Staff Directory 6370583

John Reinan

Reporter | Region & State
Phone: 612-673-7402

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
The home care nurse who discovered Irwin and Alexandra Jacobs dead in their Orono mansion is suing the Jacobs estate.

Nurse who discovered Irwin Jacobs murder-suicide at Orono mansion sues estate for trauma

Lisa Ann Hayes found legendary businessman Irwin Jacobs and his wife dead in their master bedroom.
Barbara Schmidt visits “Teddy,” a 120-year-old white oak in Orono’s Bederwood Park. Schmidt has filed a lawsuit to stop creation of a mountain b

Orono nature lover fights mountain bike trail in Bederwood Park

A high school team wants it. The city OK'd it. A local nature lover says, "Stop!"
Andy Crisman moved a bus shelter to the end of his driveway last week in hopes the bus will pick up his daughters despite a dispute over the access ro

Minnesota family may be trapped as town declares access road doesn't exist

Bitterness over a gravel road has left a Hillman Township family fearing they will lose access to their home.
Six years after their sons’ deaths in a crash, Ray and Kathie Kvalvog are still searching for answers they believe they’ve been denied. (PHOTO: JO

Moorhead parents still pushing for answers six years after their sons' deaths in I-94 crash

Ray and Kathie Kvalvog have spent those six years fighting for information they believe they've been denied.
Martin County Coordinator Scott Higgins checked out the progress on the courthouse dome. The historic structure was renovated at a cost of $2.8 millio

After renovation, magnificent Minnesota clock tower ready for unveiling

Martin County's renovation of historic courthouse nears finish
A controversy arose when this vehicle was driven in an event at the Kandiyohi County Fair. Many onlookers thought it was associated with the County Sh

Confederate flag draws criticism at Kandiyohi County Fair

Man says his homemade police car flew a Confederate flag as a "Dukes of Hazzard" tribute.
Fred Heidmann, a former mayor of Nisswa, has been ordered to stand trial for disorderly conduct. He was arrested last year while serving as mayor afte

Ex-Nisswa mayor to stand trial for profane exchange with police

Fred Heidmann was charged with disorderly conduct after an angry roadside argument.
Kraewood development opponents Philip Spensley, Jason Ripley, Kathy Schuurman, Karen Cherewatuk, Bob Thacker and Ken Engstrom at the Northfield site.

Fight brewing over development of Christmas tree farm in Northfield

Northfield residents worry about development of wooded site
Owned in part by Major League Baseball, Miken Sports in Caledonia, Minn., plans to close production of helmets and bats, sending some jobs to China. T

Minnesota town cries foul at Major League Baseball plan to close local factory

Miken Sports makes baseball helmets and bats — and is owned in part by MLB. The factory closing would eliminate about 80 jobs over the next 18 to 24 months
Rochester police say a standoff was 'safely' resolved at a hotel

Rochester police say a standoff was 'safely' resolved at a hotel

Police say the incident was "safely" resolved.
Chelsea and Matt Brennan, with daughters Elizabeth (left) and Allison, have been cited by Sherburne County officials for having too many vehicles stor

Sherburne County set to crack down on vehicles parked in yards

Proposed ordinance would allow no more than two vehicles to be parked in a yard.
Race cars take the green flag at Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minn.

Minnesota track promoter apologizes for supporting announcer's racist rant

Announcer Lon Oelke will sit out the rest of the racing season.
Ryan Bialke

Monday funeral set for slain Red Lake police officer

Ryan Bialke, 37, will be buried in Bemidji.
Redby man charged with murder in fatal shooting of Red Lake Nation police officer

Redby man charged with murder in fatal shooting of Red Lake Nation police officer

Officers were serving a tribal warrant when gunfire erupted.
FBI: Suspect in custody after Red Lake Nation police officer shot, killed

FBI: Suspect in custody after Red Lake Nation police officer shot, killed

Tribal chairman directs tribal programs and businesses to lower flags to half-staff.
Racecars take the checkered flag Friday night at Fairmont Raceway in Fairmont, Minn.

Fired in Iowa for racist rant, racetrack announcer back to work in Minn.

Minnesota track promoter says announcer's racial comments have been taken out of context.
Gordy Anderson, 100, will be the honorary starter for the 100th edition of the Resorters golf tournament, set for Aug. 1-7 at Alexandria Golf Club.

Alexandria, Minn., golfer and Resorters golf tournament both celebrating 100 years

Resorters' 100th edition features honorary starter Gordy Anderson
Dave Gatzmer has installed more than 90 phones on a noise barrier as part of a guerrilla art project in St. Louis Park.

A St. Louis Park highway noise barrier has become a growing art wall of old telephones

Dave Gatzmer's quirky guerrilla art project just keeps growing.
At Big Bog State Recreation Area, a one-mile boardwalk was recently built to allow visitors an immersive experience.

Big Bog State Recreation Area in Minnesota offers a world of wilderness and quiet fascination

A trip through this state recreation area transports visitors to a subtle, ageless landscape.
Minn. school district hired known groper, lawsuit alleges

Minn. school district hired known groper, lawsuit alleges

Montevideo district paraprofessional groped 8-year-old girl, suit says.
FILE-Rick Duncan, former Chisago County sheriff (in white shirt) has been held liable for sexual harassment by a federal judge. He faces civil damages

Chisago County, ex-sheriff held liable in bizarre sex case

A federal judge ruled for the employee Rick Duncan stalked as 'Control Freak'
Ray and Kathie Kvalvog allege the Minnesota State Patrol mishandled the investigation of the 2015 crash that killed their two sons.

Parents sue Minn. State Patrol in crash death of their sons

They allege the patrol mishandled the investigation of the fatal crash
FILE-Mankato won’t lose its metropolitan status, as the Biden administration reversed a plan to downgrade Mankato and 143 other U.S. cities to “mi

Mankato will keep metropolitan status

Regional hub to keep its designation along with 143 U.S. other cities.
Cliff Thornberg, left, and Eric Holseth took their boat out of the water at Eagle Lake in Sherburne County. The future of the popular public access ar

Dispute over parking area threatens popular Sherburne County boat launch

BIG LAKE, MINN. – It's only a boat launch.But to those who frequently fish the waters of Eagle Lake, it's the gateway to one of…
Items were left Friday at a memorial for Ricardo Torres Jr. at the site where he was shot and killed by an Olivia, Minn., police officer early on July

Olivia, Minn., struggles to understand fatal shooting by police officer

A now-familiar story plays out in tight-knit western Minnesota town.
Drowning victim pulled from Lakeville's Lake Marion

Drowning victim pulled from Lakeville's Lake Marion

First responders recovered a drowning victim Sunday evening from Lake Marion in Lakeville.According to a statement from the Dakota County Sheriff's Office, deputies assisted the…
Man shot to death in north Minneapolis

Man shot to death in north Minneapolis

A man is dead after a shooting Sunday afternoon in north Minneapolis. It was the city's 46th homicide of the year, according to Star Tribune…
A group from the Twin Cities gathered for breakfast at their St Croix River Resort campsite in Hinckley.

Minnesota resorts hoping for a boom face severe labor shortage

From the North Shore to the limestone bluffs of the Mississippi River, the state's tourism destinations are struggling to staff up.
Shirley Kittleson, a veterinarian in Sherburn, Minn., was awarded $1.5 million for the care and feeding of a miniature pony herd that was removed from

Rural Minnesota veterinarian gets $1.5 million in dispute over miniature pony herd

Horses were sent to her for care after authorities took them from a pony farm.
A memorial has sprung up on the fifth floor of the parking garage at Seven Points (formerly Calhoun Square), where Winston Smith was killed June 3 by

Citing crime, Juut leaves Uptown as social justice battles rage

Late Sunday, Minneapolis police said someone drove a vehicle into a group of protesters at Lake Street and Girard Avenue S. and was taken into custody.
Air Force Reserve pilot Lt. Col. Josh Nelson was grounded after losing his colon to disease. But with the help of his doctor, he convinced the militar

Minnesota pilot is first to return to Air Force flight duty after losing colon

Air Force Reserve said surgery would ground him for life, but Josh Nelson never gave up.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Feb. 28, 2021. A St. Cloud law firm is in turmoil a

St. Cloud law firm targeted pro-Trump employees for firing, suit says

After the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, the lawsuit alleges, the law firm's president sought to fire employees he believed had made pro-Trump posts on social media.
The Mankato/North Mankato area of 61,000 is among nearly 150 urban areas nationwide that could lose their designation as a Metropolitan Statistical Ar

Mankato has major issue with potential 'micropolitan' downgrade

East Grand Forks also could lose its 'metropolitan' designation
Minnesota pallet manufacturers can’t keep up with demand. Meanwhile, prices have doubled recently as lumber shortages hit the industry. 

'Perfect storm': Minn. pallet makers hit by supply shortages as demand takes off

Sawmills aren't staffed. Truckers are on the sidelines. Korean nail factories are running months behind in filling orders. Bottom line: a new pallet that sold a year ago for $12 to $14 now costs $25 to $28.
Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune FILE - Plans for the future of the historic Archer House in Northfield can move forward after a drawn-out insurance investiga

Northfield's historic Archer House River Inn declared a total loss

The beloved landmark was heavily damaged in a November fire.
A sign banning guns from the premises of Monarch Minneapolis, where 10 people were shot, two of them fatally, early Saturday.

Mpls. community leaders vow to 'take back the block' from guns and gangs

It comes after 3 people died in overnight bloodshed, including a St. Thomas senior and another person in a downtown Minneapolis shooting. An arrest has been made.
The exterior of Monarch in downtown Minneapolis, where two people died in a shooting and eight were injured early Saturday morning.

Arrest made in downtown Mpls. shooting that left 2 dead, 8 injured

Minneapolis reeled anew at another outbreak of carnage Saturday after three people were killed in overnight shootings, two of them at a downtown nightclub where eight others were also wounded.
The Mayo Clinic has nearly tripled the size of the $120 million Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Building in Rochester. Construction is to start within w

Mayo's new research lab promises 'medicine of the future'

Amid pandemic, medical center says the bigger new lab is, the better.
Fred Heidmann, then mayor of Nisswa, was arrested last year after intervening in a roadside traffic stop. Defeated for re-election, he’s fighting a

Minnesota judge to decide when cursing at police goes too far

Nisswa mayor angrily confronted officers and was arrested for disorderly conduct
Phil Barker was behind the bar at Nye’s for “47 years, two months, three days and a few hours,” said his daughter, Robin Thorsen of Brooklyn Par

Philip Barker, legendary Nye's bartender, dies at 74

He started there in 1969 after finishing a stint in the Navy, and it was the only job he ever had.
Willmar police notified residents of Lakeview Apartments that the entire building would be used as a K-9 training ground, with officers and dogs comin

Willmar orders pause to K-9 training at public housing

The program would allow police dogs to enter the building unannounced at any time of day or night.
The Archer House in Northfield was damaged last year by a fire that started in one of its restaurants. Until insurance questions are answered, its fat

After devastating fire, future of Northfield's historic Archer House is in doubt

Despite fire damage, residents hope Archer House can rise again
BONDING OVER MILITARY BACKGROUNDS WW II veteran June Fremont, 99, relishes visits from hospice nurse and veteran Joshua Bowling, left, in Woodbury.

Veteran to veteran, hospice nurses lend special camaraderie to end of life

Program arranges for ex-military hospice nurses to care for patients who are veterans.
Former Minnesota Mormon church leader pleads not guilty to sexual assault on child

Former Minnesota Mormon church leader pleads not guilty to sexual assault on child

Michael Davis was convicted of sex crimes before moving to Minn.
A judge has rejected an attempt by the priest of the Asatru Folk Assembly in Murdock, Minn., to bring harassment charges against a community member wh

Whites-only church tries to silence critic, is rebuffed by Minn. judge

Asatru priest claimed harassment; judge rules it was 'a matter of public concern.'
Gov. Tim Walz is set to open the fishing season in Otter Tail County, where some residents have expressed opposition. Walz is shown here at the 2019 G

Fishing opener turns political in Otter Tail County

Officials trying to tamp down opposition to Walz visit for annual event.
Protesters marched outside the Hennepin Government Center, on Monday, April 19, after the Derek Chauvin trial went to the jury for deliberations.

