Rob Schmitz

Minnesota Public Radio

Rob Schmitz is a reporter and producer for Minnesota Public Radio's Mainstreet team. Previously he was a freelance writer and video journalist, writing and producing stories from China, where he lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer and nearly another year writing stories for a website and filming a documentary for New York Times Television. His work has appeared on The Learning Channel and in publications including The New York Times, The Star-Ledger and The Christian Science Monitor. Schmitz was awarded the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism in 2002, which allowed him to report a series of stories on Tibetans in China. He has a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Minnesota.

Rob Schmitz Feature Archive

The conflict in Liberia has faded from the headlines, but the West African nation still faces many problems. Some people in Minnesota are trying to help. Nyeba Manston-Dunbar recently visited her hometown of Monrovia on an assessment mission for the Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee. She is a registered nurse, studying adolescent nursing at the University of Minnesota. She was on the mission to talk to young people who were traumatized by the war. (01/05/2004)
A plan to add a steamline to a power plant in Rochester to heat a new Mayo Clinic building has drawn criticism from some who say Mayo should pay more attention to the community's environment. (12/07/2003)
Some Rochester residents are disappointed by the Rochester Police Department's response to the results of a racial profiling study. Rochester's Police Chief says the study was based on inaccurate data. (11/18/2003)
A few weeks after an Asian carp was caught on Lake Pepin, the Minnesota DNR is scrambling to come up with a way to repel the invasive species. (11/12/2003)
A year after former Gov. Jesse Ventura's trade mission to Cuba, exports to the communist country have skyrocketed. However, heightened political tensions over Fidel Castro's decision to imprison more than 70 political dissidents may hurt business. (10/19/2003)
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to remove a good portion of an island in the Mississippi River south of Wabasha has attracted criticism from scientists. They say the island is a crucial nesting site for seven threatened species of turtles. (10/03/2003)
In recent years, federal and state governments have passed laws to encourage more wind development. Despite the help, wind experts say developing the resource remains a tricky prospect. That's largely because the country's transmission grid is built for energy from more manageable and predictable resources like coal, hydropower, and natural gas. (09/29/2003)
Minnesota farmers are paying close attention to a trade dispute spurred by European Union restrictions on genetically modified, or GM crops. The EU placed restrictions on GM crops in 1998, citing a need to protect consumers. They've banned certain varieties of GM corn and just this year, required labelling of GM food. U.S. trade officials say the restrictions are illegal protectionism. The U.S. wants the World Trade Organization to intervene. (09/12/2003)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and state Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson visited the Southeastern Minnesota town of Mazeppa on Tuesday to evaluate crop damage from this summer's drought. (09/09/2003)
An order of nuns in La Crosse marks its 125th year of continuous prayer this month. The sisters receive prayer requests by phone, mail, and via their Web site. Recently, business has picked up. (08/29/2003)
Most areas of the state have not received a heavy rain since the July 4th weekend. The hot and dry weather since then has led to a sharp decline in the state's crop conditions. Farmers are losing money each day it doesn't rain. (08/20/2003)
Liberians in Minnesota accuse members of their own community of fundraising for the LURD rebel group. The accused deny the charges, saying they stem from political differences among the Liberian community in Minnesota. (08/07/2003)
As peacekeeping troops wait to enter Liberia, there's another, less visible, group waiting in the wings in Minnesota. More than 20,000 Liberians live in exile in the Twin Cities. Many of these are young Liberians who are in school receiving training and developing skills to rebuild their homeland. (08/01/2003)
This weekend marked Liberia's Independence Day. Liberians in Minnesota celebrated by hosting a soccer match at Blaine's National Sports Center. However, some Liberians have criticized the timing of the event. (07/28/2003)
Golfers fear it, and experts say it can add five strokes to a player's game. We're talking about the yips. Rochester's Mayo Clinic is trying to find the cause, and held a special putting tournament Monday as part of the research. (07/22/2003)