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WALKER—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. Anderson is accused of kidnapping Alayna from her Watkins home early Saturday.
Half of the faces are on the Morrison County's Most Wanted list for the month of August are new. Joining Zachary Michle Bennet, Cody Allyn Demo, Anngena Kay Renee English, Jonathon Avery King and Gerrey Wayne Stevenson who were on the list last month are Christian Carl Dahn, Charles Anthony Dreiling, Robert Leanord Pace, Elizabeth Kay Solberg and Stefan Scott Tucker.
A severe thunderstorm blew through the Brainerd lakes area as people were getting off work Tuesday, with areas in Cass County seeing ping pong-size hail. Backus residents saw hail for about 10 minutes ranging from pea-size hail to golf-ball size hail. Steve Gohde, observing program leader with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said the severe thunderstorm was located near Backus, or about 19 miles southeast of Walker just after 6 p.m. moving east at 10 mph. Ping pong ball-size hail and high wind gusts were present.
Brainerd Public Schools is more diverse and experienced a slight decline in poverty levels. These were two findings presented Monday by Tim Murtha, director of teaching and learning for the district, to the Brainerd School Board. Murtha presented the annual data report mandated by the federal government to help districts meet the No Child Left Behind requirements to fulfill the student achievement gap in the years 2011 to 2017.
Half of the faces on the Cass County Most Wanted list for August are new. Five out of the 10 on last month's Most Wanted have since been arrested. Arrested were Carolyn Jones, David Meader, David Newago, Randee Sundvall and Jared Westbrook. They've been replaced with Natalie Mae Beaulieu, Isaiah Andrew Bimberg, Tara Marie Cournoyer, Matthew Alexander Kline and Desiree Lynn Thompson. Still on the Most Wanted list are Donald Edwin Connors, Renee Marie Norris, Anthony Leo Fuller, Jimmie Derek Harrison Sr., and Thomas Alfred Robinson.
The Crow Wing County's Most Wanted list for August has all new faces. As of Friday, there were an estimated 948 total active warrants in the county. On the Most Wanted list this month are Sage Shoshanda Boyd-Davidson, Christopher John Connett, Samantha Leeann Doesken, Cassandra Marie Fox, Jessica Lee Gamble, Alyssa Jade Irving, Joseph Wade Nickaboine, Caitlin Roy, Jonathan Curtiss Schwegel and James Allen Swartout.
PEQUOT LAKES—What would you do if you ever encountered an active shooter? Hide and hope for the best? Whether an employee at work or a student sitting in a classroom—if a hostile shooter entered your building, knowing what to do can save lives in a scary, intense situation.
BACKUS—Don't let Bigfoot dragging a guitar scare you off while driving on Minnesota Highway 84 east of Backus. Bigfoot, a black cut-out figurine that looks as if it's walking in front of green pine trees, makes a statement as it stands in front of a new musical theater called Big Foot Musical Theatre. The statement is to let motorists and anyone who will listen know about the new family-friendly musical theater.
NISSWA—Devastation was seen Thursday throughout Nashway Road that wraps around the north side of Round Lake, just south of Nisswa. Towering pines that once stood in the heavily wooded area were down everywhere and water crafts and boat lifts on the lake had either turned on their side or flew a few houses down. The hard part for homeowners on Nashway faced with the storm aftermath was the fact this is the second time a severe storm has destroyed their homes and landscapes. A supercell storm hit the same area, about a year ago on July 12, 2015.
Dan Koppy and his girlfriend, Heidi Mouch, were out cruising Cross Lake Saturday afternoon on their 1996 Sea Ray boat to meet some friends when they heard a loud, sudden noise. Koppy said Monday he didn't know what the noise was. He opened the cover to the engine and saw flames. He attempted to put it out with a fire extinguisher, but realized the fire was too big to do it on his own. "I knew we couldn't stay there," Koppy said. "The smoke was so heavy." Koppy and Mouch began waving to other boaters around them for help, as they were beginning to panic.