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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
Stillwater plans to move ahead with long-hoped-for riverfront parks on either end of its downtown.

State gives Stillwater $6 million for riverfront parks

The state's boost to riverfront park development comes after years of planning and negotiations.
Armed Wis. man shot by police was Minnesota corrections officer

Armed Wis. man shot by police was Minnesota corrections officer

Tyler Abel, 42, threatened officers, then emerged from his house with gun in hand.
Jessie Price walksedpast an abandoned lot at Cimarron Park & Golf Course in Lake Elmo. According to Price, a resident of two years, the house has been

Residents at Lake Elmo mobile home park say owner has forgotten them

They say rents are rising while services decline.
Family Handyman projects editor Mike Berner stands on the porch of a new sustainable structure he helped build at the Dodge Nature Center in West Sain

New sustainable structure rises at Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul

West St. Paul New sustainable structure rises at Dodge Nature CenterA new structure at the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, built by a…
Minneapolis police respond to fights at DFL convention

Minneapolis police respond to fights at DFL convention

Video shows supporters of Minneapolis City Council candidate Nasri Warsame shout and rush the stage, ending the convention without a candidate endorsement.
Over 1,000  law enforcement officers from around the U.S. gathered Friday for funeral services for St. Croix County Sheriff’s Deputy Kaitie Leising

Slain Wisconsin deputy Kaitie Leising memorialized: 'We are never going to let her go'

The funeral drew some 3,000 people, including 1,500 law enforcement officers from across the region, who mourned her death last Saturday in a roadside shooting.
Volunteers filled sandbags in downtown Stillwater Monday, March 27, 2023 in Stillwater, Minn. After a winter of record-breaking snowfalls that could l

Stillwater starts to tear down berm as flooding subsides

Cleanup could be complete by the end of next week.
Law enforcement members comforted each other after St. Croix County deputy Kaitie Leising’s body was carried into a Baldwin, Wis., funeral home Sund

Grieving Wis. sheriff recalls slain deputy: 'If you have a bad day, talk to Kaitie'

Funeral services for Kaitlin "Kaitie" R. Leising are scheduled for Friday.
Man shot dead in car in beleaguered north Minneapolis neighborhood

Man shot dead in car in beleaguered north Minneapolis neighborhood

A neighbor said it was at least the third murder in as many years within earshot of her house.
Glen Lake Skate Park in Minnetonka, shown in November 2022.

Metro briefs: Minnetonka skatepark plan on hold

Plus: New interim city manager in Columbia Heights; charter school proposed in Stillwater; Shakopee OKs pool plans.
Erasmo the emu

Erasmo the emu, looking for love, briefly escapes Grant, Minn., home

The flightless bird is believed to have mistaken a frisbee golf net for a potential mate.
Wisconsin man who burned his bar, collected insurance gets 18 years in prison

Wisconsin man who burned his bar, collected insurance gets 18 years in prison

Kevin Grant was convicted of arson and other felonies for the 2018 fire.
Stillwater woman may have been delivering cookies to garbage truck driver before fatal crash

Stillwater woman may have been delivering cookies to garbage truck driver before fatal crash

"It appears to be a tragic accident," the police chief said.
The waters of the St. Croix River at Stillwater surrounded P.D. Pappy’s Music Bar and Grill and Stillwater Marina on Wednesday. The river was 2 feet

Flooded St. Croix forces marinas to delay start of boating season

Some marinas in Stillwater, Afton and Hudson, Wis., have had to build temporary berms to protect their offices, while others have had no choice but to let the river run through their property.
Joseph Papke helped Eva Gemlo get tied into her costume before a dress rehearsal for Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater

Troubled Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater to get new building owner

The Manitou Fund says it will buy the Zephyr Theatre's building, which closed amid mounting debt and fraud allegations.
Aggregate Industries was seeking a variance to mine gravel and limestone closer to homes in Grey Cloud Island Township.

Aggregate Industries retracts annexation request with Cottage Grove

The company did not go into detail about why it was withdrawing the request in a letter to the city administrator Tuesday.
Traffic backs up on northbound Hwy. 252 near 70th Avenue N. in Brooklyn Center.

Metro briefs: MnDOT taking comments on plans for Hwy. 252

Residents and business owners in two north metro suburbs are getting a clearer picture of what the future Hwy. 252 might look like.The Minnesota Department…
Longtime friends Herb Holman, left, and Marko Santori put in some time on the volunteer sandbag line Monday in Stillwater.

