1. Fargo school board looks into building a new middle school

The Fargo School Board is considering building a new middle school to address overcrowding issues at Davies High School and Discovery Middle School.

On Tuesday evening, the Fargo School Board continued its discussion of options to address projected enrollment increases. The board dismissed year-round school for capacity issues. Boundary changes are still on the table, but several board members emphasized the need for a permanent solution to capacity issues, not a temporary fix.

“The three options are Band-Aid fixes,” Board Member Jim Johnson said.

The board spent the majority of the session discussing the possibility of constructing a new middle school south of Davies on land the district already owns. It would take at least two years to build a school, and cost roughly $40 million, according to Superintendent Rupak Gandhi. A memo distributed to the board projected the cost at $52.6 million.

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More from The Forum's Emma Beyer

2. Gehrig, Piepkorn spar over tax break

An aerial view of the expansion of the Aldevron campus, shown from the southeast. Construction on the first of three new buildings on the 14-acre campus is expected to begin in August. In September 2018, Aldevron opened its $30 million, 70,000-square-foot headquarters at 4055 41st Ave. S. in Fargo. Special to The Forum
An aerial view of the expansion of the Aldevron campus, shown from the southeast. Construction on the first of three new buildings on the 14-acre campus is expected to begin in August. In September 2018, Aldevron opened its $30 million, 70,000-square-foot headquarters at 4055 41st Ave. S. in Fargo. Special to The Forum

The city's policy of giving tax breaks to new and developing businesses and apartment complexes caused a flap at the Fargo City Commission meeting Monday night, Aug. 12.

Commissioners Tony Gehrig and Dave Piepkorn sparred over a tax break for Aldevron, a biotechnology company that is booming in Fargo as the worldwide demand grows for its plasmid DNA for commercial, clinical and research-stage cell and gene therapies that are producing breakthrough treatments for diseases.

The company is planning a $43 million new building and addition to its current facility at 4055 41st Ave. S. on its 14-acre campus.

Gehrig, who opposes all property tax breaks for companies, said his "point is that if the city offered a low, sustainable, predictable tax rate," they'd have more business come here and stay in the long term.

More from The Forum's Barry Amundson

3. 'Swatting' incident in Hawley

A Hawley man who said he was the victim of a false report of a hostage situation at his home Tuesday, Aug. 13, says he feared for his life when police arrived.

“Only one wrong move and you’re a statistic,” said Todd Rendon, who was detained by officers responding to a call purportedly from an armed man who was threatening to kill people inside his home.

“Don’t kill me in front of my daughter,” he remembers thinking.

Police are now investigating after receiving the false report, dubbing it a “swatting” incident, a type of criminal harassment where a caller falsely claims a serious emergency is taking place in order to prompt a large response from police or first responders.

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4. Gun found in Red River not related to Sadek death

A woman discovered a gun Saturday, Aug. 10, while fishing on the Red River in Wahpeton, N.D. Many speculated that the gun could be connected with the unsolved killing of Andrew Sadek. Special to Forum News Service
A woman discovered a gun Saturday, Aug. 10, while fishing on the Red River in Wahpeton, N.D. Many speculated that the gun could be connected with the unsolved killing of Andrew Sadek. Special to Forum News Service

A handgun discovered in the Red River over the weekend is not associated with the unsolved death of Andrew Sadek, according to family and authorities.

Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson told The Forum a Moorhead woman called police at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, after finding the gun. Thorsteinson said the woman was fishing on a dike in Chahinkapa Park when she either observed or hooked the gun.

Police used an ultrasonic cleaner to remove enough rust to get a serial number off the gun that Thorsteinson said is a .357 magnum revolver.

A .22-caliber bullet was found lodged in Andrew Sadek's head after his body — weighed down with a backpack full of rocks — was discovered June 27, 2014, in the Red River nearly two months after he went missing.

More from The Forum's Kim Hyatt

5. Orangutan plays along

It was far from a normal Tuesday at the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, where for a half-hour people stopped in their tracks when they walked by a group of musicians.

It was likely that many at the zoo were impressed that a New York City-based reed instrument ensemble had come to play a concert.

But surely, they were shocked by the fact that Tal, a 300-pound orangutan, was playing an instrument, too.

Watch the story from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand