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
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.
Pam DeMarce owns Wow! Zone bowling alley and entertainment center in Mankato, which has been forced to shut down for the second time this year.

Minn. businesses say more COVID stimulus desperately needed

Small-business owners in Minnesota say federal stimulus programs kept them alive. But with money from the programs spent and COVID-19 raging stronger than ever, more federal help is needed, they say.
Sewer Natalie Armstrong stitched a custom sleeping quilt, an alternative to the traditional mummy sleeping bag, Thursday at Enlightened Equipment.

Enlightened Equipment of Winona is a heavyweight player in lightweight outdoor gear

Outdoor enthusiasts praise Enlightened Equipment of Winona
Jenna and Eric Fink of Savage celebrated Saturday after Joe Biden was named the winner of the presidential election. They had been chilling a bottle o

Minnesotans react to Biden win with protest and celebration

Minnesotans on both sides of the political divide held out hope that President-elect Joe Biden can help America come together again.
Kermit Pattison

Review: 'Fossil Men,' by Kermit Pattison

NONFICTION: In this brilliant book of reportage by a St. Paul writer, the discovery of a 4 million-year-old skeleton threatens to upend the world of science.
Neighbors gathered during Ramadan for an iftar dinner sponsored by Healthy Together Willmar, a community-led project for breaking down barriers to hea

Willmar celebrates five-year effort to build healthy community

Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN invested $2 million in the project
Ashlea Clifton, right, who moved from Minneapolis to Perham to take over the local coffee shop Gathering Grounds in August, joked with customer Dennis

Perham's problem: Too many jobs, not enough workers

Thriving Perham, Minn., is building amenities to attract more workers.
“If I get it, I get it.” Eugene Tessmer, 86, who farms near Caledonia, is resigned to the virus’ spread.

After dodging worst of COVID, rural Minn. 'lit up with cases'

Case counts are surging in rural communities like never before. Since the beginning of October, the 10 Minnesota counties with the fastest case growth are all in rural parts of the state.
Former Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan (front left) pleaded guilty to two gross misdemeanor charges in the stalking and harassment of a former empl

Former Chisago County sheriff pleads guilty, claims 'hero syndrome' in bizarre stalking case

Rick Duncan says job trauma and stress were factors in "Control Freak" incidents.
Officer Arik Matson and his wife, Megan, arrive at the Waseca Public Safety building as he returned home for the first time since he was shot in the l

Waseca officer shot in the head gets hero's welcome home

The 33-year-old officer waved from a squad car to hundreds cheering and clapping as he returned for the first time since he was shot in the head last winter as he responded to a call about a prowler.
David Andahl

North Dakota legislative candidate dies of COVID-19, will still be on November ballot

As COVID-19 cases surge in North Dakota, the disease has claimed a candidate for state Legislature touted as a “Trump Republican.” But he’ll still be…
Then-Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan, in front.

Former Chisago County sheriff offered no-jail plea deal in bizarre stalking case

Rick Duncan already turned down one plea deal.
Karen Falk held a sign that reads “Life is too short for hate” during a Murdock, Minn., City Council meeting Wednesday during a public discussion

Big crowd in western Minnesota town grills controversial Nordic heritage church

Nearly 50 people filled the hall for a special City Council meeting. No decision was made.
Radford

Phillip Radford, avid gardener and cheerful optimist, dies of COVID-19 complications at 77

You could have excused Phillip Radford for being gloomy. At age 12, his father died, and the boy went to work to help support his…
Danger of fire is currently high in the Boundary Waters and along the Canadian border. Here, fire crews fight a 2011 fire just south of the Boundary W

Minnesota's dry autumn has foresters on edge over fire danger

Field conditions are great for farmers, but the risk of fires looms Up North.
The pad cups of a flute are taken out to be fixed at Minnesota State College Southeast in Red Wing.

Minnesota college is home to elite program in musical instrument repair

Minnesota State College Southeast offers a rare chance to learn these special skills.
Pam Bluhm revived the Chatfield News in March. Now she’s being sued by a rival publisher, who claims she’s illegally using the name and subscripti

Rival small-town Minnesota publishers battle over the revived Chatfield News

After the paper closed, it was brought back to life. But was it legal?
The smiley-faced water tower in Freeport, Minn., will live on after the town raised $33,000 to renovate and repaint it.

