort is hoping to mount an onshore entertainment program.
This aerial photo shows vehicles and plenty of fishing houses at the 2012 International Eelpout Festival in Walker, Minn.

Minnesota's International Eelpout Festival canceled

Organizers blame inability to pay cleanup costs.
Larry Barott, in foreground, tended the house at the Heather Curling Club in Mapleton, Minn., which claims to be the birthplace of Minnesota curling.

'Love, honor and curl': The cradle of Minnesota curling takes its sport seriously

In Mapleton, the sport dates to 1857 – a year before statehood.
Jake Patterson, shown entering a guilty pleaded guilty at the Barron County Justice Center in March,

Jayme Closs kidnapper: 'If it wasn't Jayme, it would probably be someone else'

Case files released Friday show Jake Patterson thought about "taking a girl" for two years.
McIntosh resembled a Hallmark Christmas movie set as people celebrated the revival one woman sparked in her adopted town.

Young mother brings a dying Minnesota town back to life

Once struggling, McIntosh, Minn., was revived, seemingly overnight, in a tale of investment and inspiration.
Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

Minneapolis high-rise fire victims linked in life and death

The five people who perished in the Nov. 27 blaze at Cedar High Apartments will forever be linked by the tragedy. Yet their lives, as well as their deaths, share a common thread.
Nadifo Yusuf Ismail, 70, lives on the 13th floor of the high rise at 630 Cedar Av. She says she tried to escape but couldn't so she locked herself in

Intense blaze in high-rise kills 5, sends shock wave across Minneapolis

The deadly blaze in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood broke out around 4 a.m. in a 25-story building. The fire was out within 30 minutes, the Minneapolis Fire Department said. Early signs are it was accidental.
One of the historic newspapers recently found inside a Star Tribune coin box.

Mysterious 'newspaper fairy' places historic newspapers in Minneapolis coin boxes

Seven swaps have replaced current Star Tribunes with old issues chronicling notable events.
The Lindstrom water tower is shaped as a coffee pot in the Chisago Lakes Area, Minn., on Friday June 19, 2015. The Chisago Lakes Area is made up of Ch

Why are there so many water towers in Minnesota — and what do they do?

Some cities — usually large ones — don't use water towers, but they are an unmistakable part of the Minnesota landscape. What do they do and why do we have so many of them?
After receiving a halal meal, Caitlin Heyer, with her son Arthur, showed East African women how to use a desk loom at the St. Peter Senior Center.

Community meal eases isolation for East African elders in rural Minnesota

Food is the first course in health education program in St. Peter.
Rick Serbus spread hog manure of farm fields near Redwood Falls, Minn. The recent cold front wafted southern Minnesota farm odors to Kansas City, Mo.

Cold front had Kansas City residents sniffing Minnesota stench

Minnesota pig farms and fields recently treated with manure blamed for the unappealing odor.
Arnold Bockstruck, the third generation to head Bockstruck Jewelers, in 1990.

Arnold Bockstruck, St. Paul jeweler who shone brightest in the community, dies at 91

The third-generation business owner was a tireless promoter of his hometown and held several leadership roles in community organizations.
Country singer Alan Jackson performed at We Fest in 2007.

In Detroit Lakes, one-year hiatus for We Fest is 'a tug at the heartstrings'

New owner could make Detroit Lakes country music event "king of the mountain again."
Concord Elementary School

Edina school vandalized with swastika

A suspect was apprehended, but police said there was no arrest.

St. Paul police identify men slain in back-to-back weekend shootings

The victims of back-to-back fatal shootings in St. Paul this weekend have been identified.St. Paul police said Anthony Martin, 25, of St. Paul was shot…
At Prairie Elementary in Worthington, teacher Molly Scheidt led her English language class in a converted storage room. The city’s schools are burst

Rapid growth in Worthington schools exposes friction

A bitter fight over school funding has become a flash point in a larger debate about immigration and its impact on this southwestern Minnesota prairie town.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter commented on the double shooting in his city Sunday night.

