Deena Winter

Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.

Minneapolis City Council members accuse mayor of skirting law with Agape contract

By: - June 17, 2021

Several Minneapolis City Council members accused Mayor Jacob Frey of misusing his pandemic emergency powers to approve a $359,000 contract with Agape Movement to try to reopen the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, which has been a semi-autonomous zone controlled by activists since George Floyd was murdered there last May. The council also […]

State Human Services waived burdensome regs during pandemic, wants to continue lighter touch

By: - June 14, 2021

When the pandemic hit last year, the state had to change the way it did a lot of business, and fast. The Department of Human Services made some 115 temporary changes to its rules and regulations for health care, economic assistance and program licensing, from waiving training to incorporating telemedicine into the safety net. The […]

Cities, facing pressure to minimize police presence, turn to unproven community groups

By: - June 9, 2021

Facing increasing political pressure on all sides in the face of rising violent crime and activists demanding the dismantling of their police departments, Minneapolis and some other cities are increasingly turning to private community groups to keep the peace — and provide political cover — in perilous times.  The Agape Movement, a group of ex-gang […]

Anti-vaccine activist charged with stealing vaccines

By: - June 3, 2021

A St. Paul man has been charged with misdemeanor theft and disorderly conduct after livestreaming himself pretending he wanted to get vaccinated and then grabbing vials of COVID-19 vaccine and spiriting them off to be “tested” because he believed they contained poison. Thomas E. Humphrey, 32, who was the subject of a May 8 Reformer […]

What’s up with ‘Umbrella Man’?

By: - June 2, 2021

The internet dubbed him “Umbrella Man.” About a year ago, a man dressed all in black and carrying an umbrella was pictured on video smashing windows at a south Minneapolis AutoZone store amid demonstrations against police for the murder of George Floyd.  A righteous online citizenry accused him of inciting looting and violence and sought […]

Lawmakers decide on billions in spending, shrouded in secrecy

By: and - June 1, 2021

In 2019, after Gov. Tim Walz had ensconced himself with House DFL and Senate GOP legislative leaders behind closed doors to hash out a budget, he told journalists he was frustrated with the lack of transparency into the backroom deals that have come to define the close of Minnesota legislative sessions. Two years later, he […]

Neighbors, feeling bullied, want activists to leave George Floyd Square

By: - May 26, 2021

A year after the murder of George Floyd, some residents who live near the four-block area now graced by his name want the people running the autonomous zone to remove the barricades and leave. They say people in the neighborhood have been shot at, robbed, carjacked, threatened with deadly weapons and sexually harassed. “This is […]

Help wanted: Restaurants struggle to hire workers

By: - May 21, 2021

Restaurants and hotels struggle to find workers as economy re-opens.

Brooklyn Center turned to community groups, paying them to keep peace during protests

By: - May 19, 2021

On his first day on the job as acting city manager for Brooklyn Center, Reggie Edwards knew he needed help. He took over two days into protests that threatened to devolve into riots over the April 11 police shooting death of Daunte Wright.  “We knew we could not do this without community,” he said. During […]


Five out of seven members of my family aren’t getting vaccinated — here’s why

By: - May 18, 2021

My mom turned to chiropractors for everything from my sister’s colic to my gymnastics-trick-gone-wrong hip injury. She’s long been skeptical of mainstream medicine, and her distrust intensified over the years to the point where she now considers essential oils essential and any malady treatable with the right vitamin or mineral: my rheumatoid arthritis, my son’s […]

St. Paul ‘sovereign citizen’ records himself stealing vaccines from workers

By: - May 8, 2021

A St. Paul man has posted multiple Facebook videos of himself stealing coronavirus vaccines by pretending he wants to get vaccinated and walking out with the vials.

Brooklyn Center mayor proposes new public safety agency, ban on arrests during traffic stops

By: - May 8, 2021

The mayor of Brooklyn Center is proposing a resolution that includes an emergency ban on police officers arresting or searching people for non-moving traffic infractions and nonfelony offenses and warrants. Brooklyn Center police officers would only be able to issue citations — but not arrest people — during traffic stops like the one on April […]