The Wahpeton Police Department is confirming information about a handgun found in the Red River.
The gun, a .357 magnum revolver, was found in the river Saturday, Aug. 11. It was able to be seen because water levels were low, Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson said.
Video taken at the scene and posted online shows the gun was rusted. It was in real rough shape and had likely been in the river for an undetermined amount of time, Thorsteinson said. It is unknown how and why the gun ended up in the river.
“It looked like a big ball, like more of a gun-shaped thing,” Thorsteinson said.
The gun was placed more than once in an ultrasonic cleaner for 20 minutes at a time, Thorsteinson said. Law enforcement was able to identify its serial number, which was checked with databases from organizations including the National Crime Information Center and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
As of Tuesday, July 14, the gun is considered a piece of found property that is being held at the Wahpeton Police Department.
“There might be other agencies that are interested in this,” Thorsteinson said.
Thorsteinson confirmed that once the gun was discovered, it was turned into the Wahpeton police. His department has notified both the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Current information does not indicate the gun was used in any criminal activity. Following its discovery, there was speculation that the gun was associated with the late Andrew Sadek.
Prior to his May 2014 disappearance in Wahpeton, Sadek was a first-year student at North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton campus.
In July 2014, Sadek was found dead in the Red River. Evidence has not indicated whether he died as a result of suicide, homicide or accident.
Tammy Sadek, Andrew Sadek’s mother, previously said a .22-caliber bullet was found lodged in his head. The discovered gun was of a larger caliber than one missing from the Sadek home and believed to have been used in Andrew Sadek’s death, Forum News Service reported.
The discovered gun was identified at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, FNS continued. It was located and obtained by a woman fishing in Chahinkapa Park, Wahpeton.
In 1996, Thorsteinson said, a revolver was used in another shooting death. The gun was a stainless steel model and ended up in a duck pond, two facts which indicated it wasn’t the recently discovered item.
The discovered gun, Thorsteinson reiterated, was dirty and rust-covered. He is skeptical that it can ever be opened. It was cleaned enough to obtain the serial number.
“Something that’s been in the water that long, I can’t imagine we’d be able to get prints or DNA. We also won’t run DNA testing on it because we’d have to associate it with a crime. At this point, it’s found property,” Thorsteinson said.
Handguns are one of several items which have been recovered from the Red River over the years. They include bikes, stolen property, safes and a sword.
“The United States is littered with these kinds of things,” Thorsteinson said.
Day two of the Wilkin County Fair will continue most of the usual fair activities from the day before with a variety of special events going on as well.
Friday, Aug. 16 is the first day involving the Twin Town Gardeners’ Market, which is partnering with the fair to offer their food from 4-8 p.m.
“We’ve never tied in before with the farmer’s market and they’re going to be there,” Wilkin County Fair Board member Darral Nordick said. “If somebody wants to check out the produce or any baked goods they should be available Friday and Saturday.”
The first event of the day is 4-H livestock judging at 9 a.m. and the annual spelling bee begins at 11 a.m. on the Earthen Stage. The midway games and rides open at 1 p.m. Friday.
One of the traditional fair attractions being offered is a balloon artist with Kim Gordon showcasing her talent from 1-3:30 p.m.
“We haven’t had her before,” Nordick said. “She’s just going to set up in one place with balloons so kids can go over to her and they can tell her what they want.”
Gordon won’t be the only one entertaining children as there will also be free face painting done by PiKadilly’s Pam Kinneberg at the Commercial Building. Children can also participate in the pedal pull at the Earthen Stage at 4 p.m.
For the adult crowd, antique classic cars and motorcycles will be on display from 4-8 p.m. The always popular antique tractor, car and motorcycle parade will take place at 6 p.m.
Along with standard bingo, there will also be Free Kids Book Bingo from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Animal lovers can tune in for a demonstration by Chahinkapa Zoo at 3 p.m.
There will be bicycle and cash raffle drawings available for purchase throughout the day and will be drawn at 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. respectively.
Music will be provided by Out of the Blue on the Earthen Stage at 6:30 p.m. Capping off the day at 8 p.m. is the 28th Annual Princess Pageant with Out of the Blue also playing music during the pageant.
Tal the orangutan, Chahinkapa Zoo’s resident music lover, once again co-headlined a summer concert.
He shared the bill the with the New York Kammermusiker, a world-traveling double-reed chamber music ensemble. For 13 consecutive summers — the last four featuring a Chahinkapa Zoo performance — the Kammermusiker has entertained Red River Valley residents.
“We knew that whether he played or not, we would be sure to hear some very beautiful music played by professionals and see some unique animal behavior,” Zoo Director Kathy Diekman said.
Tal and Lead Zookeeper Addy Paul teamed up to provide the Kammermusiker with a recorder section. The group, formed by North Dakota native Ilonna Pederson, features instruments including the bassoon and oboe.
Over the years, Tal has ranged from an active participant to a contented listener.
“Today, I think he’s played at least eight times,” Diekman said. “It’s a testament to the training and the enrichment it brings to all of us, not just Tal.”
Proud of Tal’s performance and enthusiasm, Diekman said she did have some tears when he and Paul began playing.
The bond between Chahinkapa Zoo and the New York Kammermusiker began with a gift. Learning of Tal’s fondness for classical music, the group sent its CDs. It wasn’t long before the annual concerts began.
Pieces played during this year’s event included “Send in the Clowns,” Handel’s “Water Music,” “There is a Tavern in the Town” and a composition honoring Theodore Roosevelt.
The Kammermusiker had an additional Wahpeton performance scheduled for Tuesday, a 7 p.m. concert at St. Catherine’s Living Center.
“We always save our last day, our best day, for Wahpeton,” Pederson said previously.
