News Assistant

Joel Rippel writes about sports for the Star Tribune.


St. Thomas grad sees her field of dentistry as way to bring health to all

The biology major's goals have not wavered as she starts her first year at the Marquette University School of Dentistry, where she will focus on antibiotic resistance.


Ex-Gophers standout Terrin Vavra dealt from Colorado to Baltimore

The Rockies sent him to the Orioles as part of a package for reliever Mychal Givens.


COVID-inspired pen pals, 7 and 73, bond over letters and love of art

The program was started in March to help residents at a senior apartment building deal with isolation due to COVID-19.


George Smilanich, Iron Range veteran, teacher and coach, dies at 98

After four years in his first teaching and coaching job in Illinois, George Smilanich was offered a teaching job in his hometown of Buhl, Minn.…


Longtime Roseville wrestling coach dies of COVID-19 complications at 97

Kenneth Bergstedt started the wrestling program at Roseville's Alexander Ramsey High School in 1953 — the school's first year — and taught at the school for 32 years.


Melvin Hougen, WWII veteran who worked in lumber industry, dies at 101

Melvin Hougen was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and distinguished service in the Army during World War II.But he didn't talk about it."He remained…


Wayzata special education teacher Frances Callaghan dies at 91

"She never stopped the push for recognition for students with needs," a former St. Cloud State professor said.


Richard Brubacher, administrator who served GOP, DFL governors, dies at 90

Richard Brubacher, who grew up in a small farming community in southern Minnesota, had a lengthy career in municipal and county government in the Twin…


Entrepreneur and philanthropist John O'Shaughnessy Jr. dies at 80

John F. O'Shaughnessy Jr. inherited a passion for philanthropy.His grandfather, a prosperous St. Paul businessman in the first half of the 20th century, established a…


Larry Johnson, Minnesota farmer known as the 'Ethanol Answer Man,' dies at 76

Johnson spent nine years on the board of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and served as the group's president in 1985.