Stillwater braces for what could be historic spring flooding along St. Croix River

Volunteers are expected to fill thousands of sandbags to protect the town as the St. Croix River crests.
Aggregate Industries’ gravel mining operation seen in 2022 on Grey Cloud Island. The company has mined on the island since the 1950s and has sought

Denied expansion, gravel mining company seeks annexation by Cottage Grove

Aggregate Industries has sought to expand in Grey Cloud Island Township, its current home.
Hennepin County surveyor Chris Mavis with an old plat of Hennepin County Township 29, range 24 at the Hennepin County Government Center Thursday, Marc

Hennepin County pushing more documents online

Some 20 staff have cleaned old records, taped the tears and frayed edges and scanned millions of pages.
A walkway was under water along the St. Croix River during spring flooding March 31, 2020, in downtown Stillwater.

Chances of major flooding still high in Stillwater, Red Wing, forecast says

Slow melting in the next 7-10 days could ease the flood threat, the National Weather Service outlook said.
A walkway was under water along the St. Croix River during spring flooding in 2020 in Stillwater.

Stillwater, anticipating floods, closes some riverfront areas

An earlier National Weather Service forecast said there was a 73% chance of major flooding.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, serving time for the 2020 murder of George Floyd, appears via Zoom from a federal prison in Tucson, A

Derek Chauvin, officer who killed George Floyd, pleads guilty in tax case

Derek Chauvin appeared on Zoom from Arizona prison for a Washington County court hearing Friday.
The Metro Inn Motel in south Minneapolis, bought by Hennepin County, will be converted into low-income apartments next year. The county is getting a s

Two motels are being turned into affordable housing, and their signs are up for auction

The signs from Minneapolis' Metro Inn and Aqua City Motel will be on the auction block through Tuesday. It's definitely an as-is kind of deal.
Woodbury built a temporary water treatment plant in 2020.

New PFAS limits would require more treatment in Woodbury

Woodbury has closed wells in the past, and rapidly built a temporary treatment plant in 2020, after it found the highly toxic fluorinated chemicals in water pulled from aquifers.
This fieldstone barn in Stevens County has been torn down.

Metro briefs: Photographer to speak on Minnesota's vanishing landmarks

A historian and photographer who was spent the past 25 years documenting the vanishing barns, schoolhouses, courthouses and churches across the state will be the…
Second Stillwater police officer fired weapon in fatal standoff, BCA says

Second Stillwater police officer fired weapon in fatal standoff, BCA says

A second Stillwater police officer fired a gun during the March 4 parking lot standoff that led to the death of a 21-year-old Stillwater man,…
Stillwater mobilized volunteers in 2019 to erect a levy and to fill sandbags to combat expected flooding on the St. Croix River. The city is planning

Spring flood outlook triggers alarm in Stillwater

Big snow piles this late in March — with more on the way — mean it's becoming more likely the first warmup of spring will result in flooding.
Authorities identify man killed exchanging gunfire with Stillwater police

Authorities identify man killed exchanging gunfire with Stillwater police

Okwan Rahmier Sims was shot after firing a handgun and striking at least two squad cars, investigators said
A front-loader moves trash around a holding area until a transport trailer is available to fill at the Transfer Center on Friday, March 3, in Brooklyn

Hennepin County's Zero Waste draft takes aim at trash

The plan lays out 58 steps to get as much as 80% of the waste stream diverted into reuse, recycling or composting. The county's diversion rate stands at about 39% today.
“It was really a grassroots groundswell that said, ‘We’d like another choice,’” said now-Birchwood Village Mayor Margaret Ford.

Metro briefs: Write-in Birchwood mayor fined over late campaign finance filing

Birchwood VillageWrite-in mayor fined over late filingBirchwood Village Mayor Margaret Ford was ordered to pay a $250 fine by the state of Minnesota for failing…
Opponents fight apartment development on bluff overlooking St. Croix River

Opponents fight apartment development on bluff overlooking St. Croix River

Osceola, Wis., residents spoke out against the 95-unit apartment building that would rise along the river.
An entrance to the former Mississippi Dunes Golf Course.

Cottage Grove buys part of former Mississippi Dunes Golf Course for park

The new riverfront park is the first of several land deals expected in the area.
Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King coal plant in Oak Park Heights.

Oak Park Heights, facing closure of power plant, still looking for help

City seeks state aid to help cover loss of tax revenue when Xcel Energy shutters site
Rex and Brooklyn

Metro briefs: Brooklyn Center gets emotional support service puppies

Plus: Scott County approved funding for more staff at transitional housing; grant helped Washington County Sheriff's Office buy a boat.
Stillwater school board settles suit with former finance director

Stillwater school board settles suit with former finance director

District agrees to pay Kristen Hoheisel $475,000 in lost wages, damages, and attorneys fees.
The winter tradition of thousands of ice luminarias lighting up a Minneapolis night will continue at this year’s Luminary Loppet, but thin ice is fo

Thin ice moves Minneapolis' Luminary Loppet events to shore

Approximately 16,000 are expected to attend the annual Lake of the Isles outdoor festival.
A thin ice warning on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, back in 2017.