The tour has also included concerts in Fargo, Ellendale, Jamestown and Maddock, North Dakota, plus Moorhead, Minnesota. Kammermusiker musicians are known for their experimental and improvisatory performances.
Diekman has a similar “anything can happen” attitude with Tal’s enrichment and training. A successful musical performance can lead to so much more.
“If we can achieve this, think what we can do with his nails or having him brush his teeth. It’s all just testimony to the training program that is so important for their health,” she said.
Summer hours for Chahinkapa Zoo are from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Monday, Sept. 2. Fall hours, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, will last from Tuesday, Sept. 3-Monday, Sept. 30. For more information, call 701-642-8709.
1. Today in History: In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, guaranteeing income for retirees and the unemployed.
2. Youth sports: Tackle football program for grades 5-6 starts at 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19. Equipment handout for grade 5 is Thursday, Aug. 15 at Wahpeton Community Center.
3. One week of summer left: Students at Wahpeton Public Schools head back to class next Wednesday, Aug. 21.
4. Today’s Birthdays: Doc Holliday (1851-1887), gambler; David Crosby (1941-), singer-songwriter; Steve Martin (1945-), actor/writer/musician; Danielle Steel (1947-), novelist; Gary Larson (1950-), cartoonist; James Horner (1953-2015), composer; Rusty Wallace (1956-), race car driver; Earvin “Magic” Johnson (1959-), basketball player/businessman; Halle Berry (1966-), actress; Mila Kunis (1983-), actress; Tim Tebow (1987-), athlete/sportscaster.
The Wilkin County Board of Commissioners and the Bois de Sioux Watershed District wrestled with culvert maintenance responsibilities during the county meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 13. The discussion went on for over 45 minutes.
The issue started with the watershed district constructing a culvert to remedy drainage issues. There was a culvert already in place but was set at too high of a grade. The watershed district proposed a metal culvert and then at bid time, found out that Wilkin County requires that culverts be concrete.
Brian Noetzelman, Wilkin County Highway Department engineer, explained that they were offered two options – lower the existing pipe or build a 5-foot by 8-foot culvert and had given them a permit for either option. The watershed district suggested working around this by putting in a smaller 24-inch concrete culvert. Noetzelman agreed on the condition that they would be responsible for maintenance of the culvert.
“We got an email from their engineer that said, ‘yes we’ll maintain it,’ and he was good with the agreement,” Noetzelman said. “So, they installed it we never really got anything in writing as far as maintenance.”
“If there’s problems [it’s] on the watershed district because they installed that in order to accommodate their ditch and save a lot of money initially,” Noetzelman said.
According to Chad Engels, engineer with the Bois de Sioux Watershed District, he understood “maintenance” to mean removal of silt and cornstalks should the culvert become plugged. Noetzelman said that the definition of maintenance as only involving cleaning the culvert was not specified in his email with Engels. County Attorney Carl Thunem reviewed the agreement and recommended not passing it due to his understanding of the law.
Attorney Lukas Croaker was present during the board meeting, representing the Bois de Sioux Watershed District. He described the details of the agreement. Croaker said that the agreement offered by the watershed district states that they will maintain it but when the culvert wears out or is replaced then the county would assume responsibility for it.
“I guess we had a miscommunication in what we meant by ‘maintain,’” Engels said.
Engels said that he believes that Wilkin County is benefitting from the work done by the watershed district, the fact that the district is not requiring the county to put them in but is doing it themselves at no cost to the residents and that they are moving the ditches further away from the road when they work on them, improving safety.
“We’re trying on many different fronts to be good partners with you and you have been good partners with us because you have financed these projects,” Engels said. “We want to try and work this agreement out in a way that is mutually beneficial and just move on.”
Klindt argued for adopting the agreement, stating that he thinks it’s adequate. Commissioner Neal Folstad said that he didn’t like going against their legal council, Thunem, on this issue.
“I have been nothing but impressed with the Bois de Sioux Watershed,” Klindt said.
Commissioner Jonathan Green moved that they approve the agreement, Commissioner Dennis Larson seconded.
In the following discussion, Green was in favor of passing it because the was “not willing to put the relationship [between Wilkin County and the Bois de Sioux Watershed District] on the line.”
Commissioner Lyle Hovland expressed a desire to come to a compromise between the two parties and explained that the real issue is whether or not the new culvert is likely to fail.
Engels suggested putting a certain amount of time into the agreement during which the watershed district would be responsible for repairing the culvert, since it would be an issue with construction.
Klindt said that he believed that unnecessary and his only concern is that if anything was to fail it would fail very soon.
“I still think that that’s nitpicking and dragging things down and making things worse in the future for Wilkin County and the Bois de Sioux Watershed, which I think is wrong,” Klindt said. He asked for a vote and Commissioner Green voted yes while Commissioners Hovland, Larson, and Folstad voted no.
“The issue is corrected, the water flows like it’s supposed to. It’s a matter of whether this culvert is likely to fail or not,” Hovland said. “Which is about one chance in 10,000 here right now, we’re nitpicking over something pretty minimal.”
Larson moved that they change the agreement between the two parties so that the district and county would split costs of replacement up to 10 years.
After discussion, it was decided that 10 years was too long and the commissioners decided to let the engineers figure out a new agreement.
In other board news:
• They heard a quarterly department update from Auditor-Treasurer Janelle Krump.
• The board voted to accept a grant from the state of Minnesota for a firewall for the county’s website.
• Maintenance Supervisor Glen Roberge gave the board an update on the courthouse railing project, saying that it would most likely be started in September. He also mentioned a safety concern in the parking lot at the Family Service Center.
• The meeting was briefly closed to discuss a personnel issue.
The next county commissioners meeting will be held at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.