Staff Directory 10645991

Mary Lynn Smith

Reporter | Metro
Phone: 612-673-4788
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Mary Lynn Smith is a general assignment reporter for the Star Tribune. She previously covered St. Paul City Hall and Ramsey County. Before that, she worked in Duluth where she covered local and state government and business. She frequently has written about the outdoors.


After graduating with a master's degree in public affairs reporting, the Chicago native moved to Minnesota and fell in love with the outdoors despite being a Girl Scout dropout. Smith became an avid long-distance runner and cross-country skier, keeping her fit so she could backpack in the mountains and paddle the BWCA and Quetico wilderness areas with her husband and three children. Now that her daughters are adults, she gives them the heavier packs.
Recent content from Mary Lynn Smith
Patrons inside Blarney Pub & Grill in Dinkytown partied until the 10 p.m. closing on Friday, Nov. 13, mandated by Gov. Tim Walz in an effort to stem t

Earlier last call, but new COVID rules mostly on honor system

While some states are toughening their rhetoric and enforcement in response to a pandemic surge, Minnesota leaders said they are optimistic that a heavy-handed approach won't be necessary.
Alycia Howard, 22, of north Minneapolis, held her yawning 3-month old daughter, Alivia, as she filled out her ballot in North High School’s gymnasiu

Minnesota voters stream to the polls despite the coronavirus threat

Voters wearing masks streamed into the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in the midst of the pandemic — unlike a record number of Minnesotans…
Greg Pehl, a UW-Eau Claire senior from New Brighton, joined other antigen testers on campus Monday, Nov. 2, in Eau Claire. The test is for those who a

With surge in cases, Wisconsin has become a cautionary tale

Mayo Clinic last week suspended nonessential procedures at its hospitals in and around Eau Claire and brought in nurses from Rochester to cover shifts.
David Trompeter

David Trompeter, avid outdoorsman and former Ranier mayor, dies of COVID-19 at 88

In the small northern border town of Ranier, Minn., David Trompeter was among the last of the old-timers. The former high school English and industrial…
Khloe Cox, 11, with parents Lloyd and LaWanda Cox, were heading back to Maryland on Thursday after her two-month recovery from the first known dual li

'Hail Mary' surgery gives girl with rare cancer a second chance at life

After two months in the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital, the 11-year-old got the OK to return to home in Baltimore.
Scott Bodin administered a drive-through COVID-19 test at the Min No Aya Win clinic in Cloquet, Minn., earlier this year.

Minn. reports highest one-day COVID-19 death count since June

Twenty-nine COVID-19 deaths were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday along with a new category of probable infections based on antigen diagnostic testing.
Daniel Hull, second from left, met with his managers at the Nutty Squirrel Sports Saloon on Wednesday to discuss how they would adapt to Wisconsin's n

Wisconsin struggles with new surge in COVID-19 cases

New restrictions are enacted after the state becomes a hot spot.
Mail-in ballot packages were prepared in July in Minneapolis. More than 1 million Minnesota voters have requested absentee ballots.

Minnesotans across the state overwhelmingly are voting absentee

A heated presidential election and COVID-19 are driving people to vote from home.
Veena Iyer, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota.

White House now aims to slash refugee numbers to an all-time low

The Trump administration wants to further slash admissions; Minnesota advocates for refugees say plan betrays U.S. values.
Kyndell Harkness is the new AME of Diversity and Community.

Star Tribune names first editor for diversity and community

The new position reflects a push to diversify newsrooms.
The federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind., show in August. In response to inquiries about COVID-19 cases at two federal prisons in Minnesota, th

COVID-19 cases spike at two federal prisons in Minnesota

The outbreaks raise concerns that virus will spread beyond prison walls.
Finn Marube, a clinical scientist with North Memorial, administered a COVID-19 test to Sandra Lynn White, of Minneapolis, in July behind the North Mem

High numbers of new COVID cases concern Minn. health officials

They suspect that social gatherings over Labor Day and the start of school may have contributed to those numbers.
Jonathan Ceplecha, 59, was cutting down oak trees on his Redwood Falls property with a chain saw when a tree fell on him.

