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Attempted murder suspect enters not guilty plea
Attempted murder suspect enters not guilty plea

The suspect in an attempted murder case in Wahpeton entered a not guilty plea Monday, Nov. 18.

Byron Dewayne Vann, 31, appeared in Richland County District Court. He is charged with one class A felony count of attempted murder, intentionally or knowing, of an adult victim.

Vann is accused of wielding a bayonet to wound a 30-year-old Fargo man, Daily News previously reported. The alleged assault occurred at approximately 7:53 p.m. Oct. 11, 2019 at a residence in the 400 block of 14th Street North.

A Wahpeton Police Department investigation found the victim, whose identity has not been released, sustained lacerations to his neck as a result of the incident. He underwent surgery to repair two significant neck wounds and was able to be released from the hospital the next day, according to court documents.

Vann, who had allegedly fled from the incident scene before police arrived, returned while officers were still present.

Attorney Don Krassin represents Vann. Richland County Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Moen represents the state of North Dakota. Judge Bradley Cruff presides.

Two witnesses for the state were called Monday, Moen said. They are a Wahpeton police officer and an agent with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The state bureau assisted in the investigating the incident, court documents continue.

A felony dispositional conference has been scheduled for Monday, Jan. 13 in Richland County District Court.

The maximum penalty for a class A felony is 20 years in prison, a $20,000 fine, or both.

Court records previously stated Vann is a resident of Henryetta, Oklahoma. As of Wednesday, Nov. 20, they state he is a Wahpeton resident.

Vann is currently confined in the Richland County Jail.


Paige Rudick / photos by Paige Rudick • Daily News  

People who live, work and learn in Breckenridge, Minn, have been able to find all the joys of life in a small city.


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Small community offers a 'hometown feel'

Editor’s Note: In this month’s Point of View, we asked area residents to grade their communities.

Living in a small city isn’t for everyone, but for those who do live, work and learn in Breckenridge, Minnesota, they have been able to find all the joys through it all.

We set out to determine what people throughout Breckenridge thought of the city. Overall there were pleasant responses indicating they enjoyed the community and its most attractive quality was the people and relationships.

Jana Sipe Berndt, director of consumer banking of Bremer Bank, has lived in Breckenridge for 35 years. Her favorite part about living in Breckenridge is the “hometown feel” and the relationships. Throughout the community everyone cares about each other and takes care of each other.

Morgan Larson is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, where she is used to living in a much larger city. In the city of Lincoln, she had easy access to many different options from restaurants to activities. This change has been a huge change for her but overall likes it here. Larson has lived in the area for three years now and is satisfied with her move.

“Everyone is really nice here,” Larson said.

If her friends and family were to visit her she would bring them out to eat at The Wilkin Drink & Eatery, as its her favorite restaurant in town. She would also bring them throughout the town and stop at some of the small shops. Larson is also very pleased that Breckenridge has a movie theater to offer.

Larson is a student at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton where she studies dental hygiene. Larson works at the Breckenridge Elementary School with kindergarten students.

Tracy Bommersbach is a kindergarten teacher at Breckenridge Elementary. Originally from Audubon, Minnesota, she’s no stranger to living in a small town. After receiving her college degree at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, she began her first teaching job in Breckenridge in 1990. She has now been teaching for 30 years at Breckenridge and has lived in the city for 17 years.

“I just love the feeling that this small town has to offer and I love being able to bike around the streets. The trees and flowers are so beautiful here in the spring and fall. It’s a very warm feeling,” Bommersbach said.

The new bike path along Highway 75 has been a really nice addition to the city, Bommersbach feels, saying she has been using it even while it was under construction.

Bommersbach enjoys riding her bike down the path and to CHI St. Francis Hospital wellness center in Breckenridge. She is very pleased that the town has that service to offer and said the pool is one of her favorite accommodations.

Bommersbach enjoys spending time at home with her family, but when she does out in the city she enjoys going to The Wilkin and also goes to the cinema.