Hennepin County sheriff issues thin ice warning for area lakes

Public asked to remove fish houses as soon as possible.
Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt.

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office makes major fentanyl bust in south Minneapolis

Five pounds of powder fentanyl, 1,295 fentanyl pills, a pound of cocaine and a pound of meth were seized.
Woodbury built a temporary water treatment plant in 2020.

Woodbury receives $12.5 million for new water plant design

Project promises to be largest in suburb's history. Could be up and running by 2027.
Main Street in downtown Stillwater would get new lights under a proposal.

Stillwater considers new downtown lighting

$3.8 million project would replace three different types of lights with new LED ones resembling posts from a century ago.
A couple waited for a short film showing at the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater in August 2018.

Former Zephyr Theatre employee files fraud lawsuit against director, board

Leaders and former employees of the Stillwater theater that collapsed last fall are now embroiled in legal fallout.
Pilot suffers minor injuries in Washington County plane crash

Pilot suffers minor injuries in Washington County plane crash

The pilot, who was the plane's lone occupant, walked away after crash landing Saturday in a field in Baytown Township.
William “Bill” Dooley Jr.

William 'Bill' Dooley Jr., bike safety advocate, dies at 73

He will be honored next week when bike safety legislation bearing his name gets a hearing at the State Capitol.
Ryan Sheak

BCA provides update on shooting of White Bear Lake police officer

Officer Ryan Sheak continues to recover from injuries after he was struck twice when a suspect opened fire.
The Red Bird Music Store, right, was destroyed and the Natural Heritage Art Centre, left, damaged in a Jan. 18, 2023, fire in the business block on th

Wisconsin town rallies to help art center, music shop damaged in fire

Red Bird Music Store and Natural Heritage Art Centre sustained heavy losses in Jan. 18 blaze.
A sign at the intersection of Radio Drive and Dale Road marks the spot where home builder D.R. Horton plans to build a 112-home, 70-attached townhome

Red-hot housing market not all good for Woodbury, residents say

Suburb will likely hit its expected 2040 population of 87,800 residents more than a decade early.
Ethan Davenport (Ren McCormack) and Angela Steele (Ariel Moore) with the cast of “Footloose” at Bloomington’s Artistry.

Metro briefs: Bloomington leaders approve $250K grant for troubled arts organization Artistry

Plus: New dog park, bridge eyed for Bassett Creek Park in Crystal; Washington County partners with Stillwater police on mental health.
Nonprofit calls for protections of public comment at government meetings

Nonprofit calls for protections of public comment at government meetings

Recent decisions in Hennepin County, Roseville part of a worrying trend, group says.
Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look

Metro briefs: Look elected Anoka County Board chair

Plus: Former Rosemount mayor joins Dakota County Board; Shoreview City joins Just Deeds Coalition; see stars at Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
Construction along Interstate 94 in Minneapolis.

Cities, counties make plea for slice of big state surplus

Local government leaders hope Minnesota's $17.6 billion surplus will boost chances for help on some projects.
A photo of George Musser at a vigil Monday night in Stillwater.

Questions linger over George Musser's death after leaving Stillwater bar

The 20-year-old was last seen at a Stillwater bar. Police Chief Brian Mueller said the death is an open and active investigation, but since toxicology reports may not be available for weeks, he doesn't anticipate releasing information any time soon.
A photo of George Musser at a vigil Monday night in Stillwater.

Medical examiner IDs body as Stillwater man George Musser, 20

Preliminary evidence suggests he died from exposure after leaving Stillwater bar, Washington County Sheriff's Office says.
Nancy Musser, with her husband. Kent. supporting her at left, told the crowd gathered at a vigil for their son, George, “The only peace I have is in

500 turn out to mourn Stillwater man who went missing on Christmas Eve

Imagining her son in the last hours of his life breaks Nancy Musser's heart "every five minutes," she told a crowd of mourners Monday night.…
Stillwater senior Lily Ward races at the Minnesota Cycling Association’s All Team Finale at Redhead Mountain Bike Park in Chisholm, Minn.

For Stillwater mountain bike team, success goes round and round

The high school team has won five straight state titles.
A stretch of Main Street in Stillwater on Monday afternoon.

Stillwater panel proposes cutting back on free public parking downtown

The Downtown Parking Commission wants to use a parking app to start charging for about 60% of public spaces.
A pickleball league at the Minneapolis Cider Co.

Metro briefs: Blaine's National Sports Center hosts free pickleball

Plus: St. Paul winter warming spaces open; Woodbury lodging tax to raise funds for city's promotion; Wayzata to get high-speed internet.
A rendering of the proposed Mall of America water park.