Family, rescuers praise Minnesota man pinned under tree for 4 days

"He was prepared for both but resolved to live," a daughter said after listening to him recount his ordeal.
Hien Bui, an EMT with M Health Fairview and registered nurse, administered a COVID-19 test during a free testing event at New Salem Baptist Church in

Hundreds turn out for free tests as state reaches more diverse groups

The free screening was one of dozens that have been held this summer as health officials partner with churches and community groups to make tests more accessible to racially diverse communities.
Hassanen Mohamed hosted a meeting of the support group Somali COVID-19 Families from his home in Brooklyn Center on July 18.

Somali group pushes to end state's health care disparities

COVID-19 has hit elders in Minnesota's Somali community especially hard — and racial inequities have led to mistreatment and inadequate care, a local group says.
Crystal Gail Welcome put on a face mask before entering the Gooseberry Falls Visitor Center near Two Harbors, Minn. A statewide mask mandate is now in

Minnesota mask mandate goes into effect with a helping hand

The 4 million masks sent out to chambers of commerce and other groups for distribution should make it easier for businesses around the state.
Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria, Minn.

Alexandria makes veterans memorial a town centerpiece

A group of local vets decided three years ago that Alexandria needed its own veterans memorial and wanted to do things differently.
Shoppers entered the Walmart in Apple Valley on Friday. Minnesota health officials are urging people to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Rise in unknown COVID-19 sources amplifies call for masks

It comes as Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is debating whether to mandate mask-wearing in the state.
Erica Perkins took her 3-month old baby China Perkins for her first swim in Wirth Lake at Theodore Wirth Regional Park beach on Friday.

July 4th weekend lures many in Minnesota back to socializing

State health care and government officials hold their breath over how the summer festivities will affect the spread of the virus.
A social distancing sign at Lake Harriet's South Beach in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon ahead of the July 4th weekend.

Minnesotans, nation prepare to celebrate July 4th with COVID-19 cases on the rise

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm urged Minnesotans to celebrate the holiday primarily with the people in their own households and to consider virtual visits with larger groups.
The Planned Parenthood Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota headquarters in St. Paul.

Abortions in Minnesota again fall below 10,000

The 9,922 abortions in 2019 is the fourth time it has hit near record lows since 1980.
Constance Pearson-Howey, left, of St. Cloud, accompanied by her children Tai Pearson, 16, and Tia Pearson, 17, visited the George Floyd memorial outsi

George Floyd memorial still draws crowd: 'His life was given to wake us up'

The thousands of colorful bouquets placed on the street where George Floyd died are shriveled and faded now, but no one dares to move them.…
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board headquarters in Eveleth, Minn

Mining politics stall money for Minn. tribe's water treatment project

IRRRB members cite Fond du Lac band's "anti-mining" stance in opposing aid request.
A small group prayed together outside of Cup Foods.

On the street where George Floyd died, mourners see some reason to hope

As the broadcast of the memorial ended, a street celebration began at 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue, with calls for the crowd to be respectful.
The Minnesota national guard surrounded the Capitol on Sunday. ] Jerry Holt •Jerry.Holt@startribune.com

Officials back off after first blaming outsiders, extremists for Twin Cities violence

For two days, state and local officials blamed "outside agitators" for the spasm of violence and property damage that erupted when a black man, George…
Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee in a March 7, 2019 file photo

Minnesota casinos begin to reopen with safeguards in place

Mystic Lake welcomes guests, masks required.
Tom Ford, owner of the Madison & Co Salon in the Canadian Pacific building, donned one of the protective face shields he’d ordered to wear while cut

Minnesotans can finally return to salons, barbershops

Barbers, stylists and their clients must wear masks and services will be done by appointment only.
Now what? Gnats? Black fly invasion torments Twin Cities

Now what? Gnats? Black fly invasion torments Twin Cities

The aggressive biters are leaving bloody welts and driving some indoors.
A group of friends met for food and drinks at Jonesy's Local Bar on the first day of the bar reopening in Hudson, Wis.

