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Karen Tolkkinen

Columnist | Newsroom
Phone: 612 673 4007

Karen Tolkkinen is a columnist for the Star Tribune, focused on the issues and people of greater Minnesota.


Karen Tolkkinen is the Star Tribune's greater Minnesota columnist. She has more than three decades of experience in local journalism, most recently serving as a reporter, copy editor, and columnist at the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minn. She lives with her husband and son in Otter Tail County, in a farmhouse built by her husband's great-great grandparents in the early 1920s.
Recent content from Karen Tolkkinen
Signs opposing wind power, including this one, are sprinkled around Traverse County.

Tolkkinen: Wind turbines become divisive issue in Traverse County, Minn.

Farmers are deciding whether to put turbines on their land, despite the anger that might come with it.
n the Land of 10,000 Lakes, summer fun means water. Is this the year to take the plunge and buy a lake home? And how do you find the right one?
To sta

Tolkkinen: Renting a place up north for a week? A primer on being a good guest in lake country

Some counties are cracking down on VRBO renters. With good reason.
Former Lt. Governor Michelle Fischbach is running in the Seventh Congressional District GOP primary to challenge DFL incumbent Collin Peterson.

Tolkkinen: Finally Rep. Michelle Fischbach is asking for my opinion — kind of

The GOP congresswoman from western Minnesota is facing a primary challenge.
Royal Myers holds a gift bag of wine on his return canoe trip from the Northern Lights Dental clinic in Waterville, Minn.

Tolkkinen: Chest-high floodwaters didn't stop this Minnesota dentist from seeing patients

Waterville dentist Bill Struve brought patients and employees in by canoe.
Garst Farmhouse at Whiterock Conservancy in Iowa.

Tolkkinen: Families in rural Minnesota want your house, Grandma

"The inability of seniors to move out has inhibited the ability for our new labor to move in."
The breach of the Rapidan dam near Mankato drew national attention, including the mispronunciation of the city's name.

Tolkkinen: A CNN reporter mispronounces Mankato and Minnesota laughs

Minnesota is full of names that weed out the locals from the out-of-towners.
Students are sick of seeing a few posters by the University of Minnesota-Morris College Republicans hanging in the halls.

Tolkkinen: The world's problems in 17 rooms in western Minnesota

"We need to be caught up in what unifies us."
From his home in Pipestone, retired U.S. Army Maj. Robert Douty, along with his family, talks with his son U.S. Army Lt. Col. Brian Douty, who is curr

Tolkkinen: A Pipestone father and his Army son share a Father's Day call

A Pipestone father and his Army son share an early Father's Day video call.
Karen Tolkkinen's son eyes wild grapes harvested for jelly in 2015.

Tolkkinen: Living in rural Minnesota, I've made my yard my grocery store

Foraging and raising chickens took some getting used to for our grocery store-raised country transplant.
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is seen in June 2021. Summer is well underway in greater Minnesota, and all regions of the state are drawing tour

Tolkkinen: Summer brings together urban and rural. Let's make use of it.

Don't be like that guy who made a Battle Lake hostess cry.

Tolkkinen: Alexandria tackles hate and fear after police Facebook post draws racist response

This west-central resort town has seen the kind of racism that can follow a criminal incident, but the small crowd that turned out for a public meeting in response give reason for hope.
Karen Tolkkinen is a columnist for the Star Tribune, focused on the issues and people of greater Minnesota.

How wild Minnesota worked its magic for our new greater Minnesota columnist

Karen Tolkkinen debuts her new column with a story - and a request