Staff Directory 6370539

Matt McKinney

Reporter | Regional Team
Phone: 612-673-7329

Matt McKinney is a reporter on the Star Tribune's state team. In 15 years at the Star Tribune, he has covered business, agriculture and crime. 

McKinney graduated from St. John's University in Collegeville and spent the ensuing years chasing stories through Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Cambodia. A Minnesota childhood taught McKinney to love winter, skiing, the first warm day of spring, good books and time spent outdoors. He benefited from great teachers at Stillwater High School, and again in Collegeville and at the University of Minnesota. He's a fan of several local breweries, Prince, Jessie Diggins, the Loons, and newspaper reporters near and far who taught him the craft. McKinney bikes to work year-round from his home in the Twin Cities, which he shares with his wife and two sons.
Recent content from Matt McKinney
The 2016 fishing opener on White Bear Lake

Judge strikes down watering ban implemented over White Bear Lake water fight

Ruling stems from 2012 lawsuit over falling water levels at White Bear Lake
Legislators and Woodbury city officials tour a water treatment plant. Woodbury has been profoundly affected by PFAS contamination, and is the process

Open house will highlight Woodbury's solution to PFAS contamination: $400M water treatment plant

A May 22 event at City Hall will provide more information about the new water treatment plant, which is expected to be operational in 2028.

White House environmental official tours PFAS-site in Lake Elmo

Visit follows new EPA rule that sets enforceable limits on contamination in drinking water.
People lounge on a bench and look out at the St. Croix River and historic Stillwater Lift Bridge Thursday, Sep. 14, 2023, in Lowell Park in Stillwater

Stillwater to host dinner on Historic Lift Bridge

The May 18 public dinner will be held as a grand opening celebration for the city's new Chestnut Plaza, located immediately west of the bridge.
Angie Hong, on Friday at Sunfish Lake Park in Lake Elmo, has 108,000 followers on TikTok for her natural-world posts.

Stillwater outdoor educator turns nature nerdery into TikTok gold

Angie Hong's upcoming book, to be released this summer, guides readers through the St. Croix River valley
Peter Nelson Hall

Peter Hall, architect and preservationist, dies at 82

He helped kick-start renovation along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.
The historic Moritz Bergstein Shoddy Mill and Warehouse, sit along the St. Croix riverfront as seen in a northward view Wednesday in Stillwater. The S

Remade Stillwater riverfront could bring new parks, boat launch, picnic space and fishing piers

Stillwater is embarking on a year of transformation along its historic St. Croix River site, with multiple projects in the works or under consideration.
In this May 24, 1943, photo, the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma is lifted out of the water at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.

A Minnesota sailor killed at Pearl Harbor to come home, 83 years later

William F. Gusie, 19, was aboard the Oklahoma when it was torpedoed and sunk
Hercules relaxes at home in St. Paul in 2023 while wearing a device that delivered pulsed electromagnetic therapy to help with pain and inflammation w

The story of Hercules the cat: Rescued in 2022, Target model in 2024

Hercules, the cat with the lovable face, now appears on cartons of Target brand kitty litter.
Mary Johnson-Roy

Mary Johnson-Roy, who drew on faith to forgive the man who killed her son, dies at 71

Renewing her life after the death of her son, Laramiun Lamont Byrd, Johnson-Roy went on to champion mercy and peace.
Minneapolis/May 16, 2009/10:30AM Fishermen sped along the St. Croix River near Osceola, WI. in search of a productive spot to fish. The St. Croix is a

Judge stops St. Croix apartment project, reversing Wisconsin board's approvals

Citing evidence and "public outcry," Judge Daniel Tolan ruled the building would be visible from the St. Croix River in violation of environmental protections.
St. Croix County District Attorney Karl Anderson carried a photo of Isaac Schuman after he placed it in front of the jury during the Nicolae Miu trial

Ex-wife testifies that Apple River stabbing suspect a peaceful person

Sondra Miu testifies in court that feared for her ex-husband's safety when she saw young men surround him on the Apple River; Nicolae Miu has claimed self defense in the fight that left four people seriously injured and one person, Isaac Schuman, 17, dead.
Witness Jawahn Cockfield cries as he testifies during the second day of trial at the St. Croix County Circuit Court in Hudson, Wis., on Tuesday.

