Great stories begin with great questions.

Sometimes the questions are big and weighty: Why are my property taxes going up so much? And sometimes they're small and quirky: Why does Google Maps show a plane at the bottom of Lake Harriet?

But reporters aren't the only people with good questions. That's why we're asking you, Star Tribune readers, to take part in Curious Minnesota, a community-driven reporting project that invites you to join the newsroom, letting us know what questions are important to you.

With Curious Minnesota, we want to hear your questions about the people, places and culture of Minnesota.

Here's how it works

  • 1 Ask a question.
  • 2 The public votes.
  • 3 The Star Tribune reports.
  • 4 We share the answer.

The concept of Curious Minnesota isn't completely new. We've answered the question about the plane that appears in Lake Harriet on Google Maps already. And during the polar vortex, readers asked and we answered reader questions, including: Why do planes sound louder during extreme cold?

But the Curious Minnesota model turns the traditional process on its head. Usually, reporters and editors come up with story ideas and decide what to write based on their news judgment.

With Curious Minnesota, you get to be involved in the reporting process. Besides, asking questions, readers will choose which questions we answer first by voting on the questions that are submitted. Voting rounds will start when we have several questions on the same topic. And if your question is picked, we'll contact you for more information about why the question sparked your interest.

Here are some questions we're curious about now:

  • When and why were the first skyways built in Minneapolis?
  • Why has Minnesota never produced a U.S. president — and are there other states like us?
  • How did the Kmart end up cutting off Nicollet Avenue?

But that's just a start. We want to hear your questions.

In the form below, tell us what you're wondering about. What sparks your curiosity? Do you have a burning question that you want us to answer?

To get the series started, the newsroom is going to tackle some of our own unanswered questions from the list above. (Hey, we're curious, too!)

Once you've helped pick the most interesting questions, our journalists will get to work.

When we're done reporting, we'll share the answers.

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