Safety debate continues as bars, businesses reopen in Wisconsin

Many business owners were as eager to reopen and stem financial losses as they were cautious about the virus' spread, expecting guidance and possibly restrictions from state and local officials.
Steven A. Anderson

Minnesota Judge Steven A. Anderson dies of COVID-19 at 65

In the courtroom, he was Judge Steven A. Anderson. On the street, he preferred to be called Steve.
University of Minnesota, Rochester graduates in 2013 at the Mayo Civic Center. Most public and private Minnesota colleges had already postponed their

Minnesota bans large, in-person ceremonies for 2020 grads

Most students and graduates are disappointed that in-person graduations are nixed. But the decision also is sparking anger for some and relief for others.
Although Lake Mille Lacs will undoubtedly be busy during the weekend fishing opener, Tim Potoczny said his resort, McQuoid’s Inn, will be nearly emp

Minnesota's resorts walk a fine line between safety and service

Anglers headed north will find the opener a very different affair from previous years.
DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen

Minnesotans urged to stay close to home for fishing opener

That means no overnight stays and traveling no farther than what can be done to and from on a single tank of gas or a single charge, officials said.
To maintain social distance while visiting area parks, officials recommend going outside of the peak times from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spring weekend to bring out Minnesotans looking for open spaces

Parks officials warn restless visitors not to overcrowd public spaces.
A pair of dogs were heedless of the 6-foot rule at the Bloomington off-leash dog park on Tuesday evening. The CDC now says it’s best to avoid dog pa

Social distancing is now advised for pets, but feel free to interact with your animal

Fido and friends may end up on a short leash now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that cats, dogs and…
Medical workers administered drive-up COVID-19 tests Saturday, April 18, outside the Sanford Worthington Clinic.

Increase in COVID-19 taking hold in southwest Minnesota

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases soared to 69 in Nobles County on Sunday, including a cluster at the JBS Pork plant in Worthington. That's left many uneasy about what could come next.
Brenda and Mike Drinken of Hudson, Wisconsin, held hands as they waited in line to vote Tuesday morning. Hudson voters were allowed into the firehouse

COVID-19 fight looks different in Minnesota's border states

Political leaders in Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have stopped short of issuing stay-at-home orders, prompting concern over whether they are doing enough to check the virus.
Julie Skovran, who lives in Lakeville, has enlisted a few friends and has been sewing masks for health care workers. Like other sewers across the stat

Minnesota adjusts to new normal: Masks in public

The new CDC advice came with a strong plea to preserve the medical-grade masks for care providers, as well as to continue the social distancing and hand-washing.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, shown at a February news conference in Madison, Wis.

Stay-at-home order in Wisconsin turns Hudson's main street into a ghost town

Minnesotans only have to look across the St. Croix River to see what a state-mandated "stay-at-home" order looks like.
A jogger passed the Minnehaha bunny, after someone playfully added a protective mask during the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, March 20, in south Minne

Minnesotans look for the possible during the unimaginable

Seven-year-olds who beg for a play date now video chat. Gym rats work out to YouTube videos. Book clubs, yoga classes and church groups connect via videoconferencing apps. Commuter congestion is gone.
Hawk Sullivan, owner of Hawks Bar & Grill on State Street is photographed Monday, March 16, 2020 over the lunch hour in his empty restaurant in Madiso

Last call stings for bars and restaurants in Hudson, rest of Wisconsin

Governor's order to stay home is economic blow for many local businesses.
Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and Attorney General Keith Ellison announced community mitigation strategies for Minnesot

Virus shuts down Minnesota's gathering places

"It's a situation that no one has lived through in my lifetime," said Kris Howland from the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres.
Daily life across Minnesota is rapidly changing as organizations and institutions quickly maneuver to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Osceol

Daily life in Minnesota shutting down, going remote

The specter of the virus outbreak has forced organizations to shut down events, including St. Patrick's Day parades. The Twin Cities archbishop issued a dispensation to are Catholics for going to Sunday mass.
Colten Treu was led into Chippewa County Court for a preliminary hearing, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Chippewa Falls, Wis.