Residents of Minnesota town band together to save iconic water tower

Saved from demolition, the smiley-faced tower along Interstate 94 is being refurbished.
A Navy veteran could lose his home after a dispute over this flagpole he installed in the yard of his St. Michael residence.

Minnesota Navy veteran could lose his home in dispute over a flagpole

A homeowners association has foreclosed on the St. Michael home and scheduled a sheriff's sale for it.
Chad Landry helped a customer at the Trump Shop just south of Royalton on Hwy 10. Landry, the manager, said there are 25 or 30 Trump stores in Minneso

Trump Shops pop up in rural Minnesota, owned by Florida entrepreneur

Owned by an entrepreneur, they're not part of the president's campaign.
Treasure City, the iconic gift shop between the Twin Cities and the Brainerd lakes, is for sale. At age 79, the owner is ready to retire.

Iconic Minnesota gift shop Treasure City is for sale: 'We have stuff you won't find in most stores'

After nearly 50 years of selling items you can't find anywhere else, the owner is ready to retire.
Neighbors, volunteers and contract workers from Blue Sky Restoration cleaned up debris from last week’s derecho that ripped through Cedar Rapids.

Iowa still cleaning up a week later from terrifying derecho

Rare "inland hurricane" caused $4 billion in damage in eastern Iowa
After Hibbing resident John Peterson found a trove of old photos of the Minneapolis Lakers, he became friends with 92-year-old Bob Harrison, a player

Minnesota sports fan becomes pals with player he idolized 70 years ago

What fan hasn't dreamed of being buddies with one of his or her idols? For one Minnesota fan, that dream has come true. But it took a long, long time.
Pam Bluhm worked at the Chatfield News for nearly 40 years. When the newspaper serving Olmsted and Fillmore counties closed earlier this year, Bluhm k

With only $400 in the bank, new owner brings a small-town Minnesota newspaper back from the dead

When the 164-year-old Chatfield paper closed, one loyal employee brought it back to life.
Linda Nelson, left, and Nicole Meyer visited while demonstrating with about 45 other social justice supporters Thursday afternoon as a pro-Trump picku

In rural western Minnesota, divided they stand each week

It's a microcosm of what's happening in America, with both sides passionately proclaiming their views and neither side appearing to make much headway in convincing the other.
Ann Bowman, 75, said the Animal Humane Society is pushing her to retire after receiving a complaint about sick horses on her southern Minnesota farm.

Minn. horse breeder fears she's being pushed out because of age

After allegations of mistreatment, the Humane Society questioned whether the 75-year-old rancher should have such a large herd. The investigator "kept telling me I was old," Ann Bowman said. "Over and over and over."
The water town in Lake Park, Minn., where funeral services in July in the northwestern Minnesota town led 30 family members to become infected with CO

Minn. family's grief grows after funeral leads to an outbreak of coronavirus

Thirty people were infected after services for a northern Minnesota man in July.
A proposal to allow private helicopter pads on the shores of East Gull Lake pits a Twin Cities homeowner against neighbors concerned about noise and s

East Gull Lake is abuzz over proposal to allow helicopter pads

Community abuzz over request to allow private helicopter pads
A view of the crowd at the North Star Stampede Rodeo on July 25.

Minnesota seeks to punish rodeo organizers who bucked governor's safety order

North Star Stampede in Effie was warned to limit spectators but didn't comply, complaint says. Also one spectator tested positive for COVID-19.
The owner of Rooster's Bottle Shop in Brooten, Minn., is charged with swindling more than $135,000 in pulltab receipts that were intended to be donate

Brooten, Minn., divided and devastated after alleged pulltab swindle

A business leader has been charged with stealing gaming proceeds, leaving a trail of debt and broken trust.
This year’s North Star Stampede rodeo will be held without spectators. Here, founder Howard Pitzen announces the action in 1965.

