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
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.
Terry Brisk of Little Falls was shot to death Nov. 7, 2016, while he was deer hunting in central Minnesota. A $30,000 reward is being offered for info

Mystery persists over who killed Minnesota deer hunter in 2016

Morrison County man's death three years ago was an intentional act, sheriff says.
St. Paul police investigated a shooting on E. Annapolis Street on the city’s West Side. Neighbors said the shooting involved juveniles.

Gun at after-school gathering leads to tragedy in St. Paul

Two boys who now face charges told police that their casual mishandling of a gun resulted in an accidental shot that killed 17-year-old Da'Qwan Jones-Morris.
Attorney Jeff Anderson held hands with Ron Vasek and his wife Patty as he met privately with abuse survivors Ron Vasek and Pat Matuseski, right, befor

Twin Cities attorney demands that pope remove Crookston bishop

Children are in peril and survivors of sexual abuse are suffering, Jeff Anderson said.
CTC managing director Kimberly Motes apologized on behalf of the theater directly to survivor Laura Stearns during Friday's news conference. Jeff Ande

Children's Theatre reaches settlements in remaining sex abuse cases

The theater will contribute $500,000 to start a fund to support survivors.
Goldy Gopher, shown in 2009.

Rodent misidentification led to Goldy Gopher's stripes

The smiling, bucktooth rodent was first modeled after a chipmunk.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, shown this summer in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Armenians upset Rep. Omar didn't support measure recognizing genocide

Omar was one of three members who voted "present" as the House voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure in a clear rebuke to Turkey.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers mascot, Goldy, dances for the fans during a break in the first half of a quarter-final game in the 2018 NCAA Big Ten Wome

How did Minnesota become the Gopher State?

It appears Minnesotans have been misled about their beloved gophers. We try to unravel the gopher mystery.
Cindy Berg used an umbrella as she walked her dog Crispin through Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis on her lunch break Tuesday.

When will it finally stop raining in Minnesota? When it snows

With snow not far away, the Twin Cities could end the year as the wettest on record
George LaRoche was 17 when he enlisted in the Navy.

In Faribault, VFW's Last Man's Club is down to one

The last man standing saluted and brought an end to an era
Thirty-one students notified recently that debts they owed to the Gisle A. & Eva M. Johnson Loan Repayment Program had been erased.

Two dozen former Owatonna students find student loan erased

Growth of endowment started by Twin Cities businessman allowed managers to convert loans to grants for 31 students.
Ten hours into the search for Ethan Haus, with the help of a stranger operating a drone that uses heat-seeking technology, the lost boy and his dog we

'People helping people': Many strangers rush in to find a lost boy

The search for 6-year-old Ethan Haus brought dozens of emergency workers and more than 600 neighbors, friends and strangers from miles around.
Kidnapping victim Jayme Closs, second from left, appears with her family and supporters to receive a "hometown hero" award from the Wisconsin Assembly

One year later, hometown closes ranks again to support Jayme

Barron, Wis., looked for the teen after her abduction. Now they look out for her.
Robert Lee Bradford III

Robert Lee Bradford II, owner of 17 newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, dies at 80

Bradford, a one-time reporter, believed weeklies were a vital link to keeping small towns connected.

19 St. Cloud high school students charged in fight last month

None of the students will be allowed to return to school this year, administrators said.
High water cascaded over the Ames Mill Dam on the Canon River as a pedestrian crossed the South Water Street Bridge on Wednesday in Northfield, Minn.

Rain on top of rain is making Minnesota one wet mess

Twin Cities metro is drenched, but Rochester's 47 inches has shattered its rainfall record.

4-year-old boy falls from third-story window in Minneapolis

The boy was alert when he was taken to the hospital.
Firefighters work the scene of an overnight fire that engulfed and destroyed a synagogue in downtown Duluth, Minn., Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

Arrest warrant issued for man who set Duluth synagogue fire

Matthew Amiot's "whereabouts are unknown," a probation officer said.
Crystal Norcross spoke as part of Healing Minnesota Stories at the area the Dakota refer to as Bdote, or “meeting place of rivers,” as Fort Snelli

The gates are once again open at Fort Snelling State Park

Visitors return to Fort Snelling park in search of nature, healing
When the State Theater closed in 2008, the roof leaked and the inside was filled with trash. A local developer has been restoring the historic buildin

An Art Deco moviehouse regains its shine in Ely

After a 5-year renovation, State Theater set to reopen later this year
Remember fall color? This Summit Avenue maple tree from 2016 hints at the the blaze of seasonal touches in store for us this year, thanks to our wet s

Wet Minnesota summer could come with upside of a fall awash in color

"It should be brilliant," the DNR's Val Cervenka said, adding that all the rain helped trees stay healthy and green.
Earlier this week, police asked for the public’s help in finding Jacob Michael Lavoie, 21.