Two shot near Loons playoff game; Carter says 'This has to stop right now'

"This has to stop right now," mayor says of the rash of gun violence.
Owatonna's school district is hoping to replace its nearly 100-year-old high schol.

Owatonna may offer naming rights to businesses that help fund new high school

Owatonna companies pledged nearly $25M for a new high school.
Gene Weingarten photo courtesy of Washington Post

Review: 'One Day,' by Gene Weingarten

NONFICTION: A storyteller digs into a random 24 hours in America.
Student Joshua Klingensmith, center, readied his shop class’ electric car for a test drive. The class has placed second in the world in supermileage

Tiny Minnesota high school aims to put washing machine in outer space

"We don't build widgets here," said Luke Becker, Braham Area High's agricultural technology and physics teacher. "If it doesn't have a purpose, we don't do it."
Moorhead razed much of its historic downtown in the 1970s and replaced it witha city hall building set in a mall. Now it might sell the building and s

With Fargo envy, Moorhead looks to revitalize its downtown

The city on the Minnesota side will team with a local developer.
More Homer Hankies should arrive in Twin Cities today

More Homer Hankies should arrive in Twin Cities today

Demand has exceeded expectations, with more than 200,000 sold so far
Twins superfan Mary Wadlow, shown in her Apple Valley home, believes this is the year the Twins will “slay the Yankees monster.”

As playoffs begin, Twins fans revel in an unexpected season

Joyful over a magical year, they're ready to take on the Yankees -- and hope to be in it for the duration.
The Husky Energy refinery in Superior, Wis, burns after an explosion in April 2018. Husky has gotten permission to rebuild and is expected to fully re

Superior, Wis., refinery that exploded, burned gets OK to rebuild

Explosion, fire at the Superior, Wis., facility forced thousands to evacuate last year.
A community group in Hibbing, Minn., hopes to erect this monument to Bob Dylan on the campus of Hibbing High School.

Will Bob Dylan be immortalized at his alma mater Hibbing High?

After two years, school board and organizers haven't been able to agree on a final plan for the proposed installation at Hibbing High School.

Cleared of all charges, former Iron Range mayor goes after the cops who arrested him

Jim Hunter claims he was the victim of a small-town vendetta, and three juries agreed. Now Hunter, the former mayor of Crosby, Minn., is suing…
The trophy room at Jerry Hennessey’s former home in rural Dalton, Minn. Hennessey is in prison after his conviction for stealing more than $5.4 mill

Burnsville taxidermist who mounted swindler's exotic big-game animals sued for fraud

He should have known he was being paid with ill-gotten money, court documents say.
Produce manager Jon Maunu, left, and employee Bob Keomany work at Doug’s Supermarket in the town of 1,800.

North Loop in the North Woods? The reinvention of Warroad, Minn.

A communitywide effort is aiming to bring a new flavor to this fishing and factory town some 370 miles northwest of the Twin Cities: A destination for entrepreneurs in the knowledge-based economy.
Brainerd Public Schools chairwoman Sue Kern

Brainerd school chair questions teaching of evolution

District staff and faculty explained that the theory of evolution has actually gotten stronger with further scientific discovery — for example, the study of DNA.
Patrick Winter, owner of Red Barn Farm in Northfield, showed off his rebuilt event barn a year after a devastating tornado.

Family rebuilds wedding barn after devastating tornado in Northfield, Minn.

A new, 5,000-square-foot structure that's heated, air-conditioned and full of custom touches that the Winters' old barn, for all its charm, lacked.
C.J. started writing her column in 1989.