Fans threatening to buck virus rules at Minnesota's largest outdoor rodeo

The plans come after the Minnesota Department of Health and the state attorney general, citing COVID-19 concerns, imposed a spectator limit.
This abandoned Lutheran church in Murdock, Minn., will become a Midwest regional hub for the Asatru Folk Assembly, a Nordic heritage religion that has

White heritage religious group takes root in Minnesota

For $45,000, the Asatru Folk Assembly bought an abandoned Lutheran church in Murdock and is creating its third "Hof," or gathering hall to serve believers throughout the Midwest. Religious scholars have identified the Nordic heritage group as a white supremacist organization.
Author Miles Harvey

Review: 'The King of Confidence,' by Miles Harvey

NONFICTION: The fascinating story of a 19th-century cult leader — part pirate, part politician, 100% con man.
Part of the homeless encampment in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis.

Man shot at Powderhorn Park encampment in Minneapolis

Injuries are not life-threatening in the latest incident in the tent community that has sprung up in Minnesota's largest city.
Law enforcement had both directions of the Mendota bridge closed Monday morning.

Authorities identify man killed by deputies as he held woman hostage on Mendota Bridge

Arlan Kaleb Schultz, 31, of Richfield died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. New orders issued Tuesday by Arradondo encourage officers to try to de-escalate inten

New policy: Minneapolis police must report efforts to de-escalate

Police also must report whenever they draw a gun.
The members of the Chicago rowing team Arshay Cooper depicts in “A Most Beautiful Thing.”

Review: 'A Most Beautiful Thing,' by Arshay Cooper

NONFICTION: An inspiring underdog tale set in a world that few readers have seen.
JBS is giving the city of Worthington $1 million, which will help fund an indoor recreation center.

Pork producer will donate $3.5 million to 3 Minnesota communities

Company says gifts are a response to COVID-19 and an investment in future.
At risk of losing their grocery store, Clara City leaders worked to bring a new market to town. Almich’s Market opened in late 2016.

In danger of losing its grocery, small Minnesota town worked to land a new store

Clara City saw the potential loss of its local market as a danger sign.
Shirley Kittleson, a veterinarian in Sherburn, Minn., says she's owed nearly $1.5 million for the care and feeding of a miniature pony herd that was s

Minnesota veterinarian's bill for rescued miniature horses nears $1.5M

Shirley Kittleson has cared for the herd since it was seized from a pony farm two years ago.
Australian artist Guido van Helten has finished a colossal piece covering the Ardent Mills silos in Mankato.

Mankato's massive silo mural is finished and 'really inspiring people to think big'

Children of Mankato inspired Australian's 135-foot-tall work
Jeff Fitzkappes, a Lutheran minister in Montevideo, Minn., has been outspoken about the need for rural white residents to acknowledge the history of s

Rural Minnesota uneasily ponders systemic racism

MONTEVIDEO, MINN. – When the Rev. Jeff Fitzkappes is preaching about social justice in this western Minnesota city, he knows when he’s pushing the limits.…
8-year-old Josie Hochsprung of Alexandria climbs the Prairie Walls at Blue Mound State Park as part of the " I Can Climb" program that gives novices t

Where did the terms 'outstate' and 'Greater Minnesota' originate?

A reader wonders: Where are "instate" and "Lesser Minnesota" located?
Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks, a Sauk Rapids bar, is suing the social justice group UniteCloud, alleging interference with the bar’s business.

'Redneck' bar sues St. Cloud social justice group, claims protests hurting business

Sauk Rapids establishment claims protests led by UniteCloud are hurting business.
The JCPenney store at the struggling Kandi Mall in Willmar will soon close. The mall is offering free and reduced rent to lure small businesses.

Willmar's Kandi Mall offering free rent to lure new businesses

After losing several large anchor tenants, Kandi Mall looks for boost
Police in riot gear stood guard on May 27 at the Third Police Precinct station, which was later badly damaged by during protests.

'Enough talk, we need action': Many call for drastic reform

The May 25 police killing of George Floyd, and the demonstrations that followed, represent a breaking point between citizens and police. While recognizing the need to maintain public safety and protect the city from danger, many say drastic change is desperately needed.
Roland Hogrefe owns Rollie’s Rednecks and Longnecks, a Sauk Rapids bar that displays Confederate paraphernalia. The bar’s listing on the Explore M

Bar's Confederate displays push Minnesota tourism agency back and forth

Sauk Rapids bar delisted twice from state tourism website