Bloomington hints at $40M sports complex near MOA

The city already this year earmarked some $55 million of TIF funds for a proposed waterpark, with the hope that construction could begin this year. Delays have pushed back the timeline into 2023.
Maple Grove police are taking steps to try to reduce shoplifting this holiday season.

Metro briefs: Maple Grove police aim to curb holiday shoplifting

Plus: Stillwater area Catholic youth camp discussion continues; Maplewood library renovation begins.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Brian O’Hara spoke Thursday at City Hall about the work by the Minneapolis City Council’s budget com

New Mpls. police chief raises concerns after council cuts $1M from budget

Proposed police budget remains larger than pre-George Floyd levels.
A deer stops after walking in front of the City Hall building in Birchwood Village, Minn.

Technicality costs Birchwood Village council members their raise

Each is being asked to pay back the $300 they were overpaid by the end of the month; mayor also faces payment.
Brooklyn Center police chained up a gate outside the Brooklyn Center Police Station in May.

Metro cities buying fencing to separate protesters, police

Some 50 agencies have expressed interest. Consortium will ask state Legislature for money.
Students spent a typical school day in a unique setting at River Grove, a charter school with an emphasis on environment and the arts, near Marine on

May Township vote could scuttle youth camp plans in northern Washington County

Catholic program in northern Washington County would serve up to 500 kids per day during peak summer periods.
Margaret Ford led a write-in campaign to be mayor of Birchwood Village during the 2022 election.

Write-in candidate wins Birchwood Village mayor's race

Margaret Ford's write-in campaign worked. She got nearly 100 more votes than the top registered candidate.
A pair of fire-breathing dragons carved from ice were positioned outside the entrance to the Ice Palace Maze at the Zephyr Theatre in Stillwater in Ja

Stillwater theater's implosion leaves community wondering what went wrong

The Zephyr Theatre met a need for performing arts in the St Croix Valley.
While temperatures dipped in January, Matt Hanson enjoyed a ride down the water slide at Maple Grove Community Center.

Metro briefs: Maple Grove seeks sales tax hike for community center upgrades

Maple Grove voters are being asked to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to help pay for a planned renovation and expansion of the city's…
Ice castles at Long Lake Park in January 2022.

Metro briefs: Ice castles will return to Long Lake Regional Park

Ice Castles will return to Ramsey County's Long Lake Regional Park in January.The Utah-based company responsible for the attraction leases park space in New…
Chaska’s mayor want to raise the city’s levy by 20%, in part to pay for a new police station. Police Chief Ryan Seibert was shown Thursday in the

Inflation, building projects weigh on local governments ahead of 2023 property tax levies

It's all still preliminary – final levy amounts are still weeks away.
Angus D. MacDonald, 92; Charles L. Ciesman, 90; George W. Seim Jr., 92; and Vernon E. Kumerow, 93, stood for the Pledge of Allegiance at s meeting of

All in their 90s, remaining Stillwater soldiers who served in Korea meet again

There were 153 members when the H & H Last Man's Club first met nearly 70 years ago. Eight men remain.
A couple waited for a short film showing at the Zephyr Theatre, formerly the Zephyr Tain Depot, in Stillwater in August 2018.

Stillwater's Zephyr Theatre lays off staff, shutters productions

The group's haunted trolley tours will continue this season.
Students walked down a wooded trail between classes at River Grove: Marine Area Community School soon after the charter school opened in 2017.

Wilder Foundation land sale leaves uncertain future for Stillwater-area elementary school

Deal involves 600 acres in May Township to Minnesota Catholic Youth Partnership. The church group has been seeking location for camp and retreat center.
Shawn Smalley gladly donned pirate garb for public appearances or while promoting his Stillwater restaurant, Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate

'Larger than life' Stillwater chef and pirate Shawn Smalley dies at 45

Beloved Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar chef remembered as loyal and generous.
The Rockford Road Library in Crystal.

Metro briefs: Rockford Road Library redo takes shape

Hennepin County has finished the first phase of parking lot improvements at the Rockford Road Library and is now preparing for extensive renovations to be…
The Stillwater Lift Bridge

New Stillwater ban on jumping from Lift Bridge goes only halfway

City ordinance prohibiting leaps into the St. Croix River does not apply on Wisconsin side of span
Northstar Commuter Rail passengers walked to the 4:27 p.m. train at the Target Field Station in Minneapolis. A looming U.S. rail strike could pose hav

Train trips are grinding to a halt as nationwide rail strike looms

Amtrak, Metro Transit notify passengers: The labor negotiations don't involve Amtrak or Metro Transit directly, but since the services use the same freight rails that could be shut down by the strike, the train operators have begun taking steps this week to curtail service.