Reporter | Metro

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.

COVID-19 cases spike at two federal prisons in Minnesota

The outbreaks raise concerns that virus will spread beyond prison walls.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.