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Murder, criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping charges in Alayna Ertl case

Plus: Vikings plan bar and music venue; conversation with new Minneapolis superintendent Ed Graff; Minnesota wolf numbers up; and more.

Zachary Todd Anderson
Crow Wing County Jail
Zachary Todd Anderson

Still so many unanswered questions. The Brainerd Dispatch’s Jennifer Stockinger reports: “The 25-year-old Coon Rapids man arrested in connection with the abduction and death of 5-year-old Alayna Jeanne Ertl was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of kidnapping and theft. … The suspect, Zachary Todd Anderson, made his first court appearance on the criminal charges, all felonies, late Tuesday morning in Cass County District Court in Walker before Judge David Harrington. Harrington set unconditional bond at $2 million.”

Surely all the bars and restaurants in the area will appreciate the competition. The Star Tribune’s Rochelle Olson has the story of the Vikings’ latest attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the People’s Stadium: “The Minnesota Vikings are encouraging fans to come early to home games and stay late. The team is setting up an 800-person bar and music garden on the plaza outside the stadium when the Vikings are in town. … The new venues are adjacent to a family area with kid-friendly games on the Commons, the park outside the new $1.1 billion stadium.”

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With the first day of school coming up, the Southwest Journal’s Dylan Thomas checked in with incoming Minneapolis superintendent Ed Graff: “‘It’s a life-changing moment, a life-changing opportunity,’ Graff said during that hour-long question-and-answer session in mid-June, just 10 days into the district’s summer break. It was an unusual experience for the media-shy former Anchorage School District superintendent, who said he shared more with the press that day than in 25 years as an educator in Alaska. … Graff sketched out a 60-day plan to better acquaint himself with the city, the district and the political environment in which it operates, beginning with the Board of Education. Then, before he took the center seat on the dais at his first school board meeting July 12, Graff flew to Alaska, stuffed ‘30 years of clothes into three duffel bags,’ and flew back to his new home in Minneapolis.”

Also in education: “Challenge to Minnesota teachers union protections will continue despite California ruling” [Pioneer Press]

Cue calls to reinstate the wolf hunt in 5… 4… The AP reports (via MPR): “The latest survey of Minnesota’s wolf population estimates a slight increase. … The Department of Natural Resource says the annual survey ticked upward to 2,278 wolves. That’s about 50 more than last year’s estimate. … The DNR says the newest number isn’t a significant change. Dan Stark, the agency’s large carnivore specialist, says it shows the wolf population is healthy and stable.”

In other news…

Well, we know a thing or two about ice around here: “High-end, hand-cut ice is a must for Minnesota’s cocktail culture” [Star Tribune]

Best Buy has best quarter: “Best Buy Gains as Earnings Boost Confidence in Turnaround” [Bloomberg]

It’s that time of year: “Pants or no pants? 50 years of Minnesota State Fair mascots” [MPR]

PSA: “How I Won the Minnesota Twins’ Mascot Race” [Slate]

Good luck! “Minnesota-shot, Macalester-rooted movie aims for Sundance” [Pioneer Press]