Outside courthouse, protesters press for a guilty verdict

Angel Smith-El admitted that she had some anxiety waiting for the jury to reach a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.Standing outside the Hennepin…
Hajah Konneh, owner of M and B Hair Braiding and Beauty Supply, tidied shelves in her Brooklyn Center store. She is still open, but not many customers

'World is watching' fast changing suburb at heart of unrest

Brooklyn Center has undergone a faster demographic transition than any community in the Twin Cities, according to a study published last week.
People protested Wednesday near the Brooklyn Center Police Department in response to the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright.

Fewer arrests, calmer scene on 4th night of Brooklyn Center protests

Twenty-four people were arrested, authorities said. Tear gas, which prompted strong complaints earlier, was not used Wednesday as hundreds were gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station to protest the death of Daunte Wright.
Daunte Wright with his son, Daunte Jr. Wright was fatally shot Sunday, April 11, during a traffic stop with Brooklyn Center police.

'My heart is literally broken in 1,000 pieces,' Daunte Wright's mother says

He was a young man with a big personality and a smile that could light up a room.A day after Daunte Wright, 20, was shot…
Since 1912, the School Sisters of Notre Dame have lived on Good Counsel Hill in Mankato. Now the sisters are selling the 135-acre campus.

Change is coming to Mankato property

School Sisters of Notre Dame selling campus on Good Counsel Hill
The oldest house in Mankato, built in 1858 in what is now downtown, was slated for demolition before Caleb Wundermachen, at right, saved it with an as

Preservationist, builder saved a stone house as old as Minnesota

The small Mankato house, built in 1858, was slated for demolition.
The Rev. John D.F. Nelson led services from the rooftop of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Hopkins so that all who attended could see. He expects roofto

Rooftop preaching helps bring Hopkins congregation together during COVID-19 pandemic

Rooftop preaching helps bring Hopkins congregation together during pandemic.
Volunteer Karen Purvis (back to camera) helps Sandy Tenwolde select items at Wabasha Area Food Share. (Photo by John Reinan?

After a roller-coaster year, Minnesota food shelves hope crisis is behind them

Pandemic was a heavy blow, but longtime leaders navigated it
Pam Blixt

Pam Blixt, champion of Twin Cities lakes and streams, dies at 67

Pam Blixt was a force of nature.And a force for nature.In a lifetime of environmental activism, Blixt was instrumental in helping to protect and enhance…
Rick and Tammy Kirkpatrick stood on 595th St. in Eden Valley. Their seven-acre home is in the wooded area on the left, and the berm that is supposed t

Range war on the prairie: Rural Minnesota residents fight gun range

Neighbors say the shooting range is a hazard; Meeker County calls that "bunk."
Royce Jankowski, 2, was airlifted to the Twin Cities for medical care after being badly burned in a mattress fire at his home in Enderlin, N.D. His mo

N.D. first responder gets call to her own home where young son is badly burned

The 2-year-old boy was airlifted to the Twin Cities for medical care.
Tim Brady

Review: 'Three Ordinary Girls,' by Tim Brady

NONFICTION: The true story of three Dutch teenagers who boldly fought the Nazis through subversion and violence.
Developer Steve Austin sold land to a group of neighbors who pooled funds to buy the property to block a planned campground. Cabin owners fear a rush

Cabin vs. development battle heats up in Wis. lake country

Burnett County, long a favorite vacation spot of Twin Cities residents, has become a focal point in a push by developers to build large campgrounds that critics say will damage the natural resources that are the area's main attraction.
From the left, Joann Innamorato, Rita Bloom, Denise Harren and Amanda Schmidt reflected on the clinic shooting on Wednesday at BJ’s Deli in Buffalo.