Friend of stabbing victim who made key video testifies at Apple River stabbing trial

Jawahn Cockfield said he didn't realize what was happening as stabbings took place.
Nicolae Miu, right, in a St. Croix County District courtroom in Hudson on Monday. Miu, 54, of Prior Lake is accused of killing 17-year-old Isaac Schum

Gruesome video shown at trial on fatal Apple River stabbing

Prior Lake man's defense attorney and prosecution both say chaotic footage will prove their case in teen's death.
Nicolae Miu. (St. Croix County Jail)

Apple River stabbing trial to begin Monday

Nicolae Miu, a 54-year-old Prior Lake man, is charged with homicide and faces life in prison in the 2022 killing of teenager Isaac Schuman.
The Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.

Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater reopens after renovation

The building had been closed since June 2023 and is now open Wednesday through Sunday for guided and self-guided tours.
A stretch of Main Street in downtown Stillwater, pictured in December 2022.

Arne Carlson: Why wasn't public told sooner about Stillwater PFAS contamination?

The former governor says the delay in notifying residents about the contamination is "stunning," and calls on government officials to act.
At the Lake Elmo Park Preserve swimming beach, hundreds of people enjoyed the weather on Memorial day .], ORG XMIT: MI

Washington County sets public hearing on new park rules about marijuana, mushroom hunts and e-bikes

A public hearing will be held April 23 on the new rules, which were reviewed by the county Parks and Open Space Commission but still need approval of the County Board.
Ben King, a 51-year-old New Prague attorney, died March 13 while swimming in Puerto Rico.

New Prague attorney drowns in Puerto Rico

Ben King, 51, was one of four drowning deaths this month in the U.S. territory
A giant American flag hung between two ladder trucks ahead of a memorial service for Burnsville police officers Paul Elmstrand, 27, Matthew Ruge, 27,

Minnesota city rethinks its flag policy after Burnsville tragedy

Bayport to lower U.S. flag for statewide days of mourning, in addition to federal ones.
The Walter F. Mondale Day Use Area at William O'Brien State Park, pictured in 2019, is among the areas of the Marine on St. Croix Park that have close

Riverside portion of William O'Brien State Park in Marine on St. Croix closed until 2025

A section of the park is now closed for a $4.1 million remake of trails and buildings, including accessibility updates.
The Washington County Government Center

Washington County, probation officers reach contract agreement

The union representing the county's probation officers will vote on the agreement March 20; members had earlier threatened to strike over a disagreement about making Juneteenth a paid holiday.
People lounge on a bench and look out at the St. Croix River and historic Stillwater Lift Bridge Thursday, Sep. 14, 2023, in Lowell Park in Stillwater

Stillwater to notify residents of PFAS contamination

The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health risk advisory on well #6, which was closed last year; seven other city wells remain active.
The suburb of Woodbury lost its local newspaper four years ago, but two former state senators want to start a news website this fall  to revive local

Two former Minnesota legislators to launch Woodbury news site

The nonprofit, nonpartisan publication initially would be staffed by volunteers.
The Hudson Pier sign Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Hudson, WI.

Judge: City of Hudson board broke law in riverfront development case

In the St. Croix River protections case, the Hudson Zoning Board of Appeals ignored DNR concerns, erroneously granted hardship variances, the ruling says.
An entrance to the former Mississippi Dunes Golf Course in Cottage Grove, pictured in September 2022. The Cottage Grove City Council has approved a pl

Cottage Grove City Council approves development near Mississippi River despite opposition

Some 377 housing units, 3 miles of trails and sidewalks are planned on the site of a shuttered golf course.
Fallen officer Ruge tried to save his partner

Burnsville officer Matthew Ruge wanted to 'make a difference in this world'

Ruge, 27, grew up near Wabasha before studying law enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato and joining the Burnsville Police Department.
The 515-acre Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park sits southeast of the metro area.