C.J., longtime Star Tribune columnist, retires

Longtime Star Tribune columnist C.J., one of the most well-known media figures in the Twin Cities, has retired after nearly 30 years of writing about…
Pedestrians and motorist navigated snowy streets in downtown Minneapolis in February. After a bad winter of 2018-19, Minnesota could be in line for mo

Farmers' Almanac winter prediction: 'Worst of the worst' for Minnesota

We're in for a "polar coaster," almanac says in its 203rd winter prediction.
John J. Harbinson

John J. Harbinson, former chief of Minnesota Highway Patrol, dies at 93

It was a story John J. Harbinson never tired of telling: how he met his wife in bed. He was a young man in the…
Josh Johnson, mayor of Darwin, Minn., personally installed a new street sign last week in honor of musician “Weird Al” Yankovic, who immortalized

'Weird Al' honored with 'Weird Alley' in Minnesota home of giant twine ball

Biggest Twine Ball town honors "Weird Al" with a new street sign.
Gene Gruber practiced his plowing skills at home in Richmond, Minn. The only American to win the World Ploughing Championship, he’ll compete again t

A Minnesota man is the world's best plower. His daughter hopes to take the title.

51-year-old Gene Gruber is the only American "plowboy" ever to win the World Ploughing Championship.
The deputy sheriff's squad car still sits on display in the Settler's Square Historical Museum with all original damage, along with a mannequin dresse

UFO or no? Forty years later, a Minnesota town still wonders what sheriff's deputy encountered

Warren, Minn. Sounding groggy but calm, the Marshall County deputy sheriff radioed in from his patrol car at 2:19 a.m. on a lonely country…
Students wearing handmade costumes, which they designed in the “Art Buddies” program, paraded through the Whittier Elementary halls in Minneapolis

Twin Cities' Art Buddies bring youthful dreams to life in cardboard, cloth and duct tape

The nonprofit mentorship program matches adults from the Twin Cities creative industry with low-income students, serving about 300 children a year in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
A group of women from Orchard Dental Group flew down the State Fair’s Giant Slide together Thursday. This is the 50th year of the Giant Slide at the

For many at fair, highs and lows of opening day just can't be beat

Everything's pure, everything glistens. And not so crazy even. Others see it as a sign of how the whole 12-day stretch will go.
This 1948 Tucker was never finished in the factory, but a collector bought the incomplete vehicle and, using original Tucker parts, assembled the car.

Rare Tucker automobile will be auctioned for Mayo Clinic cancer research

One of the Tucker cars will go on the auction block later Aug. 31, with the proceeds benefiting Mayo Clinic's cancer research program.
Concerns about possible erosion have prompted a plan to improve drainage in some Mankato ravines. Adjacent homeowners are being asked to foot the bill

Mankato neighborhood balks at tax hike to fix ravine drainage

Residents protest $16,500 levy to fix drainage, erosion issues
Alec Lackmann verified the world’s oldest freshwater fish in Otter Tail County. He’s shown here with one of the nearly 400 bigmouth buffalo fish h

Record catch: At 112 years, Minnesota fish is the oldest freshwater fish ever verified

A graduate student took the fish in Crystal Lake in Otter Tail County. Radiocarbon dating verified the fish's age, making it the oldest age-validated freshwater fish ever taken.
From left, Stella Manuel, 5, Lillian Lydeen, 9, and Lainey Manuel, 7, all from Watkins, sailed down a slide at the Meeker County Fair. Lillian and Lai

Small and sweet, county fairs draw millions of Minnesotans each year

While some 2 million Minnesotans attend the State Fair each year, even more flock to 90 county fairs, where the vibe is more relaxed and less harried.
Miguel Fidler (12) of Edina celebrated after scoring a goal in the third period. Edina beat Duluth East by a final score of 3-2. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ cgo

Why does everyone love to hate Edina?

The "cake eaters" of Edina have been a target for generations. Why all the hate? Curious Minnesota tackles this reader question.
A Pentecostal prophet told Yvette VanDerBrink to go to auction school. Now the 54-year-old from tiny Hardwick, Minn., is one of the nation’s leading

A prophet told her to become an auctioneer. Now this Minnesota woman is among the best

"A woman doing this? That's like a white buffalo," Yvette VanDerBrink says.
The former Nike missile site in Watertown, Minn., closed since the 1970s, is slated for an environmental cleanup. Here, Mound fire chief Greg Pederson

When nukes in a cornfield protected the Twin Cities from the Soviet Union

WATERTOWN, Minn. – Half a century later, Tony Vanderlinde remembers the sight “plain as day.” Baling hay on his family’s dairy farm near the…