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First-degree murder indictment in Ray totem-pole death

ALSO: Bikini parade quest comes up short; Waseca collector finally gets Holy Grail of beer trays; New Ulm dog makes national news; and more.

Candace Renalls and Mike Creger of the Duluth News Tribune write that Carl Chester Muggli of Ray was already facing a second-degree intentional murder charge in the death of his wife when a grand jury returned an indictment Thursday charging him with first-degree premeditated murder as well. Muggli, 50, is accused in the November 2010 death of his wife, Linda, 61, who died of severe head trauma after a 17-foot, 700-pound pine pole the couple had been carving for a totem pole fell on her. Charges were brought against Muggli after investigators heard from an Alabama woman who allegedly had intimate and romantic Facebook conversations with Muggli. She said she was on the phone with Muggli and heard him arguing with his wife about getting a divorce. She said Muggli called her back 30 minutes later and told her an accident had happened. The incident took place in the couple’s garage, Muggli told police the pole fell while his back was turned to his wife and he didn’t know how she got under it. Muggli was arrested last year in Stockdale, Texas, where he had moved after his wife’s death.

I was going to use this spot to tell you of a Moorhead woman who has been charged with abusing her 2-year-old while allegedly using methamphetamines, but frankly I don’t have the heart. Here’s a better story: Matt Peterson of the Austin Daily Herald writes about a guy who faces gross misdemeanor domestic assault in Mower County for allegedly whipping a burrito at a woman. It’s true. Troy Hansen was also charged for a probation violation on a gross misdemeanor DWI conviction from July 2011 and sentenced to 180 days in jail. Adams Police and a Mower County Sheriff’s deputy went to a home in Adams for a report of a domestic dispute. There they discovered Hansen had allegedly thrown a burrito at a woman, as toppings were still on her head and right shoulder. Hansen apparently asked her for a cigarette and got angry when she refused. Hansen admitted he had about six pints of beer, was given a breath test and registered a .254 blood-alcohol content, the complaint adds. A review of his record shows a previous conviction for third-degree domestic assault in June 2009.

Sadly, the number of southern Minnesota women willing to walk in swimwear before thousands of parade-watchers was far short of the 451 needed to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark, writes Mark Fischenich of the Mankato Free Press. Organizer Cynthia Frederick wanted to best the record of bikini-wearing women in a parade in her bid to raise awareness of Vitamin D in cancer prevention. She chose the Paddlefish Days Parade in Madison Lake last Saturday to make her mark. Only about 39 bikini-wearers (some were men with faux tops) marched. Frederick remains undaunted.  “We’ve been invited to Eagle Lake to march next year in their Tater Days parade,” she said.

It took him 15 years, but the antique beer tray that Galen Ewest coveted has finally come his way, writes Brian Ojampa of the Mankato Free Press.  The 1912 Waseca Brewing Co. beer tray is exceedingly rare and is, obviously, 100 years old this year. It bears the likeness of a young woman holding a fan. Ewest first tried to buy it from the 97-year-old Waseca woman who owned it.  She said she’d look for it but she never found it. Then she died and the tray ended up with a relative in South Dakota. Ewest offered to buy it, but the woman balked. Eventually, Ewest let his money do the talking and his diligence paid off. Ewest, who operates a downtown Waseca antiques store with his wife, Sandy, said the colorful tray might be the only one in existence from a company that changed hands 12 times between 1877 and its closing in 1912.

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It’s all about the love between a pet owner and her dog, and the love of play. That’s what has made Sport, from New Ulm, one of the best agility dogs in the nation, writes Amanda Dyslin of the Free Press. After five years, all of Joni Steinbach’s work paid off when her border collie placed fourth at the American Kennel Club National Dog Agility Championship in Reno, Nev., out of a field of 267 dogs in her class. Steinbach and Sport are preparing for the U.S. Dog Agility Association Nationals in October in Denver and for next year’s AKC championship in April. Steinbach said the trick is to play fetch, fetch, fetch, Frisbee, Frisbee, Frisbee.

When Hormel has a reason to party, it throws a party. Adam Harringa of the Albert Leas Tribune  covered Saturday’s “Spamtastic Grand Opening Expansion Celebration,” where 4,000 people marked Spam’s 75th birthday and took a look at Hormel’s corporate office expansion. The event was highlighted with a performance by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame R&B/soul group The Temptations. Former President and CEO Richard Knowlton said he really enjoys Spam’s new spokescharacter, “Sir Can-A-Lot.” “That’s a product that was behind its time … and now it’s fresh and it’s new. And now there’s a whole new segment of society that’s eating Spam.”