Washington County buys land to add to Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park

The 11-acre parcel along East Point Douglas Road cost $525,000.
Srimati Neenaben Gada.

From Mumbai to Minnesota, Srimati Neenaben Gada shared her native Indian culture

Arriving as an immigrant in her 20s, Neena Gada helped create a home for Indian culture in Minnesota.
Mailboxes in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. The Postmaster general announced Tuesday he is halting some operational changes to mail delivery tha

USPS: Someone stole three blue mail collection boxes off St. Paul streets

The large mailboxes boxes were later recovered; an investigation is underway.
East Ridge basketball players cheer on Riley Hall as they compete with their teammates to properly use a test AED on a CPR mannequin Wednesday, Feb. 0

Cottage Grove couple's son died on a basketball court. Now they hope to save others.

The Dowdle family of Cottage Grove spreads the word about AEDs and quick action.
The Hudson Pier sign Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Hudson, WI.

Judge: Hudson used 'ridiculous' reasoning to OK riverfront development

The suit says the four-story project proposed for downtown violates the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
Construction workers worked on installing a new dock in Hudson, Wis., on Friday. The city of Hudson is installing a new $1.2 million, 650-foot-long do

Hudson installs 'largest dock' on St. Croix River

Longer than two football fields, the dock has been in the making for seven years.
CEO of Greensmith Aaron Smith explained some of the features of a green home he is building nto broker Richard McDonough and designer and developer Am

Soaring home values seen across St. Croix Valley

A confluence of market forces are driving double-digit hikes in the area, popular for its rural feel.
The Washington County Government Center

Washington County probation officers move to strike over Juneteenth holiday dispute

The county and the union representing probation officers disagree on how a newly added holiday should affect employees' existing paid holiday schedule.
Woodbury is one of many cities and townships in Washington County where property taxes are expected to rise this year.

Rising home values behind big property tax increases for some in Washington County

Rising home valuations and school bond referenda are contributors to increases, but some in Washington County will see their tax bill drop.
Kristina Handt, Forest Lake interim city administrator

Forest Lake fires city administrator — and hires interim city administrator let go by Lake Elmo

City officials gave no explanation for Patrick Casey's abrupt dismissal; Kristina Handt to serve as interim for now.
Demand for water in Lake Elmo has skyrocketed as its housing boom continues.

DNR offers to double Lake Elmo's legal water supply

City Council will consider the proposed permit at a closed-session meeting Jan. 16.

Machine-made snow will save Stillwater's snow sculpture championships

A crew from Afton Alps ski area swooped into Stillwater with a snow gun to save the snow sculpture championships.
Demand for water in Lake Elmo has skyrocketed as its housing boom continues.

DNR says Lake Elmo has water for new school

District says it wants to open new school, approved by voters in November, by fall of 2026.

Washington County OKs land deal for Big Marine Park Reserve expansion

The county's purchase of 240 acres from the former Kelley Land and Cattle Co. is part of a planned 685-acre addition to the park.
The Washington County Government Center.

Investigation underway after woman, 21, dies at Washington County jail

Justice Heinrichs was 2020 Stillwater High School graduate.

Washington County approves pay raises

The Washington County Board and top county officials will receive a 6.5% raise in 2024.
Stillwater City Council member Roberta Opheim with Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich at the Warden’s House Museum Stillwater in 1989.

In Stillwater politics, it's almost always 'Sir' vs. 'Sir'

No woman has served as mayor and few have been city council members, prompting questions from the city's human rights commission.
Eli Steinbach

4-year-old Eli is back home recovering after nearly drowning in Minneapolis pond

Eli and his 2-year-old brother had snuck out and made their way across the street to Bryn Mawr Meadows Park.
Maplewood Police Sgt. Michael Nye adjusts the trajectory of the Star Chase GPS tech system in one of the department’s squad cars to track stolen car

Woodbury police aim to cut down on high-speed chases with new tracking darts

The city spent $60,000 on the tracking systems, which police hope will minimize the need for high-speed pursuits.