She also shared with us a little known hideaway spot for residents and visitors to go: Lake Breckenridge. Eastbound from town you can find a small lake hidden by trees and homes that has a small dam, bridge and a picnic area.

Bommersbach also really enjoys having Wahpeton so close by, it feels like one big community. Even though Wahpeton is across the river, both communities can share each cities restaurants, stores and other amenities.

“I love being a part of the Breckenridge community and the Breckenridge Public School,” Bommersbach said. “Together we can make this a great place for kids to learn and grown.”

Nellie Olson lives in the country outside of Breckenridge, although she owns Drifter Chic in downtown Breckenridge. She has owned the business since April 2018.

“I love the people here, it’s really great owning a business here,” Olson said. “I just knew I wanted to be in a small town and not a large city.”

Being a business owner, she has met many people and their kids from around the community. She enjoys talking with customers and learning about life in Breckenridge. Working in Breckenridge has been very rewarding for her. 

Breckenridge Mayor Russ Wilson has been the mayor for three years and has enjoyed every moment of it. After he retired, he decided he wasn’t ready to stop moving and felt that it would be an honor and a reward to serve the great citizens of Breckenridge. He hopes to continue serving as mayor for many years to come.

“I find it very rewarding and I enjoy it. It’s an extremely rewarding service. I think everyone should run for office and be a part of public service,” Wilson said. “I work for great people and I get to work with a great group of people.”

Restaurants received an A, The Wilkin provides the community with a locally owned business that brings in people from all around the surrounding area.

Outdoor activities received an A, the trees, swimming pool and new bike path and lighting has provided a great way spend nice days in the community.

Entertainment receives a C, the cinema is nice for a small town but there aren’t many other opportunities for entertainment.

Businesses received an A, business owners are happy with their customers and citizens are happy with options. Although, many stores they were pleased with were in Wahpeton.

If A+ was an allowable grade, then community feel would get an A++. Residents and businesses were overly pleased with how warming the community is and how friendly the people who live in the city are.

There we have it. Breckenridge’s small shops, local restaurants and welcoming neighborhood town offer a great home for many residents in the city. The most common quality spoken was how great the people are. The words used most with the interviewees were “welcoming,” “helpful,” and “friendly.”

The city of Breckenridge offers many amenities, but its strongest quality is a hometown, warm and welcoming feeling.


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A Time to Share
Breckenridge church holding community Thanksgiving dinner

Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church is in the full swing of plans for a big meal.

The annual community Thanksgiving dinner will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28. A free, public event, the dinner is taking place at the church, 1130 Main St. in Breckenridge, Minnesota.

Over the past 30 years, Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church has served people from Breckenridge, Wahpeton and the surrounding community. More than 500 meals have been annually served in recent years to in-church guests and those receiving deliveries.

“The dinner is the traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, squash and a variety of homemade pies,” the church stated.

Meals can be delivered to anyone who’s unable to attend the community Thanksgiving dinner. A delivery order must be placed in advance.

Orders may be made by calling 218-643-8610 between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25-Wednesday, Nov. 27.

“You are also able to choose the time of delivery,” the church continued. “Volunteers will try their best to honor your wishes.”

The dinner’s guests have long included everyone from entire families to individuals, Daily News previously reported. In the past, North Dakota State College of Science students have been known to stay after eating and help with serving or clearing of tables.

“We are very thankful for volunteers who come out to help serve or be on our delivery team,” Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church stated.

Organizers are appreciative of Cargill for donating turkeys and Bobcat of Wahpeton-Breckenridge for providing a monetary donation.

The community Thanksgiving dinner is expected to once again be a popular event, with plenty of guests and volunteers. It’s a much-appreciated tradition.

“For a lot of people, Fellowship Hall becomes their big living room,” the Rev. Bruce Stumbo said in 2017.

Want to hear or share more good news? Email us with your good news by Monday, Nov. 25 to be featured in our Good News edition on Wednesday, Nov. 27. Send your news to editor@wahpetondailynews.com.