Wis. man who killed three Girl Scouts and a mother to be sentenced

The Chippewa Falls man will face the families of the victims in court this week.
Debbie and Rob Dalton attended a DFL precinct caucus Tuesday night at Valley View Middle School in Edina.

Separated from presidential pick, Minnesota caucuses focus on party-building work

It's the first step in choosing delegates to conventions.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, left, and Attorney General Keith Ellison

Minnesota officials side with Mille Lacs Band over boundary dispute

Minnesota's top elected officials made it clear this week that they're siding with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in a long-standing and often emotional…
Red River flooding in 2009. Last year was Minnesota’s wettest year on record, leaving the ground saturated and rivers high even before the spring th

With threat of spring flooding, Minnesota homeowners scramble to get protected

Homeowners scramble to buy insurance, but waiting too long can be risky, too
Frustrated applicants to the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine turned to social media and forums, expressing anger and angst over the "technical err

Mayo's mistake: 360 med school applicants are told they're in, then not

Because of a "technical error," applicants to the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.received acceptance letters Thursday afternoon when they shouldn't have.
The Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minn., is the new home for three orphaned cougars — two males and a female.

Three orphan cougars in Washington find a new home in Minnesota

The two males and a female went to the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, after they were discovered huddled without their mother under a homeowner's deck.
Signs were nearly underwater near Hwy. 19, where the Minnesota River caused flooding and closed down three of four highways heading into town last Mar

Cut off by spring floods, Minnesota town counting on Legislature

Henderson hopes raising roads can save its only school.
Tyler R. Janovsky

$3 million bail set for man accused of shooting Waseca officer

Tyler R. Janovsky, 37, is charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder and was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair.
Ice fishing houses, like these photographed on Lake Minnetonka, are usually a common winter sight in Minnesota.

Stuck with slush, northern Minnesota resorts frozen out

"It's like a ghost town out there," said one bait shop owner on Leech Lake.

Jim Price, former Rochester school board member, dies at 84

Price, who also served as pastor at Rochester Community Baptist Church, moved back to Mississippi after stepping down from the school board.
Waseca Officer Arik Matson

Waseca hockey teams wear badge number to honor wounded officer

Waseca high school hockey players will honor a local police officer shot in the line of duty — a tribute that likely won't run afoul…
The Waseca Bluejays boys’ team sported donated jerseys paying tribute to wounded police officer Arik Matson.

High School league urged to 'reverse course' on Waseca hockey jerseys

A Minnesota state senator pushed back Friday against the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) after it said Waseca high school hockey players couldn't wear…
The Waseca Bluejays wearing jerseys honoring wounded police officer Arik Matson.

High school league says Waseca can't wear jersey honoring wounded officer

The garment can be worn at practice, but not during actual games, league says.
Waseca police officer Arik Matson

Wounded Waseca officer responds to questions, gives thumbs up

But many unknowns remain in Arik Matson's recovery.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., waits to be introduced before speaking at a campaign event, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in O

Iowa poll: Klobuchar still stuck behind the top Democrats

Despite strong debate performances, the Minnesota senator hasn't pushed her poll numbers up in pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination.
For the second time in 16 months, a federal watchdog agency has cited the Minneapolis VA Health Care Center for failures connected to a Minnesota vete