Woodbury woman sentenced for 2021 slaying of daughter

Sadiyo I. Mohamed, 34, of Woodbury is under a civil commitment and will remain at a state hospital indefinitely as part of her court-ordered treatment.

In Washington County, 'boots-on-the-ground' social work is transforming police response to people in crisis

The county plans to triple the number of social workers who are paired with police to respond to some calls for help.

What's the next Blizzo? Washington County wants name suggestions for its snowplows

Residents can share their ideas through Dec. 15; the county will review the suggestions and allow the public to vote in January.
Demand for water in Lake Elmo has skyrocketed as its housing boom continues.

Lake Elmo lets go its city administrator amid debate over water use, new school

Council members had indicated they would renew the contract of City Administrator Kristina Handt, but then abruptly changed course.
School resource officers returned to East Ridge and Woodbury high schools on Oct. 2, a South Washington County Schools spokesman said.

Woodbury City Council violated open meetings law with vote on school officers, state says

The council met Sept. 6 in closed session to discuss removing city police officers from school positions in two buildings; the state says that meeting should have been public.
Piles of trash are collected and sorted on the main tipping floor Thursday, Nov. 09, 2023, at Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Center in Newpo

Blood, possible human tissue found at east metro garbage hauling site

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is investigating why the materials ended up at the Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Center in Newport.
Detective Adam Sack and his canine partner Otis, a therapy dog, spent time together at the Public Safety Building in Woodbury on Nov. 10. The Woodbury

Meet Otis, the Woodbury Police Department's K-9 partner for calm in crisis

He's one of two therapy dogs in Washington County trained to respond to public safety calls, and also helps lessen first responders' stress.
State legislators and Woodbury city officials toured a water treatment plant on Tuesday.

Facing a water-quality crisis, Woodbury asks lawmakers for help funding new water tower

The city hopes the state will pay for half of a $14.8 million water tower that would help deliver treated water during periods of peak demand.
Mary Josephine Bailey

Arizona woman, 80, charged in 1985 St. Croix Falls cold case murder

Mary Josephine Bailey, of Apache Junction, Ariz., was charged in the 1985 shooting death of Yvonne Menke, who was found in a stairwell.
Portrait of Bill Hooper in his boatyard in Afton.

After 37 years serving Minnesota mariners, Hooper's Yachts founder puts boatyard up for sale

"I think there's a buyer for every boat, and I do my best to put those two together," Bill Hooper said.
Actors Adriana Tokin, Rommy Romero, David Griffith and Paul Vang on the set of “Bobby’s Intermission,” a film set at the Vali-Hi Drive-In. It’

Lake Elmo drive-in is a star of Woodbury-raised filmmaker's movie

"Bobby's Intermission" will be shown at the Woodbury 10 Theatre on Dec. 11.
A stretch of Main Street in downtown Stillwater, pictured in December 2022.

Group wants to build community center in St. Croix Valley

Organizers are seeking feedback at a Thursday meeting in Stillwater for a vision that includes space for swimming lessons, a gymnasium, a community gathering space and teen programs.
Students rehearse a scene from "Newsies" in the gymnasium Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at Marine Village School in Marine on St. Croix, Minn. ]

A year after opening, Marine on St. Croix school growing quickly

The student body of public K-5 charter school Marine Village School has tripled in size, with support from the surrounding community.
A rendering provided by the city of Cottage Grove shows the PFAS-filtering water treatment plant scheduled to open by 2025.

Cottage Grove breaks ground on PFAS-filtration plant

The new plant at Ideal Avenue S. and 110th Street S. should be functional by 2025.
The larger-than-life-sized “Chief” statue was recently reinstalled along Osceola’s main street.

After debate, Native American statue returns to Wisconsin village's main street

Community members in Osceola were split over whether the statue is about stereotypes or honoring the past.
It’s time “to make Lily Lake the gem that it once was,” said Mike Lyner of Stillwater, president of a group of local residents known as the Frie

Neighbors of Stillwater's Lily Lake celebrate decadeslong cleanup

The lake is now off Minnesota's impaired waters list, but the swimming beach where two children died of amoeba-induced infections remains closed.
The St. Croix River, viewed from St. Croix Falls, Wis.

