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DIVERS FIND LIVE SHELL IN POND CLEANUP

Two state police divers on a volunteer mission Saturday made an unexpected find in a pond off Clay Pond Road in the Town of Poland.

Troopers Ed Kalfas and Joseph Smith pulled a live 105mm howitzer practice round out of the water.

"We called Fort Drum in Watertown, and they sent a unit down to pick it up," Smith said. "They were planning to take it back up there and detonate it on a range."

"We can only guess that someone probably had (the live shell) at their home and thought it would be safer to dump it in the water -- but it's not," he added. "That type of military ordnance is still explosive in the water and people can call police to get rid of those items."

Just last year, divers recovered a 75mm naval antiaircraft shell in the Chadakoin River in Jamestown. That, too, was retrieved by Fort Drum personnel. Officials speculate the dangerous munitions may be war souvenirs.

Smith and Kalfas spent most of last fall diving for the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island.

Saturday's dive was part of the International Coastal Cleanup, set aside to clean up waterways nationwide. The Clay Pond area was chosen by local forest ranger Tom Koss because of problem dumping there.

"We also found a lot of old carpeting, carpet pad, tires and even an old car dashboard," Smith said.

In all, the divers -- Koss and Kalfas' seventh-grade neighbor, Jordan Walbesser -- collected 1,900 pounds of garbage from the area for disposal.

Smith added: "We hope to make it an even bigger local event next year, and maybe get some Boy Scout troops involved or some similar group."

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