Minneapolis VA cited second time for failures in suicide of a vet

Hospital officials say improvements have already been made to stop such tragedies.
President of Education Minnesota Denise Specht, shown in 2013. Education Minnesota said that it opposes a plan to change the state Constitution in an

Minn. teachers union opposes constitutional amendment on achievement gap

Education Minnesota says plan could open the door for state-funded vouchers for private schools.
Retired Justice Alan Page and Minneapolis Fed official Neel Kashkari want to amend the state Constitution to close Minnesota's academic achievement ga

To close state's achievement gap, 2 leaders propose change to Minn. Constitution

Alan Page, a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, and Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, propose guaranteeing all Minnesota children the fundamental right to a quality public education.
Yvonne Herzan looks to her Celtic tattoo symbol for “breathe” when worry overwhelms her.

Families of Minnesota Guard members watch and hope as U.S., Iran tensions rise

Thousands of relatives and friends of soldiers anxiously await the next development, hoping hostilities ease and their loved ones stay safe.
Mark Johnson of Chaska walked across the floodwall at Carver, Minn. As temperatures warmed to the 20s, some already worry about flooding when the thaw

Minnesota chalks up the wettest year on record

Saturated soil, high rivers could spell trouble come spring.
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.

Camp gives Minnesota students emergency medical response training

These students eventually may become the volunteers Minnesota needs to respond to disasters.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Charles P. Nord, Sgt. Kort M. Plantenberg and Chief Warrant Officer 2 James A. Rogers Jr.

Memorial funds set up for three Minnesota soldiers killed in copter crash

The victims of the Black Hawk crash will be buried in the next few days.
Maj. Nathan Burr and Lt. Col. Brandi Degier, who both knew the three soldiers, comforted each other before Saturday’s news conference about the cras

Grief over 3 Minnesota soldiers lost in copter crash goes worldwide

Hundreds paid tribute Saturday to three Minnesota National Guard members who died when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed this week in a snowy Stearns County farm field.
Charles P. Nord, 30, was identified as the Minnesota National Guard pilot who died in Thursday’s crash of a helicopter on a maintenance test flight.

Soldiers killed in copter crash returned from Mideast in May

Charlie Nord, 30, was piloting the UH-60 Black Hawk on a routine maintenance test flight when it fell into a field shortly after takeoff. He was killed along with two other Guard members aboard, who were named Saturday morning.
The site where a Minnesota National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crashed killed three service members in Stearns County.

Cause of Guard helicopter crash that killed 3 under investigation

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the deaths of the crew members, which came during a maintenance test flight. The copter took off from St. Cloud and went down in a tree-lined farm field near Cold Spring. "My heart breaks for the families," Walz said.
A sign indicates a store that accepts the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP, the official name of the food stamp program.

Thousands in Minn. face push to tighten work requirements for food assistance

Advocates for those who rely on the SNAP program say the change will push more people to food shelves.
North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

Emotional scene at Robbinsdale hospital prompts lockdown

Hospital officials called police after situation got "out of control."
“I prefer to use boy facilities because I’m a boy,” Matt Woods said in an interview Tuesday. “I don’t want to be treated any different than

Suit accuses Wright County school of discriminating against transgender student

Officials at Buffalo Community Middle School denied the allegations in the lawsuit.
Abdi Abdi, Shirwa Hassan Jirbil’s nephew, says his uncle was a generous man who used his education and language skills to help Somali elders and you

Family and strangers struggle to understand fatal Mpls. beating

A seemingly inconsequential encounter on a Metro Transit bus in Minneapolis led to violence and a loss for the loved ones of 75-year-old Shirwa Hasan Jibril.

4 Twin Cities women charged in scheme to steal $680,000 meant for Catholic Charities homeless

The U.S. Attorney's Office charged four women with fraud in a case involving Catholic Charities.
Leroy Davis-Miles

75-year-old man dies after attack, disagreement on Metro Transit bus, Mpls. police say

Charges against the man accused in the attack were immediately amended from felony assault to second-degree murder.