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4 Things To Know

1. Turkey Bingo: Breckenridge Wahpeton Swim Team is raising funds with a turkey bingo event from 5:30-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at Wahpeton Vets Club. Enjoy BBQs, goodies and raffles.

2. Annual LYO Pie Auction: Faith Lutheran LYO Wolverton, Minnesota, is hosting its annual pie auction from 11-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Faith Lutheran Church, located at 302 First St., Wolverton. Youth do the baking, you do the bidding. Proceeds will be used for their community projects and annual gatherings.

3. Tree Lighting: Enjoy Christmas carols and treats at the annual Wahpeton tree lighting at Heritage Square Tuesday, Nov. 26. Activities start at 4 p.m., tree lighting at 6 p.m. Visit area businesses during Jingle and Mingle Holiday Open House, running 4-8 p.m.

4. Today in History: In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph. The hand-cranked, tinfoil covered cylindrical drum played back Edison reciting, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The inventor was at first dumbfounded by what he originally called a “talking machine.”


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Wilkin County board discuss family services

Wilkin County Commissioners met with Human Services Director Dave Sayler and Northwest Regional Operations Director of Lutheran Social Services (LSS) Kate Coughlin on Tuesday, Nov. 19 to discuss the 2020 contract for treatment services.

Wilkin County partners with LSS to receive their family services to create a stable and healthy environment for parents and children. LSS family services include adoption, foster care, child protection service, mental health service and educational groups.

The current contract Wilkin County has with LSS is set at $136,426 for 2019, a three percent increase from the previous year. LSS is not requesting an increase in its budget for 2020.

“We have made some really big strides in the county, we’re on par to underspend on the contract from last year,” Coughlin said.

LSS has additional services designed to prevent families from having to enter into intensive in-home treatment services. Additional services are comprehensive skilled programs designed to prevent intensive in-home treatment. These services would be additional costs to the county.

Coughlin plans on returning to the county board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to provide in-depth information on how additional services would change their budget for 2020.

Coughlin provided an update to the board as to how LSS is currently using their contract funds for family services in Wilkin County.

“This year we have served 30 families in Wilkin County. Those families come to us primarily from child protection cases. We get some child mental health cases and the average time we are spending with a family is six and a half months which is standard and expected when working with child protection because we have to work on the restoration of the family system,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin and her team work within the family system and try to prevent any disruption to the child. Their ultimate goal is to not have the child removed, unless necessary.

LSS has had a regional growth in the past year since Coughlin has come on board. She has added seven staff members which has provided more services fitting the needs of Wilkin County families.

Through adding more staff, LSS can provide a better fit for the families they serve. Coughlin believes that this will, in turn, decrease the time families need with a provider and decrease recidivism.

“What we don’t want to see is families year after year getting referred to child protection or children’s mental health. We want to be able to put the right person into the family and provide the service and hopefully, they can be in a healthy place where they don’t have to be re-referred,” Coughlin said.

One of the solutions that Coughlin came up, she said, is being more cognizant of available providers. They can match up families with providers that who can “actually work within that family system.”

LSS looks at the interests of parents and how the parents operate in order to determine which provider would be the best fit. Having a strong fit between provider and family allows for a deeper connection and that is when an impact can be made in the family, Coughlin said.

“It makes so much difference to that family when they can connect with that person,” Sayler said. “If there’s no connection, you’re going to have disruption.”

Finding the correct provider to create this connection, a more comprehensive referral was created this year. This referral is longer and takes social workers a long time, however, it provides LSS a deeper background in the family.

The referral contains information about interests, previous history with child protection or children’s mental health, diagnoses, the family structure and the current crisis the family is experiencing. With this information, they look at their providers who have a common experience and can navigate the family system better.

When Coughlin returns, she will present the board with the cost of additional services and outcomes that other counties have seen from having these additional services. This meeting will be at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the Wilkin County Courthouse.


Christain Morgan is a student in Lori Randall’s second grade class at Breckenridge Elementary School.