Family says body found in Duluth waters is that of missing 21-year-old

A UMD student went missing near that area earlier this week.
In this April 22, 2012, photo, a black bear grazes in a field in Calais, Vt. Minnesota bear experts say that black bear attacks are rare and fatal att

Minn. woman identified after she was killed by bear on Rainy Lake

The Maple Plain woman, staying on a remote island in Ontario, went to check on her barking dogs when she was attacked.
In this April 22, 2012, photo, a black bear grazes in a field in Calais, Vt. Minnesota bear experts say that black bear attacks are rare and fatal att

Black bear kills woman on remote Rainy Lake island in Ontario

Minnesota bear experts say that black bear attacks are rare -- and fatal attacks even more so.
Eden Prairie police released this photo of an animal spotted Monday afternoon near Purgatory Creek. Minnesota DNR wildlife experts say it's likely a c

At ease, Eden Prairie: It wasn't a cougar

Wildlife experts who examined a photo of the animal say it's likely a coyote.
Granite Peak in Montana.

Witnesses tell of climbing tragedy on Montana mountain

As his horrified son watched, a 65-year-old Circle Pine man lost his footing and fell.
Granite Peak in Montana.

Minnesota man dies climbing highest peak in Montana

Man, 65, and his son were climbing highest points around country.
Gophers football fans cheered on the team in 2018 at TCF Bank Stadium. Minneapolis park officials reversed course hours after trying to limit parking

Park Board reverses field after angering Gophers fans with tailgating change

Minneapolis parks officials did a quick about face after limiting tailgating and parking space at East River Flats Park.
Touting their success at hosting Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2018, the team and Twin Cities boosters believe they have a good shot at reeli

Vikings toss hat in the ring to host NFL draft and another Super Bowl

Vikings express interest in hosting the massive event again, and NFL draft, too.
Authorities are searching for Dylan John Bennett, 22.

Son shot and killed parents in Minn. home before fleeing to Mexico, charges say

Barry Bennett, a former NFL player and Long Prairie physical education teacher, and his wife, Carol, were found dead in their home on Wednesday.

Former NFL player, wife found dead in Long Prairie home; police search for known suspect

News about the deaths of Barry and Carol Bennett spread quickly among those living in Long Prairie.
Part of a bluff above Hwy. 68 between Mankato and New Ulm has fallen away. It’s one of many landslides being inventoried by researchers in a statewi

Geologist is on a quest to map landslides in Minnesota

Charting vulnerable areas could protect lives, property, waterways
This year, the timber rattlesnake has become the talk of Winona in southeastern Minnesota.

Rattlesnake sightings create a buzz in SE. Minnesota bluff country

Many longtime residents have made peace with the timber rattlesnake, content to coexist. Others, not so much.
In this Monday, June 17, 2019, photo, a cashier displays a packet of tobacco-flavored Juul pods at a store in San Francisco. San Francisco supervisors

It's soon to be the law in Minnesota — no vaping in most public places

"It's an important step in making sure we're not normalizing the use of e-cigarette tobacco use," Minnesota Rep. Laurie Halverson said.
Supporters hold a tribute to the former St. Andrew's Church in St. Paul on Sunday, July 21, 2019.

Fight to save former St. Paul church from wrecking ball is lost

The Twin Cities German Immersion School is readying a $5.1 million addition to replace the former St. Andrew's Catholic Church.
Clouds hung in the sky in Rosemount after Monday evening storms left many areas flooded. Extreme rains have become common this summer in Minnesota.

With glut of rain, Minnesota is having a tough time drying out

A barrage of recent storms flooding streets, swamping basements and casting parked cars afloat is adding to one of the soggiest years on record.
In 1981, Bruce Laingen smiled as his parade moved through the streets of Odlin, Minn.

Minnesota native, top American held in Iran during hostage crisis dies

Bruce Laingen was often seen on the news bound and blindfolded. His wife tied a yellow ribbon around the oak tree in the front yard of their home. He was 96.
Crews unearthed a diving bell in the boathouse of the ­Glensheen Mansion while preparing for building restoration.

Yet another mystery is uncovered at Duluth's storied Glensheen mansion

"This is one of the coolest things we have historically uncovered," Glensheen's director said regarding a diving bell recently brought to the surface.
Brig. Gen. Stefanie Horvath embraced her mother, Catherine Horvath, as her wife Christy Starks looked on during a promotion ceremony Tuesday in Rosemo

'There are no limitations.' Minnesota salutes new brigadier general

"There are no limitations," Stefanie Horvath said shortly before a ceremony in front of family, friends, Minnesota Guard colleagues and dignitaries that included Gov. Tim Walz.