'We are Water MN' exhibit opens at Stillwater Public Library

The exhibit shows how pollution and other activities in Minnesota impact water quality downstream; it is open through Dec. 3.
Law enforcement outside of the Karl Holmberg residence during a standoff after multiple officers were shot near Princeton, Minn., on Thursday.

'His day to die': Charges filed in Benton County shooting of five officers

Karl Thomas Holmberg was charged Friday with multiple felony counts, including six counts of first-degree attempted murder.
Law enforcement gathered outside of a residence where a man suspected of shooting multiple officers was in a standoff Thursday near Princeton, Minn.

Suspect in custody after 5 officers shot during gunfire exchange near Princeton, Minn.

None of the five officers had life-threatening injuries. The suspect, a 64-year-old man, also was wounded, officials said.
Tara Daun, watershed coordinator for Wisconsin Farmers Union, spoke at a Sept. 28 meeting of local residents and others who are concerned about clean

Along the St. Croix River, big ag plans prompt water-quality worries, new restrictions

Proposals for a large hog farm, a dairy farm expansion and a biogas digester have prompted outcry from people worried about the impact on water quality and public health.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, pictured in August 2019.

Customs officials seize giraffe poop at MSP airport; passenger wanted to turn it into a necklace

An Iowa woman returning from Kenya made an unusual declaration on customs forms, catching officials' attention.
Lumberjack Landing Park along the St. Croix River in Stillwater is pictured on Oct. 2, 2023.

Stillwater opts to keep Lumberjack Landing Park name

The Stillwater Parks and Recreation Commission had recommended that the council discuss renaming the new park after some residents raised concerns that the name didn't properly represent the area's history.
Students at River Grove, a charter school with an emphasis on environment and the arts, near Marine on St. Croix, pictured in 2017.

Manitou Fund buys Wilder Foundation forests by Stillwater

In a deal that protects hundreds of acres of pristine land in northern Washington County, the White Bear Lake-based charitable organization confirmed that it has a purchase agreement to buy the 600-acre Wilder Forest.
A new park along the St. Croix River needed a name, but the one the Stillwater City Council chose — Lumberjack Landing — has drawn complaints from

Petition asks Stillwater to rename new Lumberjack Landing Park, rejecting 'cartoon' take on history

The Stillwater City Council will take up a motion to reconsider the name at its meeting Tuesday.
Ian Larson of Taylors Falls Canoe and Kayak Rental picked up the last two kayaks at Osceola Landing after a day of kayaking the St. Croix River on Thu

Lawsuit: Planned apartment building along St. Croix River is too tall for protected river

Neighbors and the nonprofit St. Croix Scenic Coalition say the village of Osceola was too quick to sign off on a plan to build on the site of a shuttered hospital.

'One Woodbury' event highlights diversity

The free event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30.
Stillwater Community Service Officer Denny Pasket patrolled parking downtown with a police vehicle equipped with license plate detecting cameras on We

Amid pushback, Stillwater reminds drivers it still offers free parking

A conversion of some free parking spots to paid has drawn complaints, especially on social media, but city staff point out a majority of parking in downtown Stillwater is still free.
Joel Jordan cleaned part of the new plaza leading to the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge on Thursday. Portions of Main Street that have been closed du

A plaza with a view: Stillwater reopens street with pedestrian plaza overlooking Lift Bridge

The new Chestnut Plaza will remain permanently closed to vehicles, providing a two-block stretch for pedestrians to walk, sit and check out the Lift Bridge.
Residents watched the May Township board of supervisors consider zoning revisions to block a Catholic youth camp’s plan to buy a 600-acre tract on W

Youth camp plans fall apart for land near Square Lake in Washington County

Local residents were vocal in their opposition to a Catholic youth camp on Wilder Foundation land. The foundation will now look for another buyer.