Buffalo residents grapple with bitter truth: It can happen here

The day after a mass shooting left one dead and four wounded at an Allina Health clinic, people were trying to make sense of the senseless.
Scott Tersteeg held a brochure from when the Fibrominn plant was in operation. A 500-foot conveyor leads to nothing after Xcel shut down the biomass p

Shutdown of biomass plant left small business in the lurch

After Xcel was able to buy its way out of the contract in 2017, small businesses that served the Benson, Minn., plant are facing losses they say are in the tens of millions.
The Kern Bridge, erected in 1873 and taken down last year, will be reassembled over the Blue Earth River as the centerpiece of a popular Mankato recre

One of Minnesota's oldest bridges will get new life in Mankato recreation area

Span dating from 1873 will link two of Mankato's largest parks.
Elbow Lake officials have cited Brian Nelson more than a dozen times for trash and other violations, including keeping goats in the city limits. He’

Minnesota town is flummoxed by resident who claims he's above law

Despite dozens of police visits and citations, Elbow Lake man says city ordinances don't apply to him.
Horse breeder Candi Lemarr talked about life at her family farm in Sleepy Eye, Minn.

Judge rejects plea to return horses to Sleepy Eye trainer

He ruled against the trainer accused of mistreatment.
High School senior Clara Lemarr practiced riding on her horse at her family farm last week in Sleepy Eye. Horses from the farm were seized based on cl

Battles over seizures of Minnesota horses being fought over social media

Investigators say those involved must keep quiet, while those accused of mistreatment tout their innocence.
Ford cars built at the St. Paul plant are loaded on to river barges on the Mississippi River in 1925.

Did Ford make millions of windows from sand mined beneath its plant?

Henry Ford chose the St. Paul site carefully. Minnesota was a central location, and the plant was sitting on a mine — not of gold, but of pure, white silica sand.
Iris Westman, the oldest North Dakotan in recorded history, died Sunday at age 115. She taught school for many years in Worthington and Staples, Minn.

Oldest North Dakotan is dead at 115

Iris Westman, who taught for many years in Worthington, was the world's seventh-oldest person.
Sisters Amanda Witthuhn, left, and Jensyn Schluttner gave their order to Sophia Sabinash from their cozy outdoor fish house at the Pirates Den in Vern

Minnesota restaurant owner has creative solution for outdoor dining: Fish houses

Verndale restaurant owner gets creative to cope with COVID-19
These hunters found the elusive Golden Gnome in a St. Paul park Wednesday. From left: Mason Thorson, 7, and Mack and Mace Peterson, both 5. .

Gnome hunt brings holiday fun to St. Paul parks

Guided by rhyming clues, families can search for tree gnomes for about two more weeks..
Ed Borchardt, 80, a natural-yard advocate and former botany professor, has been ordered by the city of North Mankato to clean up “rank growth” on

Retired professor fights to keep his North Mankato yard natural

N. Mankato man's natural yard attracts insects, wildlife, complaints
The City Council in Murdock, Minn., voted anonymously Wednesday night to allow this abandoned Lutheran church to become a Midwest hub of the Asatru Fo

Experts: Anonymous vote on white supremacist church violated open meeting law

Murdock City Council granted the church a permit without revealing how each council member voted.
The owner of the Boardwalk Bar & Grill in East Grand Forks reopened Wednesday in defiance of an executive order by Gov. Tim Walz closing all Minnesota

East Grand Forks bar opens in defiance of Minnesota's closing order

Owner calls Walz order closing drinking and dining establishments "a slap to our face."
The Murdock City Council has scheduled a vote on granting a permit allowing the Asatru Folk Assembly to use an abandoned Lutheran church as its third

Anonymous City Council vote allows white supremacist church in Minn. town

Anonymous City Council vote gives Asatru Folk Assembly a Midwest hub in the Swift County town of 275 residents.
The owner of the Boardwalk Bar & Grill in East Grand Forks said Wednesday that she plans to reopen in defiance of an executive order by Gov. Tim Walz

East Grand Forks bar to open today in defiance of Minnesota's closing order

Owner calls Walz order closing drinking and dining establishments "a slap to our face."
Renovation on the Martin County Courthouse in Fairmont is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer.

Majestic southern Minnesota courthouse is getting a 'once-in-a-lifetime' renovation

Ornate dome and tower clocks are being restored on Fairmont landmark.